An exciting new series dedicated to Standardbred Breeding is coming to Trackside next week. It has been named 'Standard Bred'. Sheldon Murtha, a member of the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association and well-known broadcaster, approached The Breeders with the idea of a TV series as a possible gap in the market, and something that could give our breeding industry a much needed push in terms of mainstream coverage. What has materialised is incredibly exciting, with two seasons of six 30 minute episodes about standardbred breeding to be produced by Sheldon this year with the first season airing on Trackside 1 October 4th (Tuesday) at 7:30pm. It will continue every Tuesday at 7:30pm thereafter. “Being on the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association they were looking to allocate some money to marketing such as websites and magazines. I stuck my oar in and said well why don’t we try and fund or make a standardbred breeding show to at least put us alongside the thoroughbreds in terms of mainstream representation.” “I bumped into Mary Anne Twentyman at the thoroughbred sales and ran it past her to gauge Trackside’s interest. What they were after being strapped for time was for somebody to come up with a concept and the money to push it through. So what started as an idea for getting Trackside to produce a show turned into let’s get Sheldon to do it!” Sheldon Murtha is no stranger to trackside and the racing public having held various broadcasting roles over the years. “The shows are being supported by the breeding industry to start with, and the show is a world first which is exciting. There’s no standardbred breeding show anywhere. It’s got plenty of legs and it can go where it likes and potentially go a long way to globalizing the sport. The breeding side of the industry has gone a long way in terms of globalizing the product in the last ten years. “Places like North America and more recently the trotting in Europe have become more intertwined with down under with the transported semen and access to their top stallions. “We have become increasingly connected so there is an aim to reflect that and put New Zealand harness racing up there as world class product that is equal to anything anywhere.” For those who have seen the thoroughbred model of Bred to Win, you can rest assured in the fact you won’t be put to sleep with boring advertorials from our major studs. “We’ve gone with an approach of making the series more of a Country Calendar style affair, to tell the human interest stories of breeders around the country who often wouldn’t get their time in the sun and allow them to tell their story. It’s a great way of capturing the enthusiasm and passion that is abundant in the breeding industry.” Doing anything mainstream requires cash in the bank, and without the support of numerous industry participants, HRNZ and the four breeders associations, none of the above would have been possible. With the show being able to be disseminated through our online channels, and also the likelihood of being picked up in Australia for their Sky Racing channels, we are immensely excited at the prospect of showcasing our product in the modern and professional sphere of television. A massive thanks must go to the following for their financial support of the series; Alabar Stud Breckon Farms Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Assn Dancingonmoonlight Farm Harness Racing New Zealand Lincoln Farms Nevele R Stud North Island Standardbred Breeders Assn Southland Standardbred Breeders Assn Stallions Australasia Woodlands Stud HRNZ News
According to HRNZ, New Zealanders are breeding better quality horses. While breeding numbers are slightly down, from around 2690 last year to 2520 this year, the breeding industry isn't in dire straits like many think. The slight decline can be attributed to a major shift from breeders to produce a higher quality product, with a significant commercial value. With sire fees going up, many breeders are cutting back their broodmare numbers to focus on better bred mares, who have shown ability on the track. Leading sire Bettor's Delight served 289 mares this season, while Christian Cullen has dropped to just he 45 mares this season. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The Shane Tritton trained 2yo High Rolling will not make the Harness Jewels trip. While stablemate Arms Of An Angel ,Kevin Pizzuto trained Heza Bromac and the Craig Demmler trained My Kiwi Mate are the only confirmed Australian invites to the Cambridge Harness Jewels. The focus has shifted to the trotting sections with HRNZ's Racing Manager Darrin Williams working on several runners and awaiting responses. The David Aiken trained 3yo trotter Princess Phoenix will not make the trip, although her stablemate Eljaykay Phoenix is still a chance of making the trip to complete against Monbet and Sunny Ruby in the 4yo Ruby. Connections will sit down with the Aiken’s this afternoon to make a decision on their first jewels trip. Andrew Fitzgerald
An auction of more than 70 breedings is scheduled for onGait.com from 8:00 am on Tuesday, January 26th through 8:00 pm on Thursday, January 28th. The process is simple and easy, and bids will also be gladly accepted by contacting SRF at 732-446-4422 during that time. Winning bidders will be required to make a 10% deposit with the balance due at live foal. A Rocknroll Dance Allamerican Native Angus Hall Art Official Artiscape Badlands Hanover Badlands Nitro Beatitude Big Jim Calchips Brute Cash Hall Chapter Seven Class Included Classic Card Shark Conway Hall Cr Excalibur Dejarmbro Delmarvelous Detour Hanover Deweycheatumnhowe Diamond Goal Dream Away Feelin Friskie Four Starz Rombro Fred & Ginger Glidemaster He's Watching Holiday Road Hypnotic Blue Chip I Can Only Imagine Lisa Mara Lucky Chucky Mach Three McArdle Mister Big Net Ten Eom Nuclear Breeze Philos Hanover Ponder Possess The Will Powerful Toy RockNRoll Heaven Rusty's For Real Shark Gesture So Surreal Sports Writer Stormin Normand Straight Shooting Sweet Lou Tarver Hanover The Fraternity Plan Thinking Out Loud Three Olives Trixton Toughofthetoughest We Will See Well Said Western Hero Western Shore Western Vintage Wishing Stone World of Rocknroll Yankee Cruiser For 26 years the most important annual fundraiser for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) has been the donation and sale of breedings. Dedicated to Standardbreds exclusively, SRF has 208 trotters and pacers in need of homes, nearly 200% more than any other organization. Breeding donations are appreciated throughout the season and will be available for sale if received after the auction closes. To gift or purchase breedings or for other inquires on the auction process, please contact Tammy at 732 446-4422, or email Admin@srfmail.com. Donations of breedings are tax-deductible and help rehabilitate, rescue, retrain, adopt, and follow-up every adoption for life, as well as support SRF's Youth Programs. Support of this vital fundraiser is greatly appreciated. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp. | NJ | 08535
