The first group of Always B Miki offspring are getting ready to take on the world.
by Dean A. Hoffman
How would you like to stand a pacing stallion that gets 36 mares by Somebeachsomewhere in his first book? It’s easy. Just secure a pacer with a race record faster than 1:46.
Until someone does so, Always B Miki will gladly welcome all the mares by Somebeachsomewhere sent to his embrace.
It’s still early March and already two of the foals from his first crop have been registered with the USTA. Dozens more will surely follow this spring and summer.
In this first season at stud last year, the son of Always A Virgin bred 140 mares, the maximum permitted under rules promulgated years ago by the U.S. Trotting Association. The quantity isn’t nearly as important as the quality. He didn’t exactly breed 140 mares by Old Shep, but mares by the leading lights in pacing pedigrees.
There were 14 mares by Bettor’s Delight, nine by Art Major, seven by Rocknroll Hanover, five each by Western Hanover and Real Desire. It was quality from top to bottom.
I won’t attempt to list the credentials of some of the standout mares in his first book because that could cause this column to grow like the national debt. Suffice it to say, his mares were not rounded up from the claiming ranks. They include some of the best of the breed.
I will name but a quartet of mares whose names might ring a bell: Cathedra Dot Com, Rainbow Blue, See You At Peelers, and Shebestingin. (The latter mare is, of course, the fastest female in the breed’s history by virtue of her 1:47 mile at Lexington in 2013. Shebestingin was trained by Joe Holloway, who played such a vital role in Always B Miki’s career).
Yes, Always B Miki certainly can’t complain about his first book of damsels.
The stallion game is, however, stacked against success. If a stallion doesn’t have the right stuff genetically, all the blueblood mares in the stud book won’t guarantee him success. We’ve seen it happen many times before. But the scrutiny of a superstar’s first crop is intense and it helps to have colts and fillies out of first-class matrons.
In addition to the stallions listed above, the champ known as Mr. 1:46 bred mares by Camluck (5), Dragon Again (5), Real Desire (5), Badlands Hanover (4) Rock N Roll Heaven (4), Well Said (4), and others by All American Ingot, All American Native, American Ideal, Artiscape, Art Official, Beach Towel, and Dragon’s Lair.
As most readers surely know. Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin from an Artsplace mare.
Always A Virgin has had considerable impact in the Hoosier State (and also beyond) and stands at Victory Hill Farm in Indiana for a $4,000 fee and breeds ample books of mares.
In Always B Miki’s first season of competition in Indiana in 2013, he won twice in 12 tries. He banked $ 135,381.
Then he just got better and better. At three, he won 12 of 19 starts and $791,482. In his abbreviated 4-year-old season, he won all of his four starts, then roared back at age five to win 12 of 19. He retired with more than $2.7 million in the bank in 53 races.
He stands at Diamond Creek of Pennsylvania.
The first foal by Mr. 1:46 arrived on January 23 at Fashion Farm in Pennsylvania. She’s out of Gallie Beach, a sister to the star Gallie By The Beach. In a trifecta unlikely to be duplicated, Fashion Farms bred three related mares to Always B Miki on Feb. 13, last year.
1. Western Gallie (Western Hanover—Galleria).
2. Gallie Beach (Somebeachsomewhere—Western Gallie).
3. Gallie By The Beach (Somebeachsomewhere—Galleria).
Gallie Beach conceived from covers on Feb. 13 and Feb. 15.
Breeding behemoth Hanover Shoe Farms sent six mares to Always B Miki. They were A and G’sConfusion, Bettor B Lucky, Don’t Deny Me, Hana Hanover, Ivy League, Stolly Up Blue Chip.
Diamond Creek Farm, home of Always B Miki, also gave the young stallion considerable support as did such breeders as Fred Hertrich, Steve Stewart, Emerald Highlands, Crawford Farms, Steve Jones, Lindy Farms, and many other familiar names.
Mr. 1:46 is off to a rousing start in the stud game. He got the right mares from the right breeders. But the key to any stallion’s success rests in the elusive genetics of horse breeding.
We’ll know a lot more after his first crop races in 2020.