Invitation to Illinois Standardbred Breeders

The University of Illinois Horse Farm invites all Illinois Standardbred Breeders to partner with us in the resurgence of the ICF program.

While the horse racing landscape remains uncertain in the Land of Lincoln, the University of Illinois Horse Farm remains optimistic that the recent events in the industry will mark a resurgence of Illinois horse racing and breeding. The reduction and consolidation of harness racing dates into one major track, Hawthorne, along with increased purses during the spring through fall months could well be a positive development for Illinois racing and breeding, even without an immediate gaming bill. More opportunities for young ICF horses, especially trotters, are very likely – both for stake races and conditioned races that were not typically offered at the now closed Maywood and Balmoral Parks. The projected ICF stakes purses, probably very similar to those offered in 2015 in the absence of a gaming bill, still offer value to the small group of Illinois breeders that produce quality animals for our limited pool of ICF stakes-eligibles. A new gaming law could, of course, breathe new life into the ICF program and transform the breeding industry over night.

The key to being a “big fish in the small pond” of the ICF program is to breed outstanding stakes horses in a limited stakes pool of animals that can then go on to be competitive in conditioned races in Illinois and throughout North America. We invite you to breed one or more of your good mares to one of our proven producing stallions that have displayed the ability to produce “the right kind” over and over.

On the pacing side, for example, our stallion Sagebrush has posted some stunning numbers so far in his limited career. His offspring that are old enough to have raced at least through their 2 and 3 year old seasons number only 42 total foals. From that group, he has sired the likes of NJ’S Big Deal P 4, 1:50.1 M ($306,372); Sleazy Does It P 5, 1:51.3 M ($301,819); Thesleazyprincess P 3, 1:52.2 M ($280,298); Dee Dee Sage P 4, 1:52.0 M ($225,716) and Hostess Lisa P 4, 1:51.0 F ($212,266). Breeders have finally caught on to Sagebrush’s ability to sire top performers from many types of mares, and Sagebrush’s 2016 crop of 2 year olds is represented by a robust 47 foals – by far his biggest crop to date. Watch for them to make a lot of noise in the 2016 ICF stakes. Don’t overlook Duneside Perch either, as “all he has done for us lately” was to sire both of the 2015 winners of the two “glamor division” Super Night Stakes, the Orange and Blue and the Langley Memorial, in Dan D Dune P 2, 1:53.3 M ($120,626) and Dinky Dune P 3, 1:51.4 M ($85,975), respectively. His recent “out East” winners in PA and DE include Unlocked P, 4, 1:49.1F ($359,169); Duneside Chella P, 5, 1:51.4F ($94,172) and Beach Boy Brody P, 4, 1:52.1F ($77,337).

On the trotting side, no one questions that Cassis has the most modern pedigree, and is the fastest trotting stallion ever to stand stud in Illinois. This Hambletonian heat-winning and multiple stakes-winning son of Cantab Hall has a first crop of 38 living foals that will be heard from this summer. Southwind Breeze, although overshadowed by his on-farm neighbor Cassis, has shown the type of siring consistency that most trotting stallions can only dream of. Southwind Breeze has sired winners all over the United States including Little Ms Chrissy, T 4, 1:53.4 ($248,688); Big Bill Breeze T 4, 1:54.1f ($169,986); Divination T 5, 1:54.4f ($127,176); Bailey’s Wish T 3, 1:55 ($223,035) and Bobby B Breeze T 4, 1:55.1f ($155,731).

Kevin Kline, PhD