An auction of more than 70 breedings is scheduled for onGait.com from 8:00 am on Tuesday, January 26th through 8:00 pm on Thursday, January 28th. The process is simple and easy and bids will also be gladly accepted by contacting SRF at 732-446-4422 during that time. Winning bidders will be required to make a 10% deposit with the balance due at live foal. Below is the preliminary list. All American Native Angus Hall Art Official Artiscape Badlands Hanover Badlands Nitro Big Jim Calchips Brute Cash Hall Chapter Seven Class Included Dejarmbro Conway Hall Classic Card Shark CR Excalibur Delmarvalous Detour Hanover Deweycheatumnhow Diamond Goal Dream Away Four Starz Robro Fred and Ginger Glide Master He's Watching Holiday Road Hypnotic Blue Chip I Can Only Imagine Lis Mara Lucky Chucky Mach Three McArdle Mister Big Net Ten Eom Nuclear Breeze Philos Hanover Powerful Toy Possess the will Rock N Roll Heaven Rusty's for Real Shark Gesture So Surreal Sportswriter Stormin Normand Three Olives Tarver Hanover Straight Shooting The Fraternity Pan Trixton Thinking Out Loud Tuffofthetoughest We Will See Well Said Western Hero Western Shore Western Vintage Wishing Stone World of RocknRoll Yankee Cruiser For 26 years the most important annual fundraiser for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) has been the donation and sale of breedings. Dedicated to Standardbreds exclusively, SRF has 208 trotters and pacers in need of homes, nearly 200% more than any other organization. Breeding donations are appreciated throughout the season and will be available for sale if received after the auction closes. To gift or purchase breedings or for other inquires on the auction process, please contact Tammy at 732 446-4422, or email Admin@srfmail.com. Donations of breedings are tax-deductible and help rehabilitate, rescue, retrain, adopt, and follow-up every adoption for life, as well as support SRF's Youth Programs. Support of this vital fundraiser is greatly appreciated. Standardbred Retirement Foundation | 353 Sweetmans Lane, Suite 101 | Millstone Twp. | NJ | 08535
One of the things that quickly becomes apparent when looking at the harness racing breeding figures for 2015 in North America is the major decline suffered by Illinois. In 2014 Illinois had 699 mares bred which dropped to 492 in 2015, a reduction of nearly thirty percent in just one year. That may have been due to the talk about the future of both Balmoral Park and Maywood Park. Now with both of those racetracks closed to harness racing, the only track with any program in Illinois will be Hawthorne. The harness racing industry in Illinois looks in dire straights if the breeding trend from this year continues into 2016 With just one track and breeding numbers plummetting, the future in Illinois looks bleek. A couple of other states that had slumps much bigger than they would have anticipated were New York and Pennsylvania. New York dropped 341 mares served in 2015, a drop of just over twenty percent which again is not sustainable long term. With the great Sires Stakes program they have in New York, one can only surmise that the big service fees are finally biting the stallion owners where it hurts. The drop in Pennsylvania mares bred was smaller at just eleven and a half percent but yet again that is a number that will be setting off alarm bells at Hanover Shoe Farms. Canada showed an overall increase of twelve percent but it was all based around one province, Ontario which had an increase of nearly nineteen percent. A lot of that increase has been driven by an increasingly supportive government and a feeling that everybody is on the same page for once while some can be put down to mares returning from the USA now things look brighter in Canada. Below is a list of mares bred in North America in 2014 and in 2015, provided by David Carr of the USTA U.S. 2014 2015 California 19 13 Delaware 263 273 Florida 57 48 Illinois 699 492 Indiana 1788 1698 Iowa 246 197 Kentucky 55 14 Louisiana 3 0 Maine 144 108 Maryland 243 223 Michigan 33 66 Minnesota 124 125 Mississippi 36 2 Missouri 22 31 New Jersey 69 251 New York 1649 1308 North Carolina 4 3 North Dakota 0 5 Ohio 2594 2339 Pennsylvania 2184 1931 South Dakota 1 0 Tennessee 5 0 Texas 7 7 Virginia 16 11 Wisconsin 8 4 Canada 2014 2015 Alberta 309 322 British Columbia 15 9 Manitoba 63 59 New Brunswick 6 3 Newfoundland 3 1 Nova Scotia 20 12 Ontario 1666 2051 Prince Edward Island 368 317 Quebec 65 87 Saskatchewan 4 2
December 27, 2015 - Recent statistics of harness racing mares bred in 2015 illustrate a continued decline in North America by 6.3% from 2014 and 27.7% from 2010. Canada gained 12.9% from the 2014 level while US declined 10.9%. In total numbers 12,009 mares were bred in 2015 compared to 12,810 and 16,612 in 2014 and 2010 respectively. The most notable gains in 2015 were posted by Ontario (up 365 from prior year), New Jersey, Alberta and Delaware while decliners included Ohio (down 255), Pennsylvania, New York (down 341), Indiana and Illinois. Ohio retained the #1 state/province ranking with 2339 mares bred (fueled by its lucrative Sires Stakes program), ahead of Ontario with 2031 and Pennsylvania with 1931. Attractive sires have been added to many venues, including notably in New Jersey, Ohio and Ontario. Source: USTA’s David Carr Thomas H. Hicks
