03/01/2017 9:03AM

Bergman: Explosive Matter holding solid footing in trotting ranks

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Explosive Matter earned over $1.5 million in his career.

With just three crops that have made it to the sophomore ranks young stallion Explosive Matter appears to hold solid footing in the trotting ranks. From those first three crops came the 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman, himself a lifetime winner in excess of $2.5 million. That’s an impressive average no matter how you slice it in a sport that seems to be leaning more heavily towards the Muscles Yankee line of sires.

Explosive Matter, now 11, has always had a lot to overcome beginning from his days on the racetrack. Few horses have had his ability and less notoriety and that has much to do with the competition he faced.

“We just couldn’t beat Muscle Hill,” said Ron Pierce, his regular driver during his years on the track in 2008 and 2009. “I tried to sit on his back. I tried to come from off the pace and nothing worked.”

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Nonetheless Explosive Matter completed a two-year career with more than $1.5 million in the bank and a most impressive record.

Pierce picked up the drive late in the 2-year-old campaign and guided the son of Cantab Hall-Fireworks Hanover to victory in the Matron Stakes before running into Muscle Hill in the Breeders Crown final and finishing a valiant second.

“He was a very easy horse to drive. Had great manners and did what you wanted him to do,” said Pierce, recalling his time in the bike.

With five wins in six starts as a freshman Explosive Matter more than indicated what talent he had and showed it off as a 3-year-old.

A solid second in the Hambletonian, Canadian Trotting Classic and Breeders Crown, Explosive Matter captured the $500,000 Colonial at Chester in 2009 and completed his North American racing career with a victory in the Bluegrass at Lexington’s Red Mile.

While many of today’s breeders are looking for the Muscles Yankee line through his son Muscle Hill, those looking to incorporate the line can get it in a different way through Explosive Matter. Fireworks Hanover, the dam of Explosive Matter, is a daughter of Muscles Yankee that has produced five in under 1:58 from her first eight foals.

On the top half of the pedigree is a son of Cantab Hall, widely accepted as one of the premier trotting stallions of the last generation. Cantab Hall is the most successful son of the great Self Possessed, a horse that pretty much left it all on the racetrack and never became the acclaimed stallion many had expected. Self Possessed was a son of the ill-fated Victory Dream with the line going back to Valley Victory.

Explosive Matter’s pedigree is enriched clearly by generations of Valley Victory blood and the distance from the stallion has made him very attractive for mares from a number of other popular lines.

Success is one of the most difficult things to measure in the breeding shed as broodmare owners look to mate their mares to the best possible stallion in order to achieve the highest yearling prices. Explosive Matter’s success off the racetrack has in many ways mirrored his accomplishments on the track. Given a large book each year he has produced solid horses that were good enough to compete on a local level in Pennsylvania and in epic events such as the Hambletonian. Given a limited number of what some might deem “A-List” mares he has produced quality at a very high level.

Struck By Lindy, a filly from Explosive Matter’s first crop, finished second in the juvenile filly Breeders Crown trot in 2013 and went on to earn more than $500K in a crop that included Shake It Cerry.

Explosive Matter stands for a $7,500 fee at Hanover Shoe Farms in Pennsylvania.