08/11/2015 7:20PM

Marks: Geldings rule the roost in 2015

Lisa Photo
Pinkman is the first gelding to win the Hambletonian since Vivid Photo.

As the stakes season hits the midpoint, for the first time in many a year, both 3-year-old colt leaders are actually geldings. Unaffected by the Gural rule mandating that horses return for a 4-year-old campaign, we should be seeing much more of them in the years to come.

The 3-year-old trotting leader—Pinkman—solidified his number one ranking with a two-heat win in last week’s Hambletonian. He now leads the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll with 316 points and just over half of the 35 first-place votes available.

The 3-year-old pacing leader—Wiggle It Jiggleit—failed to win the Cane Pace on Saturday, tiring after setting brutal fractions. WiggleIt Jiggleit still remains the leading money winning pacing sophomore by a wide margin.

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Interestingly enough, the eventual Cane Pace winner Dealt A Winner is also a gelding, but he’ll have to do a lot more from here on in order to make a dent in ‘Wiggle It’s’ substantial margin. As it stands, Wiggle It Jiggleit ranks fourth in the balloting with 279 points (four first-place votes) while the next closest 3-year-old pacer, Wakizashi Hanover, ranks eighth with 109 votes.

There have been instances where the eventual 3-year-old champions were geldings but never has this occurred in the same year. That is since they started tabulating these things back in 1952.

Roger Hammer’s gelded Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo was elected 3-year-old champion in 2005 while Noel Daley’s Mr Muscleman (another gelding) topped the 2003 list.

On the pacing side, recent sophomore champion geldings include: Timesareachangin in 2004; Gallo Blue Chip in 2000; Western Dreamer in 1997; Hot Lead in 1996.

Last year at Hambletonian time the clear-cut trotting colt leaders were the Jimmy Takter trio of Father Patrick, Trixton and Nuncio, each an entire horse.  By Breeders Crown time, E L Titan, another potential stallion, tossed his name in that mix following a conquest of Father Patrick in the Carl Erskine at Hoosier Park. E L Titan then managed a superb overland near miss to Father Patrick in the Breeders Crown.

Trixton was retired to stud at Deo Volente Farms, having suffered a career ending injury. Nuncio, now age 4, went to Europe and has been successful there this year, though not dominant for “Foto Tarzan” Stefan Melander—he of Scarlet Knight fame.

In accordance with the Gural rule, both Father Patrick and E L Titan serviced mares during the breeding season before returning to the races as 4-year-olds.

Father Patrick started out brilliantly, but suffered well publicized losses thereafter and is currently undergoing evaluation by the University Veterinarians. E L Titan has raced but twice in Canada and has been idle following an unimpressive second-place finish in a Preferred trot at Mohawk on July 27.

Last year’s pacing colts featured the eventual champion J K Endofanera, plus McWicked, Always B Miki, He’s Watching, Limelight Beach, All Bets Off, Somewhere In L A and Luck Be With You, in whatever order one chooses to place them. 

Of those, Limelight Beach and Somewhere In L A are geldings while the others are all entire horses.  Always B Miki is currently sidelined and has yet to race this year. He’s Watching tried to return to the races but suffered soundness issues and has been retired.  The others are all currently racing

Whether or not any of last year’s pacing colt leaders would have been considered major stallion prospects is subjective. Certainly there was not the clamoring for any of them amongst the major breeding farms.  Undoubtedly one or two may have found homes in one of the mushrooming Midwestern “racino” States, but in accordance with the Gural rule, all have returned. Eventually some will get their stallion opportunities, but for now all that are able are currently active.

Getting back to this year’s sophomore classes, the major contenders to Wiggle It Jiggleit would seem to be Wakizashi Hanover, Dude’s The Man, Artspeak, In The Arsenal and Dealt A Winner, in whichever order one chooses to list them.  Thus far, none would be considered a major stallion prospect, though that could change by year’s end, especially in the case of Artspeak. He is a son of a proven sire of sires in Western Ideal. It should be noted that Wakizashi Hanover, like Dragon Again’s best performer—Foiled Again—is a gelding.  As with last year’s 3-year-old pacing group, some could find homes in the regional racino states, but should the Gural rule remain in place, all are likely to return as 4-year-olds in 2016.

As for the trotters, Pinkman’s major rivals besides the filly Mission Brief include:  The Bank, Uncle Lasse and Canepa Hanover.  All three possess what is often referred to as stallion’s pedigree and likely would find significant stallion homes next year should the Gural rule be rescinded or ignored.

Uncle Lasse (Donato Hanover-Solveig) is a full brother to the brilliant Shake it Cerry, Don’t You Forget It and Solvato.  Canepa Hanover (Muscle Hill-Cressida Hanover) is a brother to Maven’s sire Glidemaster. The Bank, also by Donato Hanover, is from the $1million dollar plus winner Lantern Kosmos (Viking Kosmos).

All that said, the two distinct non-stallion prospects, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Pinkman, remain entrenched as respective divisional leaders.

Will that continue?  Stay tuned!

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