Bargains are not limited to the Boxing Day Sales, with Australian breeders able to bag a bargain between now and 31 January 2016 thanks to stallion owners and harness racing Studs offering heavily discounted service fees and special offers on 24 stallions. This is the third year this incentive has been offered and although the foal figures from the 2014 Festive Season Programme are not yet finalised the feedback has been very encouraging. Statistics reveal a continued decline in the number of live foals born in 2014/15 (3777) - some 371 less live foals than the previous season - so, an initiative to encourage mares to be bred until the end of January, discounted service fees on selected stallions in the post-Christmas period is another strategy designed to address the progressive decline in the number of Standardbred foals bred in Australia. An interesting statistical review of foal dates shows no evidence that an early foal has an advantage over late foals (defined as born between December and February). The comparative statistics for early versus late foals make interesting reading, particularly when acknowledging that most foals are bred for personal use and not commercial sale: 2014/15 season: 2yo born Sept - Nov average starts per starter = 4.93 2yo born Dec - Feb average starts per starter = 4.85 3yo born Sept - Nov average starts per starter = 8.92 3yo born Dec - Feb average starts per starter = 8.58 2yo born Sept - Nov % winners to starters = 32.85% 2yo born Dec - Feb % winners to starters = 30.83% 3yo born Sept - Nov % winners to starters = 47.00% 3yo born Dec - Feb % winners to starters = 44.78% 2013/14 season: 2yo born Sept - Nov average starts per starter = 5.08 2yo born Dec - Feb average starts per starter = 5.53 3yo born Sept - Nov average starts per starter = 9.13 3yo born Dec - Feb average starts per starter = 8.74 2yo born Sept - Nov % winners to starters = 33.79% 2yo born Dec - Feb % winners to starters = 28.14% 3yo born Sept - Nov % winners to starters = 47.01% 3yo born Dec - Feb % winners to starters = 45.61% 2012/13 season: 2yo born Sept - Nov average starts per starter = 5.17 2yo born Dec - Feb average starts per starter = 5.00 3yo born Sept - Nov average starts per starter = 9.13 3yo born Dec - Feb average starts per starter = 8.72 2yo born Sept - Nov % winners to starters = 31.34% 2yo born Dec - Feb % winners to starters = 32.93% 3yo born Sept - Nov % winners to starters = 46.53% 3yo born Dec - Feb % winners to starters = 44.58% The full list of stallions being offered via the 'Festive Season Stallion Service Specials' promotion and participating Studs contact details are available here.
The nominees have been set for the first ever "Post Time Awards" which will take place on Thursday, December 31st at 6:00 PM Eastern on harness racing's newest podcast "Post Time with Mike and Mike". The two-hour show can be heard on blogtalkradio.com/ptmikeandmike. There are six award categories, each with at least five nominees. The categories are Race Call Of The Year, Iron Horse Of The Year, Small Stable Of The Year, Horsewoman Of The Year, Upset Of The Year, and Race Fan Of The Year. The nominees will be announced on the Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, edition of "Post Time with Mike and Mike" beginning at 7:00 PM Eastern. Winners will be decided via open vote. Anyone can vote, and details on how to vote will be announced on Wednesday's show. Also on Wednesday's program, guests include Meadowlands and Freehold Track Announcer Ken Warkentin, and Anthony MacDonald continues his series about Thestable.ca. Post Time with Mike and Mike is harness racing's newest podcast co-hosted by track announcers Mike Bozich and Mike Carter. The show's focus is to positively promote harness racing. Every hoof that hits the racetrack, whether a claimer or a stakes horse, has a story to tell, and they plan on telling those stories. Log on to Blogtalkradio.com/ptmikeandmike to listen. If you miss the show live, you can listen on-demand at any time. You can also follow the show on social media. Like them on Facebook at Post Time with Mike and Mike, and follow them on Twitter @ptmikeandmike1.
With the big $1,300,000 harness racing Inter-Dominion final at Gloucester Park in Perth looming large tomorrow, we here at Harnesslink thought we would do a runner by runner breeding analysis of all the runners. 1) Lovers Delight - 8 year old gelding by Bettor's Delight from Love Is In The Air by Butler BG A New Zealand bred gelding by champion sire Bettors Delight from the former smart racemare Love Isin The Air 1:57.6 who was just a touch below the best racemares of her generation. Love Isin The Air has gone on to do a great job in the breeding shed, leaving seven winners. Apart from Lovers Delight 1:56.7 ($337,772), she has also produced Beach Romance 1:49.3 ($258,557) by Beach Towel and Braemoor 1:59.5 ($123,606) by Christian Cullen. 2) Waylade - 5 year old entire by Washington VC from Letspartyallnite by Pacific Rocket A New Zealand bred entire by the very successful son of Presidential Ball in Washington VC from the unraced Pacific Rocket mare Letspartyallnite who is now deceased. Waylade was the only progeny she produced before her death. The grand dam by Falcon Seelster produced 13 foals for little or no result but the third dam Bee Gee's Dream by Butler BG was an outstanding producer. Her seven winners included such high class horses such as Another Party 1:56.3 ($888,678), Party Party 1:53.2 ($251,236) and Champagne Party 1:56.3 ($159,226) 3) Lennytheshark - 6 year old entire by Four Starzzz Shark from Botswana by Albert Albert An Australian bred entire by a son of Cam's Card Shark in Four Starzzz Shark from the handy Albert Albert racemare Botswana. Botswana is turning into a prolific producer with three of her four first foals topping the $200,000 mark in earnings. Apart from Lennytheshark 1:52.8 ($670,992), Botswana has also produced Led Suitcase 1:55.8 ($261,395) and Blissful Boy 1:54.7 ($224,815) who are both by Blissfull Hall. The second dam Lourenco Marques has produced seven winners including Lord Marques 1:52.8 ($214,830) and Newbold Penny 2:00.9 ($175,757) Newbold Penny has since produced five winners including Penny Veejay 1:54 ($387,114) so it is a very strong maternal family 4) Philadelphia Man - 7 year old entire by Art Major from the Fake Left mare, My Liberty Belle An Australian bred entire by the elite stallion Art Major from the very smart Fake Left racemare in My Liberty Belle 1:57.5 ($184,819) My Liberty Belle has only produced three live foals during her sixteen years at stud. Apart from Philadelphia Man 1:52.6 ($534,335), she has also left the handy racemare, The Red Opal 1:58 ($71,488) by Island Fantasy. Well known Queensland breeder Kevin Seymour has had a tremendous amount of success with this maternal family over the last twenty five years 5) Our Blackbird - 8 year old gelding by Bettors Delight from Starling by Live Or Die A New Zealand bred gelding by the champion sire Bettors Delight from the non winning Live Or Die racemare Starling. Starling has produced three winners from her first five foals but Our Blackbird 1:55.1($239,546) is the only one of any note. A full brother to Starling in Giuliana 1:53.4 ($62,605) has done a reasonable job to date in Australia. This is the family most closely associated with the late Colin Baynes with the best pacer from this side of the family being the very speedy Tax Credit 1:52.4 ($303,858) 6) Libertybelle Midfrew - 5 year old mare by Christian Cullen from Lucinda Midfrew by Live Or Die A New Zealand bred mare by New Zealands best colonial stallion in Christian Cullen from a very handy Live Or Die racemare in Lucinda Midfrew 1:56.9 ($52,599). Lucinda Midfrew has produced four winners from her first seven foals. Apart from Libertybelle Midfrew 1:53.9 ($547,047) her other progeny include the smart Lulabelle Midfrew 1:57.3 ($46,045), Lulli Midfrew 1:56.8 ($35,237) and the race winning Mach Three daughter in Lucasta Midfrew whose first foal is the talented four year old son of Ohoka Arizona in Eyre Crusher 1:55.7 ($94,123) who is now in Western Australia. It is not a very deep maternal family but has enjoyed a lot of success in the last ten years. 