12/23/2014 5:05PM

Marks: Father Patrick may breed in New Jersey

Nikki Sherman
Father Patrick will see his first crop of youngsters hit the track in 2018.

The official sign hasn’t been illuminated quite yet, but the talk is that Father Patrick will be unable to stand at Diamond Creek Farms in Pennsylvania while training at Jimmy Takter’s Millennium Farms in East Windsor, New Jersey. This is due to Pennsylvania stipulations mandating that Sires Stake-eligible stallions may not leave the state of Pennsylvania during the breeding season.

Therefore, in order to breed and race during the same calendar year, Father Patrick would have to be trained in Pennsylvania or bred and trained in Takter’s home state of New Jersey.

Reports indicate that the State of Pennsylvania was asked for some form of waiver which would have enabled the 3-year-old trotting colt champion to convoy between Diamond Creek Farms and Takter’s training facility, but that was not granted.

It’s not totally confirmed just yet, but it appears that Father Patrick will stand his 4-year-old season at Walnridge Farms in New Jersey, some 20-25 minutes down state road 539 from Takter’s training center in East Windsor.

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There is ample precedence for this, as the well known international star Wishing Stone did the very same thing last year. The multi-millionaire trained at Ron Burke’s barn at Gaitway Farms and bred mares at the Deo Volente Farms home base. In all, Wishing Stone bred 28 mares last year while in training, with the majority being reported in foal. He then went on to successfully race most of the season and finished out as a Breeders Crown finalist.

What this means is that Father Patrick and Trixton—stablemates and adversaries on the racetrack—will be able to continue their rivalry in the breeding shed in New Jersey for at least one year. That might make for some interesting New Jersey-sired trotting events in 2018.

Hambletonian winner Trixton, just named New Jersey Standardbred of the Year, is retired and expected to serve a full book of mares from his base at Deo Volente Farms.

Plans for Father Patrick have not been fully disclosed, but in all likelihood he will service a limited number of mares during the early breeding season before resuming full-time training in accordance with the Gural rule that requires horses to race as 4-year-olds in order to maintain offspring eligibility for a number of major stake events. There was some discussion earlier in the year about possible amendments to the Gural rule, but as of yet nothing has happened.

Breeding and racing, while somewhat new in this country, has been successfully practiced in Europe for many years, and the great Ready Cash is earning additional stature as his sons and daughters are now stakes winners. In fact, one of his daughters is favored in a stakes race at Vincennes, Paris this weekend.

While breeding and racing is old hat in Europe, the idea in this Country gained traction due to McWicked’s sire McArdle, who was test-bred as a 4-year-old prior to eventual syndication at the end of his racing year. McArdle was first collected at Perretti Farms only to race at The Meadowlands the following Saturday. McArdle raced like the proverbial bearcat that night, causing trainer Chris Ryder to wonder if perhaps we should have test bred him again the following week.

We did and McArdle seemed to thrive under his new regimen, but as he was not a registered stallion, any foals resulting from these test breedings would not have New Jersey Sires Stakes eligibility, although they still could be registered by the USTA.

Perretti Farms had some experience in this matter having owned a Muscles Yankee trotting filly named Aerobics, who somehow was impregnated while in training at The Meadowlands. Turned out, the offending culprit was a claiming pacer named Do Not Disturb, who somehow got loose during a power failure in the stable area.

As it was, Aerobics wound up winning a stakes race in Illinois before they noticed she was putting on some pounds.  A vet check quickly revealed she was indeed racing for two, and upon foaling the next spring, it was determined by DNA who the father actually was.

The resulting colt named Rude Awakening wound up in Illinois and actually won one of those top-line events at Springfield on the pace as a 2-year-old.

As for Aerobics, she saw nothing but trotting sires thereafter and to the court of the ill-fated Windsong’s Legacy produced the major star Lucky Chucky amongst others.

It was then petitioned at New Jersey Sires Stakes meetings that perhaps future situations involving McArdle type test breedings be accorded Sires Stakes eligibility should a foal be produced. Eventually the trustees including Mike Gulotta, Anthony Perretti, and Dr. Richard Meirs passed a motion for this to happen, which enabled Wishing Stone to breed and race in 2014.

Thus, should it be decided that Father Patrick will breed and train in New Jersey, he’ll be following the path that Wishing Stone set last season.