11/04/2016 11:38AM

Harness: Harrisburg the perfect time to check out a Roll With Joe yearling

Blue Chip Farms
Praise Blue Chip sells as HIP 113 at Harrisburg for Blue Chip Farms.

There are many ways to measure the value of a pacing stallion. For some expectations are based to comparing racetrack ability with the results of the first or second crop of a horse. For others the test is even greater, as they are faced with having to measure up to a sibling that has already reached an impressive level in the stallion ranks.

Roll With Joe falls into the latter category as actually the fourth son of Classic Wish to enter stud duty. Now with his third crop ready at auction in 2016, there’s pretty good reason to believe that the full brother to Bettor’s Delight may be able to carve out a useful niche of his own, perhaps never to match the level of his older brother, but still notable in today’s ultra-competitive world.

Not as if the Blue Chip Farms’ stallion needed a push heading into the Harrisburg Sale, but it certainly had to be refreshing to see Racing Hill shatter the Breeders Crown record, winning the 3-year-old final in 1:48 by open lengths. Racing Hill may have been in the shadow of Bettors Delight’s best sophomore Betting Line this year, but the colt found a niche and made the most of it.

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Perhaps the same could be said for Roll With Joe. Some 10 years younger than Bettor’s Delight, Roll With Joe’s arrival at Blue Chip marked the departure of the beloved Bettor’s Delight from New York. Positioning is key in the stallion market and there was simply no way two identically bred horses could stand at the same farm in the same state. Bettor’s Delight moved first to Ontario and then to Pennsylvania while Roll With Joe began his career in the Empire State.

Ed Hart conditioned Roll With Joe throughout his career and while that may make him a touch biased in favor of the horse, he appeared more than reasonable and realistic about what the son of Cams Card Shark has done and potentially will do.

“I think he’s shown himself in the big races,” said Hart. “They are competitive and consistent just like he was.”

One reason it’s difficult to compare horses off the racetrack is that variables change dramatically. Roll With Joe had a far different level of competition on the racetrack than what he has at stud, but there is a far greater dynamic that can either hold down or bolster a stallion – Broodmares.

With competition fierce in many states, some of the top broodmares in the sport have indeed crossed state and provincial lines to mate with the cream of the crop. New York saw a peak in the breeding business before slots were added in Pennsylvania and since the balance of power has shifted dramatically.

“I think, hopefully you will start seeing him get better mares,” Hart said of Roll With Joe.

Certainly interesting commentary since it actually appears as if Bettor’s Delight may have actually been the beneficiary of moving from New York to Ontario and then to Pennsylvania in his ability to continually attract a high quality of pacing broodmare while Roll With Joe has looked to find a niche in the competitive New York market without the same level of support.

Ironically the theoretical limits of a stallion are just that and it only takes one or two pairings with well-bred mares to send a message to trainers and owners that a stallion can indeed produce a champion.

Racing Hill’s success in 2016 is the kind of indication owners and trainers need to recognize that Roll With Joe’s offspring can in fact improve their performance with age and that’s something inherent in the line.

“He’s got the pedigree,” Hart said, with a true belief what that means going forward.

Third crops of any stallion tend to be a crapshoot with breeders running the risk of selling yearlings not knowing how the first two crops of a stallion will make out on the racetrack.

Still, there appears to be enough quality with championship potential in the Harrisburg sale. The colt Praise Blue Chip, hip number 113, is the first foal from a half-sister to $2.2 million winner Rocklamation. The dam Exclamation is a daughter of American Ideal that raced in the New York Sire Stakes program.

Hip number 300 is a Winbak Farm-consigned filly named Kara Joe. Though the ninth foal of the dam Aberdakara, Kara Joe is the first by Roll With Joe and thus is a half-sister to the $2.5 million winner We Will See, one of the toughest and hard-hitting campaigners of the last decade.

Another filly, hip number 355, is named Act Like A Diva. Bred by All American Harnesssbreds and a duel eligible in New York and Maryland, Act Like A Diva is just the second foal from Music Row, a stakes winner herself in New Jersey and half-sister to Allamerican Native. The first foal of the dam Music Is Art won a New York Sire Stakes event this year at Saratoga.

This is a great year to check out the offspring of Roll With Joe and perhaps find the next Breeders Crown champion.