7) Avonnova - 9 year old gelding by Art Major from the Maple Lanes Strikes mare in Mini Slick An Australian bred son of the elite sire Art Major from an unraced daughter of Maple Lanes Strike in Mini Slick. Mini Slick has produced just two winners from her seven foals to date. Apart from Avonnova 1:51.3 ($748,598), Mini Slick has also produced Iron Realm 1:55.8 ($168,630) The next two dams have produced plenty of foals but few have amounted to much with no other $100,000 winners from this side of the maternal family apart from the two from Mini Slick. 8) Devendra - 6 year old gelding by Bettors Delight from the Walton Hanover mare in Queen Carey An Australian bred son of champion sire Bettors Delight from the very smart Walton Hanover racemare in Queen Carey 1:56.3 ($165,227) Queen Carey has only produced three live foals to date and they have all performed well so far. Apart from Devendra 1:52 ($283,473), she has also produced Benediction 1:57.8 ($161,235) and Estevao 1:57.9 ($46,610) Queen Carey is sister or half sister to eight winners. They include her full brother King Carey 1:57.1 ($165,227) and her half brother by Bettors Delight in Bettor Draw 1:51.9 ($201,818). It is a family that the Rattrays have had a huge amount of success with and it looks to be going from strength to strength. 9) My Hard Copy - A six year old entire by American Ideal from the Presidential Ball mare in Readallaboutit. A New Zealand bred son of American Ideal from the non winning Presidential Ball mare in Readallaboutit. She has so far produced two foals for two winners. Apart from My Hard Copy 1:51.6 ($523,142) she has also produced Press Release 1:59.5 Readallaboutit is a daughter of the Butler BG mare Natalia's Joy who has also produced the handy Money In The Pocket 1:58.8 ($68,225). The third dam of My Hard Copy is the imported Oil Burner mare in Natalia Lobell who was a product of Lana Lobell Farms. 10 Flaming Flutter - A six year old entire by the champion sire in Bettors Delight from the In The Pocket racemare in Twice As Hot 1:56.3 ($54,735) A New Zealand bred son of champion sire in Bettors Delight from a very speedy daughter of In The Pocket in Twice As Hot 1:56.3 ($54,735) Twice As Hot has produced six foals old enough to race to date for three winners. Apart from Flaming Flutter 1:53.9 ($427,665), she has also left the promising Mister Whittaker 1:54.9. Twice As Hot is a full or half sister to seven winners including such smart types as Waitfornoone 1:55.7 ($201,804), Mark Dennis 1:54.2 ($218,806), St Barts 1:57 ($162,506) and Fight Fire With Fire 1:55.1 ($151,657). The second dam Twice As Good 1:56.5 was by Butler BG and was a half sister to the Seahawk Hanover filly Pacific 1:53 ($871,550), who was three year old filly of the year in North America in 1987. Three things stand out when looking at the statistics. 1) Six of the finalists were born in New Zealand even though no New Zealand trained horses raced in this years Inter-Dominion series. 2) Four of the finalists are by the champion sire Bettor's Delight which is a great result as he stands in New Zealand and hasn't had huge books in Australia. 3) Seven of the finalists this year are by stallions who stand in New Zealand Harnesslink Media
The words responsible and breeding should be an inseparable pairing in the harness racing breeding industry. The successful future of a foal depends heavily on the investment of the breeder to: 1) financially project costs from conception to sale or lifespan of the horse if it is to be kept. 2) research, research, research! The homework list is a long one including choosing a mare and stallion with great conformation and temperament, investigating their performance records, checking fertility rates, health records, offspring records and more... 3) educate themselves and plan ahead. Impeccable stable management and genetics knowledge combined with understanding special nutrition and healthcare requirements for the broodmare, foal and breeding stallion are all prerequisites to breeding horses responsibly. In the following article, two experienced and successful horse breeders: Dr. Moira Gunn of Paradox Farm and Doug Nash, formerly from Glengate have taken the time to share some of their vast knowledge. Dr. Gunn has had recent cause for celebration when Lexi Lou, bred by Paradox farm, received the 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year award after a string of wins including the Queen's Plate and the Oaks. Nash was farm manager at Glengate (formerly Cantario Farms) for almost 30 years. Glengate consisted of 3 farms, housing 80 - 100 mares, 8 stallions, and yearlings. In addition to servicing 1,200 mares annually with their own stallions, Glengate collected, shipped, froze, evaluated, imported and exported semen for 125 to 140 stallions of all breeds and disciplines. Nash has also shared his knowledge as an instructor for Equine Guelph's online Growth and Development course. Both breeders were candid discussing one of the most important considerations − ensuring financial means to see the horse through to a purposeful life. From stud fees to reproductive health exams and specialized nutrition, there is much to consider in calculating the bottom line. Stud fees can range anywhere from $200 - $200,000! When discussing logistics, Nash gives an example, "If you are breeding for profit you would not spend over $3,000 in stud fees if your broodmare is worth $10,000." Nash also expects private operations will not incur less than $14,000 (excluding the stud fee) in costs leading up to a yearling sale. In commercial operations this number would be closer to 17 or $18,000. Gunn explains daily costs of boarding just a