Plainridge, MA — Massachusetts Standardbred breeding and the accompanying $1.8 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes (MASS) are programs that have become very desirable to breeders from many racing jurisdictions across the U. S. and Canada. With the Commonwealth’s resident mare program that provides for yearlings to be eligible to multiple sire stake programs in the same year and a burgeoning purse account for the supporting Massachusetts stakes being driven by three state casinos through the provisions of the Race Horse Development Fund, Massachusetts has fast become one of the best racing districts in North America.
The numbers clearly display the interest as Massachusetts 2-year-olds have increased by almost 50% from 2017 to 2019 and the resident mare roster has grown by 25% since just last year with 145 having been registered in the state this past breeding season.
Although MASS competition doesn’t begin until September, many of the eligible horses are already competing and earning in stake action in Delaware, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario, well in advance of their early fall stake engagements at Plainridge Park. Another group of state-breds are either just now qualifying or racing in overnights in preparation of forthcoming stake engagements.
As the season swings into the heart of summer racing, here are some examples of the great horses being foaled in Massachusetts.
Friday night (June 28) the 2-year-old pacing filly Dramatra (Trixton-Bourbon ‘N Grits) made a huge impression in her first lifetime start at the Meadowlands, winning a $25,000 New Jersey Sire Stake (NJSS) wire to wire in 1:57.3, last quarter in :28 flat in wrapped-up fashion. The three-quarter sister to 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life trotted as easily as could be and was never asked by her driver Scott Zeron. George Ducharme, who trained Royalty For Life, also trains this filly.
Dramatra is owned by Ray Campbell Jr. and Al Ross, who bred the filly.
Then on Saturday (June 29) the 2-year-old trotting colt Ready For Moni (Ready Cash-Nothing But Moni) went an eye-popping qualifying mile at the Meadowlands in his first lifetime appearance on the track, coming from off the pace in a :27.2 final quarter to win in 1:56.1 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Per Engblom.
Bred by the Moni Maker Stable, Ready For Moni was a $220,000 yearling purchase last fall in Lexington by owners John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Connecticut, Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield.
In Ohio, the 3-year-old pacing gelding Levi (Pet Rock-Beam Of Joy) won a $17,500 leg of the Buckeye Stallion Series at Scioto Downs on Friday (June 28) in a new lifetime mark of 1:53.1. He’s now hit the board five out of five times this year with two victories and two stakes placements.
Driven by Kayne Kauffmann and trained by Jim Pollack Jr., Levi is owned by Stephen Richard who also bred him.
The Maine Sire Stakes (MSS) are now in full swing and 50 Mass-bred 2 and 3-year-olds are eligible to start in them.
3-year-old pacing gelding CBF Bantam (Baron Biltmore-Cohenucopia) has been on a roll of late, winning two races in only three starts this season. After taking a lifetime mark of 1:54.4 in an overnight at Plainridge Park, CBF Bantam scored an easy three-length victory in a $9,498 (MSS) at Presque Isle on Saturday (June 29) in 1:59.3.
CBF Bantam was driven by Gary Mosher for trainer David Crochere. He’s owned by Glenn Harris and Marion Phelps, who also bred the gelding.
2-year-old trotting gelding Buckanlully (Boy Band-Empress Hall) scored his first win of the year in only his second start of his career in a $10,682 Maine Sire Stake (MSS) race at Bangor Raceway on Tuesday (June 25) timed in 2:06.
Driven to victory by Dave Ingraham, Buckanlully was bred by David Barnard and Cynthia La Casse and is owned by Barnard and his trainer, Stephen La Casse.
Plainridge Park, home of the MASS, has seen a growing number of eligibles qualifying and getting their first starts there in preparation for the fall contests. Here are just a couple of notables.
The 3-year-old trotting gelding RFL’s Lord Command (Royalty For Life-Tetiana) has two wins this year and two consecutive lifetime marks; the most recent a 1:56 outing in an overnight event at The Ridge. A full brother to MASS champion Muscles Jared (1:54, $387,104), RFL’s Lord Command is off to a fast start in his sophomore campaign hitting the board four out of four starts.
3-year-old pacing filly Karan’s Choice (Sportswriter-Denverlove) scored her fourth win of the year and a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2 at Plainridge Park on Thursday (June 27) in an overnight event. Karan’s Choice was the 2018 MASS 2-year-old filly pacing champion and has earned $142,444 during her short career.
Jim Hardy trains and drives both RFL’s Lord Command and Karan’s Choice for breeder/owner Al Ross.
The dates for the 2019 edition of the $1.8 million (est.) Massachusetts Sire Stakes are:
Sunday (Sept. 29)
3-year-old First Leg $35,000 (added)
Monday (Sept. 30)
2-year-old First Leg $35,000 (added)
Sunday (Oct. 6)
3-year-old Second Leg $35,000 (added)
Monday (Oct. 7)
2-year-old Second Leg $35,000 (added)
Sunday (Oct. 20)
2-year-old Third Leg $35,000 (added)
Monday (Oct. 21)
3-year-old Third Leg $35,000 (added)
Monday (Oct. 28)
2 and 3-year-old Finals $100,000 (est.)
For more information on breeding, stakes and racing in Massachusetts log on to the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts website at www.sominc.net.