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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Race Mares Don't Always Make Top Broodmares. How Will Rocklamation Do?

The top price at the recent Tattersalls Winter Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands belonged to the 2014 co-winner of the Dan Patch for older pacing mares, Rocklamation. She went to Gene Kurzok and Jerry Silva, two members of her previous ownership group, for $360,000. They intend to breed her while continuing to race the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, probably until August. She would have an opportunity to earn back part of her purchase price in the Blue Chip Matchmaker, which she won in 2012, the Betsy Ross, Roses Are Red, Golden Girls and Lady Liberty. Rocklamation won the latter two stakes in 2014. The seven-year-old mare has made 97 starts and earned $2.2 million.

That brings us to the age old question: How much faith can one have in a broodmare that has a busy past as a race mare? Some have succeeded, but it seems even more have not.

Armbro Flight, who was Horse of the Year three times in Canada, produced Colonial winner Armbro Regina at 11, but she didn’t really hit the breeding jackpot until she dropped her 13th foal at age 25. That was Armbro Goal, the winner of the 1988 Hambletonian. Elgin Armstrong labeled the anti-social daughter of Stars Pride, “the greatest horse raised in 100 years,” but she threw a lot of blanks as a broodmare.

Fresh Yankee raced for eight years, winning 89 of 191 starts. She was the first Standardbred born in North America to earn a million dollars. However, the daughter of Hickory Pride didn’t come remotely close to matching those numbers as a broodmare. One son, Mac Breton, was OK, but overall she failed to produce.

Money Maker and Peace Corps also failed to put all those miles behind them and be successful as broodmares. The great French mare Une de Mai, who raced until age 10, winning 71 of 141 starts,  and was retired in foal to Nevele Pride, only left one offspring, a surviving twin, before dying. Roquepine did produce the Starts Pride stallion Florestan, but not much else.

Classical Way, a daughter of Hambletonian winner Kerry Way, sold for $400,000 as a broodmare at age ten. But the winner of the Kentucky Futurity, Roosevelt International and Prix de France had no luck as a mother.

Hambletonian winner Continentalvictory brought $760,000 as a broodmare but she failed to impress. Panty Raid, the first winner of the World Trotting Derby, was of little value as a broodmare.

That’s not to say all of the long distance mares have come up short. Delmonica Hanover made 112 starts, winning 48 of them. She won her division three times and was voted Horse of the Year in 1974. Delmonica was a prized broodmare prospect, selling for a record $300,000 at five and $ 1 million at age 13. She produced the outstanding filly Delmegan as well as Hambletonian winner Park Avenue Joe.

Impish, the HOF filly who opened eyes with a 1:58.3 win as a two-year-old in 1961, produced Canny Imp, who only won twice but proved to be a seminal broodmare, as well as the accomplished trotter Pay Dirt.

Winky’s Gill, who sold at auction for a record $800,000, did give us Supergill and Winky’s Goal.

Glad Rags, a FFA pacer by Greentree Adios who mixed it up with the likes of Bret Hanover and Adios Vic, presented Nevele Pride with Zoot Suit, who went on to be a very successful sire in Europe. She also threw the fine Bret Hanover pacer Saville Row.

On the pacing side, Handle With Care retired with a slew of very tough miles in her, and she had no success as a broodmare. The same goes for Shady Daisy. Fan Hanover, the only filly to win the Little Brown Jug, threw blanks. Mistletoe Shalee is another. And add Miss Conna Adios to the list of no shows.

Little Robin Dundee, who paced the fastest mile ever by a mare in Australia or New Zealand when she won the Miracle Mile in 1:59 at Harold Park in 1967, raced through age 11. She retired at 12 in foal to Adios Butler. That matchup didn’t work out, but at age 19 she dropped the top notch Meadow Skipper pacer Genghis Khan, who earned almost a million dollars.

Rainbow Blue, Horse of the Year in 2004, only started 32 times, so she doesn’t qualify as a high mileage mare, but she has already produced 2010 freshman division winner Somwherovrarainbow.

Delinquent Account gave us Artiscape as well as Arterra, the dam of If I Can Dream, Western Terror and Cinderella Guy.

A number of top mares have been retired in the recent past. Idyllic was sold as a broodmare for $140,000 two years ago at the Winter Mixed Sale. Big McDeal was sold at last year’s Mixed Sale for $125,000. I Luv The Nitelife brought something in the $300,000 range when she was sold in September. See You At Peelers and Put On A Show are a couple of more low mileage high achievers that were retired to the breeding shed in 2012.

Check me Out was retired after her four-year-old campaign and bred to Credit Winner. Eight-year-old Frenchfrysnvinegar, who started 144 times and earned more than a million dollars, was retired in 2013.

Buck I St Pat retired in the fall of 2011 with 105 miles in her. She had earned two free breedings to Muscles Yankee for winning the Matchmaker. Rocklamation is entitled to a free breeding from a Blue Chip stallion for winning the same race, so they could hook her up with Art Major for free or go the SBSW route like Peelers and POAS. Regardless, it will be interesting to see if this high mileage mare is a successful mother.

Joe FitzGerald



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