broodmare vary widely and range up to $40/day. "Quality of care" questions should include the size of stalls and pasture. Methods and frequency of ongoing nutritional analysis should be discussed, for example, testing each batch of hay, soil testing the fields and consulting with a nutritionist to balance feed rations. Both Gunn and Nash concur that selecting the best genetics in the world will not help if paramount importance is not placed on the special nutritional needs of the broodmare and foal. An excellent in-depth understanding of nutrition, including protein requirements, micro-minerals, etc. is crucial to guard against the myriad of developmental conditions that could seriously affect the horse's future potential. Gunn points out, "the number one mistake I see people make is not understanding the nutritional program required prior to conception, during pregnancy and in the first two years of life of a foal." Nash and Gunn understand the value of a reproductive exam, especially if it is suspected the mare may have troubles conceiving or has lost a foal in the past. Nash explains the reproductive exam is much the same as a pre-purchase exam, checking for good overall health but also including the reproductive tract. Gunn described elements of the exam such as performing an ultrasound to check size, shape and consistency of the uterus and inspecting the vulva conformation (i.e. too sloped could predispose windsucking). On a suspect mare, a uterine culture and biopsy can also provide important information. If the mare has a cresty neck, hormone profiles can check for hypothyroidism. Nash comments, "Money spent today on a reproductive health exam can save you tomorrow by avoiding an abortion." Following the reproductive exam there will be many veterinary service calls including palpations and ultrasounds which can run approximately $1,000 - $2,000. Once the budget hurdle has been cleared, the homework begins. One of the biggest questions to answer is WHY are you breeding? Knowing your expectations of the foal will help you make realistic selections when it comes to choosing an appropriate pairing considering size, breed, athletic ability, temperament... which brings us to WHO? When looking at performance records, it is important not to skip over the broodmare and look only at the stallion. Look for the traits, conformation, personality and athletic ability desired in both parents. An ideal body condition score (5-6 out of 9) and good overall health including up to date health records (vaccines, worming...) should exist for the dam and stud. Nash states he likes a mare who adapts quickly to new surroundings and possesses a pleasant attitude. Age is a special consideration for the mare as a decline in reproductive ability starts between the ages of 12 and 15. The older mare may have trouble bringing a pregnancy to term. Expanding on the importance of health Nash cautions, "Horses in pain do not conceive." A mare retired from work is not an automatic breeding prospect, depending on the reason. For example a mare with chronic laminitis is not a breeding candidate. Nash advises the selection process when deciding to breed horses involves three to four months of homework. He looks at performance records not only of the stallion but also the offspring. The size and conformation of the offspring should be noted. "Find out as much about the stallion as you can," says Nash. This includes questions such as live foal rate? A thorough check for any hereditary conditions is a must. Breeding for your own preference needs to be carefully balanced by being cognizant of the marketplace to avoid unwanted horses and paddock ornaments. After the WHY and WHO comes HOW? Live, fresh or frozen is the next topic to study. "Professional breeders will be able to provide semen analysis and be able to tell you how well it transports either fresh or frozen," says Gunn. Raw motility and extended motility are important considerations when transporting semen. Morphology of semen and track records of fertility should also be available. If the mare in question has had difficulty conceiving, you are better off selecting a stallion with high fertility rates. If considering live cover, not all of this information will necessarily be available but past track records of getting mares into foal should be unless it is the stallion's first year standing at stud. A semen evaluation will also give insight as to how many mares the stallion can breed in a day. When choosing live or fresh semen, you must also ensure timing of ovulation and sperm delivery are accurately synchronized. For a live cover, Nash recommends a site visit and inquiring about the facilities health, safety and biosecurity procedures. When using frozen semen, Gunn explains frequent palpations will be necessary for the mare throughout the day and night to have success with this method as timing is critical. When it comes to stable management, you need to be a planning pro with a dedication to details. On top of impeccable general standards, breeding facilities need to provide a suitable environment for broodmares and foals. The foaling area needs to provide ample room to avoid injury during birth. Stalls should have solid walls with dimensions of 16 x 12 being more desirable. In the turn out area, the addition of skylights in three sided sheds make use of sunlight to kill bacteria. Pasture fences should be constructed so the foal cannot roll out of the paddock when lying down. For example: post and board fencing with a fourth rail is often used to contain young stock. Hay racks need to be attached high enough up on the wall that a foal or yearling cannot get hung up. Creep feeders allow weanlings to feed undisturbed and reach their nutritional requirements. It is important to ensure the weanling is consuming enough feed prior to weaning to ensure there will not be a shock on its nutritional development. At weaning time, it is ideal to move the pair out of visual and vocal contact to reduce the risk of injury should they try to reunite. Have a plan for companionship for the mare and weanling after they are separated. The weanling could be introduced to other weanlings or an older gelding. Equine Guelph has published new research on Two-stage weaning as another method of weaning. Last and certainly not least, it is important to plan every step of the way with your veterinarian to ensure good health before, during and after foaling. Vaccinations and boosters need to be given at the correct times and accurate records kept. They may also be able to direct you to a source