02/19/2014 12:10PM

Bob Marks: Signs point to Rock N Roll Heaven becoming a premier stallion

Conrad Photo
Rock N Roll Heaven was a star on the track with over $2.7 million in career earnings.

The success of Blue Chip Farm stallion Bettors Delight bodes well for the siring prospects of another Blue Chip stallion—Rock N Roll Heaven—for a couple of very distinct reasons.  One of which has to do with the past performances of both of their particular sire lines and the other, which we’ll see later, illustrates a performance and size similarity shared by both horses.

That Bettor’s Delight is an outstanding sire is unquestioned. Just look at some of his recent outstanding headliners: Vegas Vacation, Shebestingin, See You At Peelers, Betterthancheddar, etc.

What is not generally recognized is that Bettor’s Delight has done something almost unprecedented in modern standardbred breeding by becoming the fifth consecutive outstanding sire in his sire line.

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So what does this have to do with Rock N Roll Heaven?  Basically, Rock N Roll Heaven is on the verge of accomplishing the very same thing, assuming of course his upcoming first racing crop performs to expectation.

Generally speaking, sire lines tend to go in cycles and it is rare that even the most accomplished line can be sustained on a nearly equal basis for more than three successive generations.

Speedy Crown was the dominant trotting sire of the 80’s and 90’s and of his siring sons only Speedy Somolli could measure up to the old man. From there it skipped a generation through Baltic Speed only to regenerate by Baltic Speed’s son Valley Victory, who in turn has left Muscles Yankee and Yankee Glide.  Yankee Glide has a reasonably good son in Glidemaster while Muscles Yankee has several in Deweycheatumnhowe, Muscle Mass, Muscle Massive and Muscle Hill.  Of those, Muscle Hill will generate the most scrutiny as his first crop could be construed as promising. If Muscle Hill proves a great sire, it will extend the Valley Victory line to three.

Back in the 40’s when Hal Dale was establishing the pacing branch (not connected to the prevailing trotting branches of Axworthy and Peter The Great), he left two super-siring sons in Adios and Good Time, though neither was able to extend that line beyond their immediate generations. It should be noted that prior to Hal Dale’s emergence, most pacers were trotting-breds from either Axworthy or Peter The Great stallions that basically were not good trotters but had been switched over to the pace. 

Thus, the line-extender responsibility fell to Hal Dale’s modest son Dale Frost, who sired Meadow Skipper, a benchmark stallion that virtually recreated the pacing breed in his own image.  In this case, like other examples, the siring greatness skipped a generation.

Meadow Skipper then sired Most Happy Fella, a great sire who in turn sired Cam Fella, another great sire. That impressive line gave us three milestone stallions in succession. Cam Fella’s best siring son was arguably Cam’s Card Shark, who then provided Bettors Delight, thus extending the line of success to five.

While some might nominate Camluck or Cambest as the best siring son of Cam Fella, neither has left a son on a par with Bettor’s Delight.

Most Happy Fella also sired Oil Burner, who like Dale Frost was moderately successful, but the “Burner” did leave one milestone son in No Nukes. Here again, is another instance of generation skipping, similar to Hal Dale, Dale Frost and Meadow Skipper.

No Nukes then sired his milestone siring son Western Hanover, who in turn left his best son Western Ideal, thus providing three consecutive milestone stallions. Western Ideal has managed two outstanding siring sons in Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal, extending the line to four. Rocknroll Hanover unfortunately passed on in the spring of 2013, but not before leaving several outstanding stallion prospects including Rock N Roll Heaven from his first crop.  Arguably, Rock N Roll Heaven ranks as Rocknroll Hanover’s optimum son to date and should he prove an outstanding stallion, it will extend the stallion success line to five.

Considering that Bettor’s Delight and Rock N Roll Heaven fall into a little known characterization within the Meadow Skipper line, perhaps the success of the latter as a stallion can be foreshadowed by the past.

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Meadow Skipper himself was a big horse, though his great son Albatross was not. Most Happy Fella was a big horse though his best son Cam Fella was not. No Nukes was a big horse though his two top sons Western Hanover and Jate Lobell were not.  Cam’s Card Shark was a big horse though his best son Bettor’s Delight was not. Rocknroll Hanover was a big horse though his great son Rock N Roll Heaven was not. However, every not so big son of the big sire shared a similar characteristic of being a warrior!  And that seems to be the common denominator in the siring success of the not so big sons.

Therefore, we might well expect Rock N Roll Heaven to sire in similar fashion to Bettor’s Delight and it will be interesting indeed to observe how it all plays out this coming season.