Big picture on big stage at Breeders’ Cup
Despite the best efforts of Animal Kingdom, Not Abroad and the rest, no Mid-Atlantic horses won Breeders’ Cup races this year. No Maryland-breds, no Pennsylvania-breds, no Virginia-breds. Ditto for horses trained by regional horsemen.
But that doesn’t mean the Mid-Atlantic went quietly into the California weekend.
Fort Larned and Wise Dan did not race in the Mid-Atlantic in 2012. They weren’t bred in the region. They are not owned by people from the region, nor trained by people from the region. Other than passing through in a van, maybe, they didn’t even make it to the region in 2012.
But, they made plenty of noise at the Breeders’ Cup and could easily be called the region’s most valuable horses after signature performances on the sport’s biggest stage.
The Classic and Mile winners, respectively, delivered two of the most dynamic performances of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Nov. 2-3?–?producing rich paydays for their connections and rewarding the faith of two stallion farms in Pennsylvania.
That’s right, the sires of both stars stand in the state?–?Wiseman’s Ferry (Wise Dan) at Dana Point Farm in Lenhartsville and E Dubai (Fort Larned) at Northview PA in Peach Bottom. The stallions moved to the Keystone State because they didn’t keep up in the fast-moving Kentucky market. Horses get a quick chance to prove themselves on the big stage there; they also get a quick hook when they don’t keep up with the pace.
Kentucky giant Juddmonte Farm sold Empire Maker to Japan a few years ago, then watched as the stallion’s value and impact skyrocketed thanks to stars such as Royal Delta. Wiseman’s Ferry and
E Dubai won’t suddenly be confused with Empire Maker, but they might start piling up statistics, changing minds, delivering mares to Pennsylvania, pushing the Mid-Atlantic into the national spotlight.
When the two stallions moved to the state, Pennsylvania was starting to see the effects of higher purses and better breeder incentives fueled by slot machines. Stallions followed the money, making Pennsylvania a logical choice for former Kentucky stallions.
Wiseman’s Ferry showed up in time for the 2009 breeding season, slightly ahead of the slot-machine curve. Wise Dan was a 2-year-old, but his impact would soon be felt.
E Dubai moved from Darley in Kentucky to Ghost Ridge Farm in Pennsylvania in time for the 2011 season. After one year there, he relocated to Northview’s new facility (an expansion of the Maryland farm into a new state). Fort Larned broke his maiden in January 2011, which didn’t do much for his sire at the time. Twenty-two months later, the Kentucky-bred is a game-changer.
Along with everyone else in the region, Wiseman’s Ferry and E Dubai are about to embark on the 2013 breeding season. Their sons Wise Dan and Fort Larned are being pointed to 2013 racing campaigns.
So what does it all mean? Progress. Confidence. Business. And it also means the region can create top-class horses. Still. Pennsylvania-produced sons and daughters of the two stallions are just starting to get to the track, and that?–?above all else?–?means hope. If they run like Wise Dan and Fort Larned, the Breeders’ Cup might soon have a truly regional flavor.