of colostrum, should there be any issues in the crucial time after the birth. This information is worth checking into before you need it. Planning every detail ahead of time is required to prepare for any eventuality. Responsible breeders perform due diligence in all areas of stable management, financial planning, and market research. The investment of hard work, homework, record keeping and proper care is realized when horses reach their full potential. If you are the owner of such a horse - it all began with the responsible breeder. by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=457 Story Links: Nutrition Right from the Start: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=438 Vaccination EquiPlanner: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/equiplanner.php When to Vaccinate Broodmares video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnL68L5smsE Colostrum: http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/files/2006/11/JSW-MA1-Colostrum.pdf Two-stage Weaning article - page 3 of EG Newsletter http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/newsletter/EG%20newsletter%20Spring%202013_web.pdf Research Radio (Dr. Chenier's podcast on preparation for breeding season) http://www.equineguelph.ca/research/radio.php Equine Guelph's Online courses: http://www.equineguelph.ca/education/indiv_courses.php Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
One of the better two year old harness racing fillies of this season in Northern Velocity has been sold to prominent Australian harness racing enthusiast Scott Robertson and his wife Kathy. Northern Velocity raced at the highest level all season with wins in the $146,250 Sales Race at Addington as well as the $25,000 Leonard Memorial Stakes at Addington and the $25,000 Caduceus Club Classic at Invercargill. She faced the starter eight times during the season for three wins and two placings for a healthy stake haul of $140.560. With the All Star barn having the two other high class two year old fillies in the stable in Dream About Me and Arden's Choice, they made the decision to sell Northern Velocity after the Harness Jewels. A daughter of Mach Three, Northern Velocity is a half sister to the outstanding pacer Pembrook Benny 1:53.6 ($907,890) and was purchased from the 2014 New Zealand Premier Sale at Christchurch for $72,500 by Mark Purdon. While Northern Velocity has been sold to Australian interests she won't be lost to the New Zealand scene just yet as new part owner Scott Robertson explains. " I have moved her to the Mark Jones barn with a view to her spending a big part of her three year old season in New Zealand." " The big aim will be the Sales Race again but apart from that I am more than happy to leave it up to Mark where she races." " At some point she will head over here to my trainer Steve Maguire," Scott said when speaking to Harnesslink this week. Scott is slowly building up a small but select broodmare band with the aim of concentrating on the top end of the market at the yearling sales and Northern Velocity will join that broodmare band when she has finished racing. Some smart mares have already been purchased such as * Joyfuljoy (NZ) 1:51.6 ($480,442) who has produced a lovely Rock N Roll Heaven filly to date. *Rockahula Baby - An Artsplace mare from a three quarter sister to Rocknroll Hanover 1:48.6 ($3,069,093) *Glenferrie Diva 1:58 - A Christian Cullen half sister to the very smart Foreclosure 1:48.8 ($807,746) *Magic Maddy Lombo - The dam already of Suave Stuey Lombo 1:49.6 ($566,512), Miss Trickin Lombo 1:53.3 ($230,312) and this years smart two year old filly Soho Maleleine 1:58 ($47,973) *Snug Harbour - A Bettor's Delight mare from a full sister to Courage Under Fire 1:54.2 ($1,485,629) *The Baggy Green 1:57 ($108,700) - A very smart Art Major daughter of the brilliant racemare Lady Waratah 1:59.5 ($564,770) Scott has set his sights on having a small select broodmare band. " Somewhere around the ten to twelve mark is what I an aiming at." " I plan to sell everything in the first instance but as we get established I would prefer to sell the colts at the sales and retain the fillies where possible," Scott said It has been an ambitious project by Scott and Kathy but with the class of mares they already have and others of the class of Northern Velocity to still join the elite broodmare band, the future looks pretty bright for these standardbred breeders. Harnesslink Media
An iconic print of Greyhound setting his historic time trial mark of 1:59.3/4 on July 16, 1937, reproduced from an oil by Richard Stone Reeves, will be offered for live auction on July 5 at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. The print, numbered 34 of the original 1955 issue of 260, comes from the private collection of a Museum member, who has owned it since publication. A portion of auction proceeds will benefit the Museum's Restoration Fund. The image of Greyhound depicts him at Goshen Historic Track, driven by Sep Palin. The scene looks much the same now as it did in 1937, with the exception of a now-removed hub rail. The resulting time was the first under the 2:00 barrier on a half-mile track for a trotter. This rare print is in good condition with scattered foxing, and is matted and framed. The original oil by Reeves is in the Museum's collection and was presented as a gift to the founder, E. Roland Harriman, in July of 1955 by his friends Lawrence Sheppard, Elbridge T. Gerry Sr., Octave Blake, R.W. Hart, Walter Candler and Leo C. McNamara. Reeves, who painted more than 1,000 horses in his career, including most of the finest Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds of the latter half of the 20th century, was, in the words of the New York Times, "one of the premier equestrian artists in the world." His commissioned works were oil on canvas, "neo romantic in style" said the Times and reported, though never confirmed by Reeves, to start at $25,000. Reeves cites this image of Greyhound, trotting in an event that occurred in 1937, when he was a teenager, as the only horse of more than 1,000 he painted that he did not see in person. Reeves began painting top-flight race horses after his service in World War II. He died in 2005. Those who would like to bid, but cannot attend the July 5 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, can arrange for proxy bid by contacting Historic Collections Manager Rebecca Howard at email@example.com or calling 845-294-6330. The conservation of art and artifacts is one of the Museum's highest priorities. The Restoration Fund is a dedicated account established by to provide funding for the preservation of its collection. Funding sources include donations and artifact sponsorships, grants and the annual Restoration Raffle. Now in its 21st year, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame's Restoration Raffle has provided more than $86,000 toward ensuring long-term preservation and accessibility of paintings, lithographs, vehicles, glass photographic negative and textiles from the Museum's historic collections. Winning tickets will be drawn for a fantastic list of prizes during the Hall of Fame induction dinner, Sunday July 5. Please contact Missy Gillespie for prize information and raffle ticket sales. By Ellen Harvey Harness Racing Communications USTA
