The three highest profile pacing stallions to introduce their first crops in 2015 are Roll With Joe, in New York, Big Bad John, in Ohio, and Big Jim, in Ontario. In addition to that trio, I’m Gorgeous and Woodstock will be coming out in Ohio, while Vintage Master will introduce a crop eligible to the Ontario Sire Stakes.
Roll With Joe is a son of Cam’s Card Shark and full brother to Bettor’s Delight, and half to No Pan Intended and Classic Rock NRoll. He beat out Big Bad John for division honors at three, on the strength of wins in the Pace, Messenger and Battle Of Brandywine. He earned $800,000 more than BBJ, who needed an open start at Pompano in January of his four-year-old form to get over the million dollar hump.
Blue Chip Farms cleared the decks for Joe by exporting his big brother, the great Bettor’s Delight, to Ontario. Joe stood that season for $7,000, half of what his brother commanded. He bred 137 mares, resulting in 88 registered foals. The following year his fee dropped $500 and he bred 134 mares, resulting in 82 registered foals. And last year when Roll With Joe’s fee bottomed out at $5,000, he covered 104 mares.
Fifty-five by Roll With Joe sold for a $31,813 average in the fall. The median price was $25,000—something of a lukewarm reception, the hype in the Meadowlands commercials notwithstanding. There was little high-end action and more than half brought $25,000 or less.
Bettor’s Delight’s first crop made a poor showing, resulting in a 50% reduction in the auction prices for his second crop. Bettor Sweet and Bullville Powerful were part of the third crop. It might take Joe a bit of time to get it together as well. Not that the breeders and buyers will be patient. None of last year’s NYSS first crop sires hit it big; there’s plenty of room for Joe to make a name for himself.
Big Bad John is from the last crop of Western Hanover. He’s out of an Artsplace mare; the same cross that produced double millionaires Well Said and Clear Vision, as well as Fancy Filly and Strike An Attitude. His dam, Trulyawork Of Art, is half to the Camluck stallion Northern Luck, the sire of indefatigable double millionaire Silent Swing.
BBJ stood for $4,000 his first three years in Ohio, and was stepped up 25% to $5,000 for the 2015 season. He’s entering the slots enriched sire stakes platform at the right time. And being a Little Brown Jug winner certainly burnishes his resume in the Buckeye State.
He bred 140 mares, resulting in 108 registered foals in 2012. In 2013 he bred 133 mares and got 101 registered foals. And last year he covered 90 mares, 50 fewer than his first year.
The Ohio program, despite its growth, has a way to go to catch up to New York, so John’s numbers are lighter than Joe’s. He averaged a shade over $26,000 for 64 sold, with a median price of $20,000. 60% brought $25,000 or less, but that’s not a red flag in Ohio, where all but two or three sold.
Big Bad John and We Will See are the last two high profile stallions from the premier progenitor, Western Hanover, the sire of Western Ideal, Western Terror, Won The West, Badlands Hanover, Jereme’s Jet and If I Can Dream, and grandsire of Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal.
Big Jim, who was two-year-old champ in the same class as Roll With Joe and Big Bad John, is a grandson of Western Hanover. Like French Chef, he took his lifetime mark as a two-year-old, when he set a world record of 1:49.1. Jim was very good in the fall of his freshman campaign, winning the Breeders Crown and the Governor’s Cup, however, injuries to both ankles shut him down in August of his sophomore campaign, leaving him without an open stakes win. All told Big Jim won half his 20 starts and earned $1.5 million.
Jim stood for $5,000 in Ontario in 2012, but that figure was cut to $4,000 the following year and has remained there. He’s out of the Big Towner mare Bold Pink, and was purchased by Big Jim Carr for $35,000 at Harrisburg. The latter passed one year ago the end of April.
The end of the slots at racetracks program cast a cloud over the breeding industry in Ontario, and an unproven sire like Big Jim was sure to be on the receiving end of more than his share of pain. He bred 110 mares in 2012, resulting in 74 registered foals, but the following year he drew 45 fewer mares, and only produced 37 registered foals. Jim got 20 mares back last year, but he was still 25 short of his first year total.
Buyers were not particularly enthusiastic about Big Jim’s first crop: He averaged less than $24,000 for 40 sold. The median price for his yearlings was a weak $15,750. Only five topped $50,000 and 28 failed to exceed $25,000.
Big Jim will face stiff opposition in the OSS from Bettor’s Delight, Sportswriter, Mach Three and Shadow Play. Having his open coincide with Bettor’s Delight’s brief fling with the OSS is a piece of bad luck.
Vintage Master, another son of Western Ideal, also sees his progeny enter the racing realm in 2015. And like Big Jim, he’ll be fighting for Ontario Sire Stakes money. The brother to Great Vintage and Ideal Vintage is a double millionaire with wins in the Adios, Cane, Tattersalls Pace and Ben Franklin. He sports a 1:48.1 mark, having been a world record holder twice.
His granddam is a full sister to Silk Stockings. He’s remained at $3,500 throughout his stallion career in Ontario. Younger brother Great Vintage is standing his first season in New Jersey for $2,000.
Jimmy Takter’s favorite horse ever bred 66 mares in 2012, resulting in 47 registered foals. The turmoil in Ontario resulted in Vintage Master getting only 48 mares in 2013, resulting in 27 registered foals. In November, 2013 it was announced that he would relocate to New Jersey for the 2014 season, but it never happened. He attracted ten more mares in 2014.
The Bettor’s Delight stallion, I’m Gorgeous, who stands in Ohio for $3,000, and the son of Rocknroll Hanover, Woodstock, who also calls Ohio home, will also see their progeny hit the tracks this year. The former got 34 registered foals from 64 breedings his first year, while Woodstock got 35 from 64. Auction figures were better for I’m Gorgeous, but predictably light for both.