The 2023 yearling crop from Crawford Farms looks to be outstanding.
by Murray Brown
Come spring, this scribe’s thoughts tend to focus on yearlings, likely in part because beginning each spring I spent decades traveling to various parts of North America to evaluate those yearlings that had been consigned to Harrisburg.
It was a chore that took a lot of time, a lot of hours and close to 20,000 miles yearly in the car.
Was it demanding? Perhaps a little, but I loved it. Any angst was overcome by the pleasure that a new crop of yearlings and the people that raised them presented.
That circuitously brings me to the topic of this week’s column.
Come springtime, I do not possess nearly the patience required to wait for the annual yearling catalogs to come out in September. Instead, I peruse the various websites to get an inkling of what will be offered this fall.
This past Sunday, I occasionally left the NCAA basketball games to peruse this year’s yearling crop from Crawford Farms. I find it rather remarkable what the second generation of Crawfords have done in a relatively short period of time. They have established a broodmare band that, on a mare by mare basis, ranks up to the very best in our industry and far exceeds most.
The broodmare band now numbers 100 active mares. It is made up of 57 trotters and 43 pacers. They include an abundance of stakes and classics winners at both gaits. The mares are booked to all the world’s greatest stallions. Some have already produced stakes and classics winners and champions on both gaits. There are, undoubtedly, significantly more to come.
Which leads me to this year’s yearling crop.
It is one which should interest every serious yearling buyer.
The Crawfords have 16 by Tall Dark Stranger, second in number only to Hanover’s 17, for that much-awaited young pacing stallion. They also have 10 yearlings by superstar trotting stallion Chapter Seven, the largest number to be sold by any breeder this fall. The yearling group also includes substantial representation by Always B Miki, American Ideal, Captaintreacherous, Downbytheseaside, Father Patrick, Huntsville, Muscle Hill and Walner.
For purposes of this article, I will only concentrate on their first foals. They have 14 yearlings that are first foals, six of which are out of mares that have earned over $200,000 and a seventh out of a $100,000 winner.
The first foal brigade is without a doubt headed by a Muscle Hill filly out of the world champion and Hambletonian winner Atlanta ($3,533,707). She very well might become the most looked-at yearling being sold this year. There is also a Tall Dark Stranger colt from Stonebridge Soul ($763,959); a Captaintreacherous filly out of Hen Party ($594,518); a Tall Dark Stranger filly from Alexis Faith ($580,546); a Tall Dark Stranger colt out of Brooklyn Lilacs ($277,090); a Chapter Seven filly from Sans Defaut ($275,720); a Tall Dark Stranger colt out of Attention Hanover ($206,617) and a Captaintreacherous filly from Mink Pink ($127,720).
Attesting to the great race career of Atlanta, her career earnings eclipse the total earnings of the six other mares mentioned by almost another million dollars.
I feel those and certain others not mentioned, should be enough horsepower to get any buyer’s juices flowing. They certainly do mine and I am not what I would describe as a buyer.