The terminal decline of harness racing in New Zealand continues unabated and the future of this industry is looking shakier by the day. The recent announcement by the New Zealand Racing Board that Harness Racing New Zealand has given up another 59 races for next season is yet another nail in the coffin of the industry in New Zealand. The rationale given by Harness Racing New Zealand is that with less races they hope to improve overall field size and improve the quality of the racing. That is about as realistic as me wanting to sleep with Demi Moore. It ain't going to happen. Both the Thoroughbred and Greyhound national bodies have maintained the same number of races as last year and logic would suggest that they will continue to take market share off harness racing as a result. Harness Racing has lost 4% of its races in just two years and that is before the big reductions in foal numbers start to kick in which will really affect the number of races we can conduct each season. So what is our governing body proposing to do to arrest the slide and turn the industry around. Apart from a bit of tinkering around the edges, in my view they are sitting on their hands while this industry goes down the gurgler. The question I would pose is how is the industry travelling in New Zealand at the grass roots level. I talk to scores of industry people each week throughout New Zealand and the feedback is overwhelmingly negative. There are a great many trainers who are looking to cross the Tasman or get out of the industry completely. These include some household names in the industry in New Zealand which leads me to conclude that we are reaching a tipping point in the industry in this country. Auckland is by far the worst area but is not alone in the disillusionment engulfing this industry throughout the country. If the current trends continue and then accelerate when the lower foal numbers kick in shortly, then I don't think harness racing in New Zealand in its present form will exist in ten years time. We need to act now and turn this industry around or prepare ourselves for its demise I know I have been beating this drum for a while but I thought that Harness Racing New Zealand would take up the challenge and they would turn things around. However they have done next to zero and this industry is now living on borrowed time. Several times over the last twelve months I have put forward proposals to change the way we do things in the harness racing industry in New Zealand to help it survive. I don't want to go back over these in detail but I will touch briefly on them here so we are all on the same page. There are a multitude of structures that need urgent change but I will focus here on the four that I think are critical to any chance of saving this industry. 1) Management Structures The management structure of harness racing in New Zealand is more akin to that of a 1960s sports club than that of an industry that turns over hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The clubs in New Zealand were set up to run race meetings and they do an outstanding job of performing their primary function. No one can tell me that clubs that meet once a year were ever envisaged to be running the multi faceted and complex business that harness racing in 2015 has become. We need a small business savvy board with representatives elected by the rank and file participants in the industry in conjunction with some appointed members who are there for their business acumen. 2) Breeding Incentives The breeding side of harness racing is in a death spiral at the moment and unless we do something urgently then the breeding numbers will continue to fall. We have just lost 59 races for the coming year due to lack of runners per race and with the significantly smaller crops now starting to come on stream, that reduction in races per year will accelerate in the coming years. There are several models in use worldwide where other countries heavily support their breeders and we need to follow suit and soon. There is no time to argue about the merits of each of the systems, just adopt one and use it before it is too late. 3) Handicapping system The present system for the majority of horses is not working. The system has been tinkered with for many years and it still has major flaws. A lot of trainers I speak to think the handicapping system is worst now than it has ever been. We have had some minor improvements over the last few years but at this rate we will get it fully sorted about 2050 Why have we not tried something like a points system as Richard Brosnan has been promoting for some time? It is simple, easy to follow and would extend the life of a lot of our poorer performed horses. The Australian market for our cheaper horses has virtually disappeared overnight with the tax imposed on our horses by the Australians. Harness Racing New Zealand is trying to solve the problem by making better usage of the horses that are presently racing. A recent HRNZ quote is " We have started less horses more times". If you take that solution to its logicial conclusion we are going to have less and less horses racing more often over time. It is the exact opposite to what they should be trying to do. The ideal would be to have more horses racing if the system was working, not less. Less horses means less owners, less trainers, less drivers and so on and so on. At some point we will be down to just Alexandra Park and Addington if we don't change our present course. 4) New Zealand Racing Board If you want to know where the money is going in the three codes in New Zealand then look no further than the New Zealand Racing Board. The pigs have got there noses that deep in the trough that it is no wonder that the three codes are struggling to survive. I could pinpoint several examples but I think it is just as easy to set out below some of the costs associated with the New Zealand Racing Board. Operational costs of the New Zealand Racing Board - August 2014 - just after the last HRNZ annual conference. - NZRB's running costs have increased by $24.4 million in four years, a rise of 6.2%. - For the same period turnover increased by just 1.5% and income 2.3%. - Since August 2012, staff costs had risen by $2 million or 4%, an April KPMG audit report said. - The NZRB's annual report of 2013 listed staff expenses of $54.98 million. - In the NZRB's more recent half-yearly report its staff expenses for the six months ending January 31,2014, amounted to $30.71 million, up $2.5 million on 2013. - Its total expenses for the same six months were $64 million, up $3.1 million. - The 2013 annual report listed 72 staff that was paid more than $100,000. - Twenty four of those earned more than $150,000, and eight earned more than $250,000. I have been involved with this industry for nearly forty five years and not much has changed to be honest in that time, except the cost of running the Industry. We need to change the structures that run this industry and bring them into the 21st century. Its like Harness Racing New Zealand is aware that the Titanic is going down but instead of taking any action they would rather sit and listen to the band. JC
Delaware, OH - Sugar Valley Farm and the Dragon Again Syndicate have announced that Dragon Again's book is full and closed for 2015. Sire of the richest pacer ever, Foiled Again p,1:48f ($6,925,031), Dragon Again p,1:48.3 ($2,343,428) is perennially ranked among harness racing’s leading pacing sires in both speed and earnings categories. Standing his second Ohio season in 2015, he has been enthusiastically received by breeders in the Buckeye state with full books in both 2014 and 2015. His first crop of Ohio-eligible foals will be yearlings in 2016. For further information, contact Sugar Valley Farm at 740.363.5618 or e-mai firstname.lastname@example.org.
With two thirds of the New Zealand harness racing season over, we thought it was a good time to take a look at how some of our siring charts were tracking. The one that immediately caught our eye was this season's broodmares sires list which is currently headed by the outstanding trotting sire and now broodmare sire in Sundon. Second last year to champion broodmare sire In The Pocket, Sundon has established a healthy lead over his pacing rivals this season and is going to be hard to head off. As of today Sundon holds an advantage of $314,494 over reigning premiership winner In The Pocket with Holmes Hanover and Christian Cullen close behind. There are few major changes to the list this season below the top handful with the exception being Live Or Die who has dropped down a few places after finishing fifth last year and the emergence of Mach Three whose mares have only left 84 foals old enough to race yet he presently sits in 20th place after finishing 41st last year and is obviously a broodmare sire on the rise. The ability of Sundon to lead the broodmare list is quite a stunning achievement as generally the trotting component of most meetings is only three races on average yet he is heading off pacing broodmare sires who have at least double that number of races at most meetings. Armbro Invasion is making steady progress as a broodmare sire and has overtaken Chiola Hanover as number two on the trotting only side of things but is well over a million behind Sundon still. On the pacing side of things nothing else is really standing out but Bettors Delight is just starting out as a broodmare sire and after finishing 90th last year, is presently sitting in 62nd place. With Bettors Delight being widely recognized as the best filly sire worldwide by a lot of breeders and with the huge number of his well performed mares heading off to stud in the next few years, it would seem only a matter of time before he tops the broodmare sires list as well. Harnesslink Media
Harness racing in New Zealand is in a real bind in our opinion and unless our leaders do something very quickly then we could very easily become a "sunset industry" in this country. The breeding figures for the just completed breeding season are now available and the annual decline in mares bred continues unabated with the decline looking to be in the region of 7.5%. This decline has been evident for well over a decade now and if it is not stopped our industry as it is presently structured will cease to exist. We are not saying the harness racing industry as we know it, will disappear but its shape and form will look nothing like what we have at present. That is the cold hard reality we face when the number of foals bred cannot possibly meet the needs of a racing programme set up for foal crops of nearly double what we are going to now produce. A lot of short sighted people have claimed repeatedly that we are only getting rid of the poorer performed mares each year and that the decline is nothing to worry about. Nothing could be further from the truth. With the continuing decline we are seeing it is only a matter of time before the ability of some clubs to conduct meetings will be severely compromised. Regional areas of New Zealand that rely on horses from other provinces will be the first to feel the pinch in our view. We already have a situation in the thoroughbred code where they are absent from some provincial areas in New Zealand where they use to be strong and we think that harness racing will go that way as well if the breeding numbers continue to decline. Many point to the yearling sales as a guide to how healthy the industry is but it only represents 20% of our industry and while good for morale it can't change the basic premise that harness racing is an industry in rapid decline. The strength of harness racing in New Zealand has always been the fantastic spread of our industry throughout the country. In other words the grassroots of our industry has always been our strength. If that base was to be severely weakened, then the whole structure becomes vulnerable. There are numerous methods used overseas to help the breeder stay in the industry and we have covered these in depth in previous articles. Harness Racing New Zealand and the New Zealand Racing Board have been strangely silent on solutions for this complex problem. There has been plenty of hand wringing and platitudes but no plan of action to help breeders stay in the industry. Time is of the essence in this matter and the longer we dither before doing something, the more chance that the intervention will be too little too late. JC