North American owners regularly spend big dollars at the Lexington and Harrisburg Yearling Sales in search of that Home Run horse.
The three-year-old season in North America is the stallion making season with such races as the $1 million North America Cup, the Meadowlands Pace, the Adios Pace, the Little Brown Jug and the Breeders Crown providing opportunities for owners to enjoy a life changing ride in harness racing.
So having that colt ready to rumble as a three-year-old can turn the dream into reality.
It is a tough season of racing though and not even the mighty Somebeachsomewhere could make a clean sweep of these majors. So to be awarded at season’s end with the title of Three Year Old Pacing Colt of the Year is a crowning achievement .
Amongst the Alabar Sires roster this year there are four stallions who have been rewarded with that prestigious Dan Patch Award for the Three Year Old Pacing Colt of the Year.
Art Major (Artsplace – Perfect Profile – Nihilator)
Rock N Roll Heaven (Rocknroll Hanover – Artistic View – Artsplace)
Bettors Wish (Bettors Delight – Lifetime Star – Western Ideal)
Pebble Beach (Downbytheseaside – Santa Rosa – Western Ideal)
Amazingly the famous Brittany Farm in Kentucky bred three of those four Dan Patch Award winners – Art Major, Bettors Wish and Pebble Beach as well as the 2021 Three Year Old Pacing Colt of the Year in Perfect Sting.
Art Major and Rock N Roll Heaven are now firmly established as Leading stallions in Australia. Art Major’s record speaks for itself. Progeny earnings in the Southern Hemisphere exceeding $125 million, the sire of 6 Millionaires and sire of the fastest horse to ever race on our tracks – (My) Field Marshall 1.46.9.
Rock N Roll Heaven has now sired 435 Australian bred winners headed up by Expensive Ego 1.48.6, Wolf Stride 1.49.1, Heaven Rocks 1.49.6 and My Mackenzie 1.52.4 plus the winner of the recent Blacks A Fake Grand Circuit race in Swayzee 1.52.
He has also sired the Kiwi bred pacers Let It Ride 1.48.2, A G’s White Socks 1.51.7 and Bernie Winkle 1.53.5, who all have earnings exceeding $650,000.
The New Boys
Both Bettors Wish and Pebble Beach, the Dan Patch Award winners in 2019 and 2022 respectively, have strong Southern Hemisphere connections.
Bettors Wish was trained and driven by the expat Kiwi’s Chris Ryder and Dexter Dunn respectively whilst Pebble Beach had the Aussies Noel Daley and Todd McCarthy guiding his 17 wins career.
It is always a big step, whether in North America or in the Southern Hemisphere going from a three year old to taking on the tough Free For Allers as a four year old. The legendary Artsplace succeeded at it as did Western Ideal, Art Major and Always B Miki.
So Bettors Wish elevated himself into elite company in 2020 when he took on the best older pacers that North America could throw at him by being awarded the title of Older Pacer of the Year.
This followed on from his Dan Patch Award as a three Year Old and so he became the first pacer in 17 years to take home successive Trophies at three and four. Art Major was the previous Pacer to achieve this.
Bettors Wish was the horse that helped put Dexter Dunn on the map in North America when he arrived there in 2018.
When Dexter drove him to a decisive victory in the $340,000 TVG Pace, his farewell race in 2020, he had this to say following that victory:
“At the three quarters he wanted some more leather, he wanted to march on. It was a special feeling going across the line. I barely asked him tonight. He’s a true racehorse and always gives 110 %.”
So a resume that read – 44 starts, 24 wins and 13 second placings and earnings of $2,781,240 gave his owners a perfect launching pad for a new career.
The amazing thing about that 2020 season was that Bettors Wish mixed both breeding and racing duties. His first crop of foals were born in North America in 2021 and from that crop that number 39 foals (current two year olds), 50% of then have already hit the racetrack with 4 of those starters taking sub 1.54 records to date (8th August) – they being the colts Better Is Nice 1.50.8 and Wishyouwell 1.52.6 and the fillies Pulp Fiction 1.52.4 and Quick Fire 1.53.2.
After clean sweeping the New Jersey Sires Stakes Finals for two year olds on the 4th of August, Bettors Wish has jumped into the Top Ten on the USTA two year old sires list and more importantly is at the top of the leaderboard on Average Earnings per Foal in North America this season with $12,769 per foal.
Pebble Beach is the first foal of the lightly raced Western Ideal mare Santa Rosa, who in turn is a full sister to the millionaires Vintage Master 1.48.1 $2.16 million and Great Vintage 1.49.1 $1.51 million plus the $500,000 earner Ideal Vintage 1.50.2.
In 2021 Pebble Beach became one of the fastest two year olds in history, taking a record of 1.48.4 in one of his 7 wins from 11 starts as a two year old.
He quickly showed he was the colt for all others to chase in the first half of the North American three year old season when he won both his elimination and final of the $1 million North America Cup.
It was one of the easiest wins in the 40 year history of the North America Cup and set up his three year old season to become the dominant colt.
He returned to the Mohawk track 5 months later to again destroy the classy field in the Breeders Crown Final. In between those two demonstrative victories Pebble Beach won the Tattersalls Pace and elims of the Adios Pace and Progress Pace and finished runner up in the Kentucky Sires Stakes final.
With seasons earnings of $1,610,725 he became the richest three year old pacing colt of 2022 and then was crowned with the Dan Patch Award as the best Three Year Old Pacing Colt of 2022.
Both his trainer and driver Noel Daley and Todd McCarthy were rich in praise of the correct and great looking colt.
“He was great gaited, didn’t wear a boot and just had a wicked turn of speed with several 25 and change quarters on his resume” said Noel.
“His speed and versatility is what made him so special” added Todd. “He had that fast twitch muscle. When you asked him to turn on the speed there was no lag.”
There are no weak links in the pedigree of Pebble Beach with his first three dams being by Western Ideal, Artsplace and Most Happy Fella and that third dam is a full sister to one of the greatest American Fillies of the 20th Century in Silk Stockings 1.55.4.
The former leading sire of Australia and Alabar based, Kentucky, is a also a member of this family.
Pebble Beach winning the North America Cup