10/04/2017 12:18PM

Giwner: Walner to be retired, syndication agreement reached in principle

Mark Hall/USTA
Walner will stand stud at Southwind Farms.

Trainer Linda Toscano confirmed on Wednesday morning (10/4) that her star trotting pupil Walner will no longer compete on the racetrack and has been syndicated as a stallion in principle to Brittany Farms LLC and Lindy Farms LLC. Preferred Equine will be the syndicate manager for the 3-year-old colt, who will stand at Southwind Farms.

“There was a ton of European interest but Ken (Jacobs, owner) wanted to keep him in the U.S. because he believes he can be a generational horse. It was the best fit and we are thrilled to death to have those backers,” said Toscano, who added that Jacobs will maintain a portion of the horse.

Southwind Farms is an interesting choice considering they already stand the No. 1 trotting stallion in Muscle Hill.

“It is pretty exciting to know that he will stand in the same shedrow as Valley Victory and Artsplace, and that he will stand next to Muscle Hill. That’s a powerful one-two combination,” said Toscano. “State-wise it is a chance, we knew that as far as Grand Circuit is concerned, as opposed to really having a state program, but I believe that so many of the backers have their horses boarded and raised in Kentucky that because of the new dual staking program a good portion of his foals will be eligible to multiple states. At Brittany he would be eligible to Kentucky Sire Stakes. If someone like Hunterton would buy in, which in theory we would hope they would, or that Adam Bowden at Diamond Creek would, those horses would be eligible to Kentucky Sire Stakes as well. While we are waiting on New Jersey and are hoping they get something going, at least we have a Sire Stakes program to fall back on.”

Walner was the 2-year-old Dan Patch champion in 2016 while winning seven of eight starts and earning $484,037. The son of Chapter Seven came into this year as the heavy favorite to win the Hambletonian. He was perfect in two starts in July, including a 1:50 2/5 win in the Stanley Dancer at The Meadowlands, but suffered a minor injury leading up to the classic on the first Saturday in August and has never raced again. With the syndicate deal in place, Walner will not race again.

“He could race. However, all parties involved do not want him to race. They feel he is much more valuable in the breeding shed,” said Toscano.

Walner will begin his stallion career in 2018 among a strong group that not only includes Muscle Hill but also Cantab Hall, Credit Winner and Father Patrick, who made a good showing as his first crop started selling in Lexington this week. An advantage for Walner is that he has a pedigree that fits mares which some of his counterparts would not be able to service.