02/08/2012 3:01PM

Meadowlands: Itrustyou's roots extend all the way to Indiana


The emergence of recently unknown Itrustyou, the likely odds-on favorite in Friday's 10th race, a division of the Exit 16W at the Meadowlands, naturally brings out the curious among the breeding pundits.

Who is Third Straight, the 4-year-old pacer's sire?

Who is Dynamic Lady, herself a non-record racing performer by Abercrombie and dam of the aforementioned current star?

The answers will follow, but first to understand a bit more about the rise of the so-called "off-breds" you have to recognize why and where they have come from.  The small-breeders of today and yesteryear arose from an attempt to capitalize on regional sire stakes programs. The programs offered added-money to horses bred and raised in the state and worked economically for all parties. Surely large breeding facilities were born and marketable stallions came to reside. But at the same time small breeders, some horsemen, some speculators, some farmers, were able to get in the game rather cheaply. They registered stallions and bred mares, not for market, but to raise and hopefully race and share the big money.

Generally these small-time dreams led to horses bred poorly enough not to make the races, let alone the sire stakes program.

When Indiana, a once dormant state with virtually no pari-mutuel racing, combined casinos with racetracks, and Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs were built, along came a sire stakes program.

Which brings us to Third Straight, an $87,000 yearling purchase of Sue Laden's North Woodland Stable in the fall of 2000. Bob Boni, who made most of the purchases for Laden and still runs the popular Northwood Bloodstock Agency, recalled: "He was a good looking son of Western Hanover. The dam, Terrie Letsgo, was a Direct Scooter mare that made more than $200,000 and that was sensational since Direct Scooter had very few good fillies."

Third Straight proved a better two-year-old than three-year-old setting a "world record that lasted about an hour," according to Boni. Among his best races was a second in a Breeders Crown elimination behind Mach Three and a third-place finish in the 2001 Governor's Cup.

Despite taking a 1:50.10 career mark as a three-year-old at Pocono Downs, Third Straight changed hands and continued his career as a racehorse, albeit with limited success.

In 2006 Third Straight began his second career in Indiana and bred 77 mares. That first crop had reasonable success, which gave the stallion some credibility and after three lackluster breeding seasons revived his career in 2010.

In 2011 Third Straight was purchased by Alan Leavitt's Walnut Hall Limited Farm and stood his first year in Kentucky. Leavitt has gained a reputation in the standardbred breeding business for thinking outside the box. In the early 1990s he recognized a talented trotting stallion named Garland Lobell in the province of Quebec and moved him to the States. The results of that and other similar transactions led to the famed brother act of Conway Hall, Andover Hall and Angus Hall, first on the racetrack (all earned at least $800,000) and now as successful stallions.

Itrustyou's dam, Dynamic Lady, produced the $100,000 winner Circle of Trust the first time she was bred to Third Straight. Circle of Trust excelled for trainer Ron Burke in Indiana. Burke's group purchased Itrustyou late last year from breeder, owner and trainer Dean Collins.

The connections must love the pedigree.