01/11/2018 4:33PM

Bergman: Searching for the next great pacing stallion

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Somebeachsomewhere has been the dominant force on the pacing breeding scene.

Searching for the next great sire to come along has been a passion for many in the breeding industry for decades. The correlation of impeccable performance on the racetrack to true superstardom in the breeding shed is not as exact a science as we’d like to believe.

That is with the notable exception of Somebeachsomewhere. The last great racehorse of the current generation has managed to wipe away the remnants of the stallion career of Niatross, the greatest horse from my generation. Somebeachsomewhere’s performances on the racetrack were as epic if not more so than Niatross. The two can’t be compared in any way when it comes to stallion careers since in Somebeachsomewhere’s brief career he has been as dominant and consistent. He has provided the star power we were looking for from the outset and in 2017 once again laid the foundation for future generations as pacers Downbytheseaside and Huntsville left their collective marks on the racetrack and almost immediately found themselves with a full book of mares to greet them in 2018’s breeding season.

The hopes that either of those two will turn out like their daddy are high.

What Huntsville and Downbytheseaside may not have this year is competition from Somebeachsomewhere for pacing mares. Somebeachsomewhere is currently undergoing chemotherapy and while the entire standardbred world prays for a complete recovery, the timetable for a return to full health, let alone a return to his stallion career, is impossible to know.

The two new sons of Somebeachsomewhere that will embark on their stallion careers in 2018 are not the first sons of Somebeachsomewhere to enter the arena. So Surreal, a sub-1:50 performer as a juvenile, retired from racing due to injury and got the jump on the others. His first crop raced in New York in 2017 with limited success.

Captaintreacherous, regarded as the best son of Somebeachsomewhere, will see his foals tested in 2018. He is certainly the clear favorite to follow more closely in his father’s hoof steps for a few historical reasons.

Somebeachsomewhere was the best and richest son of his sire Mach Three, who in turn was the best and richest from his sire Matts Scooter. Matts Scooter was also the best and richest horse from his sire Direct Scooter.

While those connections may seem to make Captaintreacherous’ success as a stallion a certainty, we should take note that not all history repeats.

At the same time, going back through the generations from Somebeachsomewhere’s paternal side we find that greatness did not duplicate itself to others along the family tree. In other words, there was just one great horse that in turn became a stallion of note.

Captaintreacherous was the best of his generation but did not have another son of Somebeachsomewhere that was his equal to compete against.

Both Downbytheseaside and Huntsville paced in 1:49 as juveniles with the latter holding a 3-2 edge in face-to-face competition as juveniles.

At age 3 we all know that Downbytheseaside’s season lasted longer and perhaps that may mean something, but the argument could be reached that he didn’t have Huntsville to battle by years end.

Whether any of the battles on the racetrack will have you pointing in a particular direction, neither stallion is likely to compete on a local level, with Huntsville’s book full in New York and Downbytheseaside’s completed in Ohio.

Still if there is going to be a successor or for that part a horse that rises to the levels enjoyed by Somebeachsomewhere in the coming years, the prospects may be better for a non-Somebeachsomewhere offspring. If family matters and stallion lines are indications of future success, there appears to be more probability that it may come in the form of one with a male line that includes Western Ideal.

Western Ideal was able to produce three notable stallions in Rocknroll Hanover, American Ideal and Always A Virgin, and there would appear to be a greater chance that sons of those three will have an edge going forward.

He’s Watching and Heston Blue Chip are currently American Ideal’s first opportunity to see a successor. The former had impressive support in Ontario but Heston Blue Chip saw limited numbers in New York.

The late Rocknroll Hanover appears to have found some traction in a pair of young stallions. His two richest sons Rock N Roll Heaven and A Rocknroll Dance are making inroads with A Rocknroll Dance showing more male star power in his first year with division winner Lost In Time among his first to hit the racetrack.

Then there is Always A Virgin, the sire of the fastest horse of all time Always B Miki. His first foals will hit the ground this year and certainly will be as well-bred a group as the industry has seen.

Dragon Again has had an amazing impact on the sport through his son, the now 14-year-old Foiled Again. What the late son of Dragons Lair hasn’t done as yet is put forth a successor. Many of his standouts have been geldings with the exception of the 2016-17 star Fear The Dragon.

Dragons Lair was the best son of his sire Tyler B and Dragon Again was Dragons Lair’s best son. While it’s indisputable that Foiled Again is Dragon Again’s best son, Fear The Dragon was his best as a freshman and sophomore.

While Bettor’s Delight still happens to be going strongly after a lengthy stallion career, it is perhaps becoming time to see one of his offspring prove himself in the breeding shed. Could that horse be Betting Line? He bred 141 mares in his first year in Pennsylvania in 2017.

It’s going to be interesting to see if any of these or perhaps a stallion from a different male line will emerge on the racetrack or in the breeding shed. For now we can only hope that Somebeachsomewhere makes a complete recovery and extends his legacy for decades to come.