Here’s another blog about one of those hard working broodmare sires that add so much value to pedigrees, particulary when they have specific compatibilities to the mare/family.
As I mentioned in my blog about Overtrick, Big Towner is part of a Hambletonian “stub” – one of those Hambletonian lines that struggled to keep extending its siring line. But the Gene Abbe “stub” has continued to thrive and to drive many of the best aspects of standardbred racing through its potent influence in damsires, much like Tar Heel has done for another “shortened” line of Hambletonian. Thank heavens for the maternal lines of our pedigrees – many of these damsires have enduring influence on the quality of our current and future stock.
So for me, Big Towner makes it to my list of all time greats in terms of contribution to the cause. Just for a start, look at his influence as the granddamsire of Art Major, Perfect Art, Real Artist and Panspacificflight.
Why? The primary reason is that he ADDS something. He doesn’t just lurk around as a ‘nice to have’. What he adds through the maternal lines appears to be heart size (x factor) but also speed. Yes, these are linked, but not always so. Not automatically so.
I’ve mentioned Big Towner’s contribution in some of my other blogs, for example in looking at Big Jim as a potential sire. And in a recent blog about Overtrick, Tony Dickinson examined his foundation mare Ballie Hanover and her Barbara Direct lineage – but Ballie Hanover also has Big Towner as her damsire, potentially adding quite a bit of value there.
Here is a lovely summary of Big Towner’s contribution, made by another blogger very recently – that’s serendipity!! – (and particularly signals Big Towner’s contribution as an outcross sire/damsire for mares with a lot of Meadow Skipper):
I’d also like to reference John Bradley’s Modern Pacing Sire Lines for some insight into this great damsire – and give him a tip o’ the hat as an amazing racehorse in his own right :
As a racehorse, Big Towner was a precocious colt right from the start, as was seen when he made his two-year-old debut at Maryland’s Rosecroft Raceway (then a half mile track) on May 7th 1976. Big Towner drew post four and made a break right before the start. But in a preview of what was to come, the colt got back on stride, made up lost ground and raced second all the way until the stretch when he took command and pulled away to a twelve-length win in 2:09.3.
Bradley goes on to describe this horse as “a tough, game and fast colt”. After his 3yo season, trainer Lee Broglio said, “Big Towner is better than his record – he didn’t have too many opportunities over a big track last season – and definitely a fast horse.” And he became a brilliant racehorse – winning his last 9 races over 6 different New York tracks, and in 14 of 16 starts that year having the lead at the three-quarter pole and refusing to give in.
That is speed underscored by a big heart, toughness and a will to win.
Oh, and did I mention his own damsire is Shadow Wave? And his maternal line goes back to Nedda Guy and Nedda? With a good injection of Volomite in that lineage? Well, check back over my past blogs on Shadow Wave and my series of blogs on Nedda to see why I think Big Towner had a fantastic contribution to make to the engine room of many compatible pedigrees, ready to stoke the coals and keep those lines fired up.
He was a top race horse (48 starts, 31 wins) but is making much more of a contribution along the maternal lines of modern standardbreds.
In another blog soon (hopefully this weekend if my chooks behave and I don’t get too distracted by housework and walking on my favourite beach at Raglan), I want to look at out-crossing in the pacing breed, and what it means ‘down under’ i.e. Australia and New Zealand, compared to North America. Because In The Pocket (mentioned in the” Skipper, Skipper everywhere” blog link above, now deceased and semen no longer available) became a huge influence on our breeding in New Zealand, and his son Christian Cullen is making a longterm impression here as a racehorse, sire, a damsire and potentially as a sire of sires. From a one-season venture as a sire in North America, his subsequent small number of northern hemisphere foals have just had highly successful 2yo season, and they are a hint of what outcrossing can offer different breeding “pools” when such a quality stallion is involved.
If you have ideas to share on that topic, contact me at email: firstname.lastname@example.org (sorry this email addresss appears not to be working yet, so use my contact email at email@example.com
– or just add a comment to this blog.)
Other links on Big Towner, summaries of his career and contribution: