Millionaires and Multimillionaires – Harness Racing Update
by Alan Leavitt
Having recklessly predicted great breeding success for Rebuff based on his speedy good looks, it was high time to look into his extensive pedigree.
This is said with the full understanding that the only valid clue to a stallion’s future potential is his track record at 2 years old. But it’s always fun, and a little enlightening, to see where a good horse comes from.
Rebuff is sired by Muscle Hill and by Meucci Madness, by Yankee Glide. Curious about the word Meucci, it seems to derive from the surname of Antonio Meucci, an Italian-American who lived from 1808 to 1889 and is sometimes credited with inventing the telephone. Today it is primarily a manufacturer of pool cues and golf clubs, which I suspect is where our mare Meucci Madness got its name from.
Believing in the power of wise inbreeding, it’s interesting that Rebuff is inbred, 3 by 3, with Valley Victory. As a reminder, when the sum of the two generations in which the same horse name appears is equal to or less than six, the horse thus bred is technically “inbred”.
When the sum of the two generations where the same horse name appears is 7 or 8, the horse with that pedigree is defined as “Linebred”.
When none of these crosses appear in a horse’s pedigree, that horse is, by definition, an “Outcross”.
The vast majority of today’s American-bred standardbreds, both trotters and leaders, are crosses. One of the advantages that this type of pedigree offers, in stallions, is good fertility. About thirty years ago, the American trotter had become very inbred, with the result of a marked loss of fertility in the stallions. We don’t see this problem today.
By the way, if one is curious about the future fertility of a young racehorse, there is a good method to predict it without doing a breeding test, which has been the usual way. Most syndication and purchase deals are based on test breedings, which for obvious reasons are nearly impossible to achieve until the horse in question has been retired from racing.
The alternative method is to have an experienced breeding veterinarian take some testicular measurements and put them into a certain equation, and the result will be a 95% accurate sperm count the horse will produce in one ejaculate.
Naturally, there are other questions about semen quality that can only be answered by looking at the real thing, but this equation will answer the biggest question every stud manager has. And, at the risk of redundancy, it can be used anytime during a horse’s racing days.
Back to Rebuff, a few words about Valley Victory, his grandfather on both the top line, or Tail Male, and the bottom line, or Tail Mare.
Even though he raced as recently as 1989, the USTA no longer provides his racing lines. He was a perfect seven for seven at 3, but contracted a virus and was not entered into the Hambletonian. This virus ended his career, but he came out with 10 straight wins dating back to his 2-year season.
When he entered stud, he exploded like a hydrogen bomb, and raised the performance level of the American trotter to new heights. He made an indelible impression on the trotting breed with sons such as Yankee Muscles, Victory Dream, Lindy Lane, Donerail and Yankee Glide.
Valley Victory was very inbred. He definitely wins the “I am my own grandfather Award” in a walk. If you don’t know country music, I am my own grandfather has probably the most complicated lyrics ever written in English that document all the relationships that ultimately lead to the title of the song.
Rebuff isn’t just 3 by 3 for Valley Victory, it’s also 4 by 4 for Speedy Crown. This great horse has won the Hambletonian himself, sired 3 Hambletonian winners and is the only standard trotting sire whose single season offspring earnings have exceeded not only those of his competitors, but all thoroughbred sires. North Americans.
Once again, Rebuff’s pedigree also shows the great influence of Charlie Keller, the New York Yankees star outfielder turned standardbred breeder. Rebuff’s pedigree shows two crosses with Keller’s founder mare, China L, which he purchased for $1,600.
She was an excellent pedigree mare out of Jane Revere, one of the top producers of WM Reynold’s extensive standardbred holdings. Delvin Miller was Reynold’s trainer, and he won just about every big race we had, including the Hambletonian and the Little Brown Jug.
Every race at this time was contested in heats, and only the Hambletonian was raced, under the rules of the Hambletonian Society, on a one-mile track. The only other mile track that had a big run was The Red Mile, where the Kentucky Futurity was and still is held today. Although they don’t even exist today, the Red Mile meeting in early fall was the scene of hundreds and hundreds of time trials.
At that time, a record against the fence was valuable, and even if a filly couldn’t beat 2:05, we breeders were happy to have 2:06 or 2:07 on a trotting filly for our band of broodmares. The last notable time trial in our sport was on August 16, 1993, when Cambest raced a time trial in Springfield, IL in 1:46.1. He was trained by Fred Grant and driven by Bill O’Donnell. It was the fastest mile ever for nearly 20 years.
As far as time trials the Red Mile being an anomaly. When Joe O’Brien trained and rode the mighty chain of horses owned by Sol Camp, they won it all at one point or another, including the Hambletonian, at least three times, and the Little Brown Jug. But even when they had a top trotting filly claiming a 2:00 record she hadn’t had in the race, O’Brien refused to go against the fence with her, or any of the others. bluebloods from his channel.
However, after Sol Camp passed away and his holdings, including Almahurst Farm, dispersed, O’Brien stepped out on his own as a public trainer. And he quickly became the most sought-after time trial rider at The Red Mile meeting, where, among other things, he drove Steady Star to the then fastest mile ever, TT1: 52.
So, as we said then and say now: go figure.
And then there’s the article I just read about a great Canadian coach of the past. In an interview, one of the coach’s oldest clients said this about the guy:
“After 10 years with x, I was a millionaire,” said its owner.
Then he added: “But before he started training for me, I was a multi-millionaire.”