If Art Major had been a human, with the huge athletic ability and handsome looks that he possesses, he would have been a sporting celebrity worldwide.

Just a few days ago, on the 6th June, Art Major celebrated his 24th birthday and remarkably he is lining up for his 19th Stud Season in the Southern Hemisphere.

Art Major was voted the USTA Three Year Old Pacing Colt of the Year in 2002 and the following year took home the Aged Pacing Horse of the Year trophy.

This in itself speaks volumes for the athletic ability of the tall son of Artsplace.  However, it is even more remarkable when considering the quality of his opposition in that 2002 season.

They included such stars as:

  • Mach Three 1.49 $2,376,700 – winner of The Meadowlands Pace and Heat of The Little Brown Jug.
  • McArdle 1.49 $2,692,604 – winner of the NJ Classic, Tattersalls Pace and second in the Breeders Crown final.
  • Million Dollar Cam 1.50.4 $969,792 – winner of Little Brown Jug and Adios Pace.
  • Allamerican Ingot 1.50.6  $1,238,935 – winner of the Messenger Pace and third in the Breeders Crown final.
  • Red River Hanover 1.48.8 $1,394,626 – winner of North America Cup.

Some of those horses might not have developed into leading sires but they were all outstanding or champion racehorses and in 2002 Art Major was voted the best of them.

It would be easy to argue that the 2002 crop of three year olds in North America has not been bettered this century.

So, the scene was set when Art Major retired to stud at Blue Chip Farms in 2004 to leave an indelible mark on the Standardbred breeding world and he let no one down.

Art Major’s influence and ability as a sire in both Hemispheres has been profound and just to remind us all of his greatness. Here are some facts from the Southern Hemisphere alone:

  • He has sired the Fastest horse to race in the Southern Hemisphere – My Field Marshall 1.46.9.
  • He has sired 1835 Southern Hemisphere bred winners with total earnings of $125 million
  • He has sired 6 Southern Hemisphere bred millionaires, 4 of which have sub 1.50 records.
  • He has been the Leading Sire of 2 Year Olds in Australia on 7 occasions.
  • He has been the Leading Sire of 3 Year Olds in Australia on 5 occasions.

There is no slowing down for Art Major either. In this current season, Art Major sits in second position on the Australian All Age Sires List and is leading the Two Year Old Sires List with a gap of over $200,000 back to the second placed stallion.

Art Major’s most powerful weapon in his arsenal was his sheer speed and there is no doubt that the speed is the best asset he has passed onto his progeny.

The endless siring premierships of two and three year old prizemoney lists is ample and concrete proof of that.  Two of his fastest ever sons that set Australian tracks alight are Vincent and Ride High.

VINCENT, from a $542,000 winning Safely Kept mare, only had 19 lifetime starts but built a huge reputation from the very first start.  After a punctured tyre in the first 800 metres ended his Victorian Derby aspirations, he made a big statement just 3 weeks later in winning the $200,000 NSW Derby.

The 19 career starts resulted in 16 wins, all in the best company.  Here are some examples of that explosive speed that the horse named after the renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh rattled off:

  • Retired as Australia’s fastest ever three year old Pacer – 1.50.2.
  • Ran his last quarter in 25.5 when winning the 2017 NSW Derby.
  • On many occasions ran 55 or better last halves.

Vincent has been heavily patronized since commencing his Stud career in 2018.  With his oldest progeny being current three year olds, Vincent is having a serious impact on the Australian and New Zealand three year old Sires Lists.

As at the 26th June, he is in fourth position on the Australian three year old sires list for average earnings per starter (15 or more starters) and seventh on the prizemoney list.

Across the Tasman, Vincent is currently sitting prominently in fifth position on their three year old pacing sires premiership and fourth on the two year old premiership.

RIDE HIGH, from the Live or Die mare All The Magic, put his speed on display time after time in his 18 start career.

It was never better displayed than on a cold winter’s night at the 1,000 metre track at Bendigo in 2020.

“The beast, he opened up.  Look at him go, he’s smashed the clock again, he’s a jet” were the excited words of the race caller that night, Lachie McIntosh.

The sheer speed on display that night was both breath taking and unforgettable.

Ride High faced five star competition as a three year old – one of the strongest group of three year old colts in Australia this century. That group included Poster Boy 1.49.1, Ignatius 1.48.6, Colt Thirty One 1.51.2 and Tam Major 1.50.2 and he was only ever defeated once that season.

Ride High had his first start in a race at Maryborough (just up the road from where he was raised) and the winning debut came with a closing 55.8 half.

So that sheer speed was evident from day one and continued throughout his career.

  • Track Record of 1.49 at Bendigo on 1st August 2020 with a closing half in 53.6.
  • Twice ran final quarters in 25.7, both times defeating Poster Boy.
  • In 11 of his 16 career wins, he ran his last half in 55 or better including a 52.7 last half at Melton in June 2020.

Ride High is set to commence his third breeding season. We eagerly await his second crop this Spring out of mares such as Nike Franco (Group 1 winner), Leilani Lombo (Group 1 winner), Before Night Falls (Group 1 winner), Arms Of An Angel (Group 2 winner), Ideal Bliss (Group 2 winner), Madam Pom Pom (Group 2 winner) Miley Rose (Group 3 winner) plus fine producing mares like Bellasario (dam of Group 1 winner Captain Bellasario) and Contrapan (dam of Group 1 winner Border Control).