Fortunately, the cancer was caught early and the tumor that was found and removed is very small. The Hall of Fame pacing stallion’s majority owners, along with Hanover Shoe Farms where Somebeachsomewhere stands, have vowed to put the best interests of the horse ahead of all else.
by Dave Briggs
Brent MacGrath told Harness Racing Update on Saturday that Somebeachsomewhere has begun chemotherapy to battle cancer and is being treated by Dr. Rodney Belgrave an internal medicine specialist at the Mid-Atlantic Veterinary Center in Ringoes, NJ.
MacGrath, the trainer and part-owner of the 12-year-old Hall of Fame pacer and leading stallion, said the good news in a scary diagnosis is the cancer was caught early and the tumor, which has been removed, was quite small.
An issue with colic and the decision by Hanover Shoes Farms’ farm manager Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky to send Somebeachsomewhere to the equine hospital to get thoroughly checked allowed veterinary surgeons to find the cancer early, MacGrath said.
“Beach has had some stomach issues for some time,” MacGrath said Saturday. “We have treated him for colic in the past and, this last episode, Bridgette wanted him sent to the hospital and checked out. So we did and they found the intestine in a bad spot. It was making him uncomfortable and we determined that we were going to go in and move it into its proper position. Everything looked very good, but he did have a small mass in there that was half the size of a grape.”
Hanover Shoe Farms president Jim Simpson said the colon surgery performed about 10 days ago, “was very successful and they did three biopsies and one came back positive (for cancer). The course is to treat him, starting today.
“All we can hope for at this point is that they got it and we’ll take care of him. Otherwise, he’s really the picture of health in any other way. He looks good, feels good, but we must take care of this aggressively and that’s what we are doing.”
Somebeachsomewhere underwent the first of six weekly chemotherapy treatments on Saturday, said MacGrath, who stressed the only thing that matters is the health of the horse and doing what is right for the horse.
The stallion is syndicated, but the six-member Schooner Stable of Bible Hill, NS —
MacGrath, Garry Pye, Stu Rath, Reg Petitpas, Pamela Dean and Jamie Bagnell — still holds majority ownership in the horse.
“All of us, the original six owners, our main concern is Beach… We just want him to have as happy and healthy a life for as long as he possibly can,” MacGrath said. “We’ll do whatever we can. Hanover’s position is the same. We are very lucky to have them as a partner. It isn’t all about the money with them or with us. It’s about Beach and what he’s done for us and what he’s done for the farm and what he’s done for the sport. We’re going to do whatever we can do for him. We’re staying positive. Hoping for the best is all we can do.
“I feel very comfortable knowing that the best possible (treatment) is going to be done for him, without question.”
The superstar son of Mach Three out of Wheres The Beach earned more than $3.2 million on the track in 2007 and 2008, winning 20 of 21 starts and setting an all-age world record of 1:46.4 at age three at The Red Mile. He shared the Canadian Horse of the Year award in 2007 with Tell All and was named the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the United States in 2008. Somebeachsomewhere was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2015 and has already sired the winners of more than $82 million with just six racing-aged crops on the ground. He led all pacing sires in progeny earnings in 2016 with nearly $20 million earned by his offspring. He is the leading pacing stallion in 2017. His progeny have earned more than $22 million this year.
Four separate Somebeachsomewhere stallion shares were scheduled to be sold during the Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s Mixed Sale session on Nov. 9, but the shares were pulled before the sale as a precautionary measure due to the stallion’s colic surgery. That decision was made before Somebeachsomewhere was found to have cancer.
MacGrath said it was something of a blessing that Somebeachsomewhere had an issue with colic that allowed veterinarians to find the small tumor.
“We believe the best thing that could have happened to us was that he got colic. All indications are that we would have found it too late (otherwise),” MacGrath said. “We’re certainly positive and optimistic about our chances. He’s in the best place, with the best doctors. Bridgette and Jim moved very quickly to get him to Mid-Atlantic Hospital in New Jersey.
“And the silver lining here is that Beach is an extremely strong horse. That we know from everything that he’s done.”