Posts Tagged ‘Little Brown Jug’

This year’s Little Brown Jug was the 10th anniversary of Mr Feelgood’s win – the one I was privileged to see in person in Delaware. I was reminded of that by an article in Harness Racing Update where driver Mark Macdonald recalled the moment prior to the racing:

Ten years ago in this very stall, Mr Feelgood stood, virtually unnoticed,as a crowd gathered around his neighbour, straining to see the dog-sized speedster named Doonbeg. “Everyone wanted to see the little horse. Adam Hanley was (Mr Feelgood’s) groom and he was standing there with Mr Feelgood and it was like a joke,”Hey guys, Mr Feelgood over here.” But no one wanted to see him.He was put off,because he loved the horse so much and I said,”We’ll get them on the track, don’t worry about it,” MacDonald said.


The pint-sized Doonbeg (shown here in his stall on Jug Day) captured everyone’s imagination but Mr Feelgood captured the Little Brown Jug. Photo: Bee Pears

I confess I put my money on Doonbeg, but it was Mr Feelgood who won, and went on to many more wins including the Interdominion Championship and Hunter Cup in this part of the world, and a siring career that has been somewhat strange – his first crop was born before he had officially started at stud, his biggest crop in Australia is the result of a free service deal which has resulted in 227 foals born in 2015, and yet in New Zealand (where he raced very well for trainer Tim Butt) he has been totally ignored. They haven’t been able to give his semen away!

Well, there are a handful of us New Zealand breeders who have grabbed the opportunity, and it is appropriate that (fingers crossed for a safe landing) I will have a Mr Feelgood foal landing later this year from my Dream Away mare Dreamy Romance. Maybe if it is brown, it will have its name pretty well sorted! You can still get Mr Feelgood’s frozen semen at extremely good price ($1,750 + gst) from Lee Morris at Equibreed, and there may still be some at Nevele R Stud if you ask. Remember this was a fast (1.49 at 5yo), durable (raced until he was 8 and was still winning big stakes at the top level), and rich (lifetime earnings well over $3m) horse, with a maternal line (the K Nora/Adora family, Leah Almahurst branch) which is firing so beautifully at the moment.

I’ll be heading back to him again.

Betting Line’s family

Unfortunately this year’s Little Brown Jug has ended in a cloud that will be hard to disperse for a while, regardless of test outcomes, for winner Betting Line.

Betting Line

Betting Line gets a cool down after racing.

It is the old story – justice has to be seen to be done, and clean trainers have to be seen to be clean. So anything, any talk or action that could be misinterpreted should be ringing alarm bells. Perhaps a simple notification to the stewards that vanilla yogurt was going to be administered would have avoided all of this. It is really sad, as Coleman is an extremely good, hard-working trainer, and Betting Line is a very good horse. An 8-length win should be something we are all celebrating, instead of just hoping it was all done right.

Putting that to one side, let’s have a closer look at Betting Line – he’s a Bettor’s Delight from Western Hanover mare Heathers Western, who was a Pink Bonnet winner. Betting Line already has three well performed siblings from other sires – All Or None (2006 mare, $225,053) by Cams Card Shark, Full Picture (2007 mare, $581,876) by Artsplace, and  JK Folly (2011 mare, $176,872) by Art Major. A mare that can produce quality foals like that from a range of sires – two siring lines in common, to be sure – is a sign of a really good broodmare.

Betting Line’s grandam is Santastic, a Camtastic mare. If that rings bells, she is the dam of Santastic’s Pan who has stood at stud in Australia for many years. In fact I am sure he was at the same Little Brown Jug day when Mr Feelgood won – and if I recall, he was a winner there of the Jug Preview and I had a bet on him because I was a Camtastic fan at the time! Just checking on Santastic’s Pan siring stats in Australia, I see he has had 66 foals for 35 starters and 22 winners, but these are dribbled over 8 breeding seasons and the most mares he’s ever had in a season is 23. But those results are not disgraceful from such limited opportunities, and it is interesting to see some of his best are from In The Pocket mares, much like Camtastic himself. It’s interesting that both Betterthancheddar and Betting Line are both sons of Bettor’s Delight that carry Camtastic in their maternal lines.

This is a really strong family and if you use the Classic Families pedigree option to show X factor individuals, you will see Santastic’s maternal line is chock full of good things. So if Betting Line (who I think is a colt) ends up down here as a sire in future, I think he will a better chance of showing off his strong maternal foundation.



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Casie Coleman, your horse still runs damn fast! even on my slow computer! Congratulations!

Most days I love living rural in New Zealand and therefore having the scraps of broadband coverage.

But sometimes I really find it frustrating.

Little Brown Jug day –  my favourite day (which I attended when Mr Feelgood won it.)

But seeing it, catching up on it this year from Cambridge New Zealand is so difficult, and in the end I gave up.

These big North American races or the big European races are still hard to follow for those of us who have to work around other parts of our lives and can only get poor internet coverage of the events in rural NZ.  For the harness racing journalists here it is easy. But  I work full time and live semi rurally on a realistic budget, so  “live streaming” or watching race replays later that evening or even posting up my blogs, are dependent on my wifi broadband connection from a semi-rural location.

Even getting into Google is iffy, and the connections are as slow as “dial up” many times of the day.

In real terms this means I have yet to see any decent video of the Little Brown Jug, without constant stopping of the race to download the next part which totally disrupts the flow of the race. “Downloading” can be a long loop.

Which means in practical terms, I am sitting at my computer sometimes physically holding my T stick into the ether to catch the “wind” of our service provider aka Telecom. “Ello, ‘ello? anything there???”

It’s hard to feel the excitement of a very exciting day when everything is in slow-mo.

Casie, when Vegas Vacation stopped for several seconds in the race and did so many times –  so did ALL the other horses in the race, so I think that was okay, right?? – It’s a problem at our end, not yours!

Perhaps we need more “horse power” out here!! (Ok I know you have sent Betterthancheddar down here and I think that might help!)

P.S. Resistance Futile, Little Brown Jug heat winner, is a son of Capelo Rose who is a Camluck daughter of former superstar New Zealand mare Tuepelo Rose. Resistance Futile is her third foal. Her second foal is Marcepello Rose (Mach Three) who is the winner of $558,953 (1-51.3). However he broke in final when appearing to improve wide under pressure and came last.

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2012 Little Brown Jug winner Michaels Power had all the racing and pedigree credentials to win the Little Brown Jug but flew a little under the radar, mainly I think because he has predominantly raced in Canada and therefore has not been in the face of the US fans (particularly the New Jersey/New York scene)  in the same way that Rocknroll Dance and Bolt The Duer were. Likewise for me it was Michaels who? and quite a bit of googling to find out more.

Taking nothing away from the horse, he made the most of great draws in both heats and used his great early speed to get and keep the lead in the final, while Rocknroll Dance, for example, was parked out (as we call it) by Sweet Lou on that 25.5 blistering first quarter, and then caught three back on the rail for much of the rest of the race. Others were forced to come wide – Bettor’s Edge showing guts to move up wide to take third. Bolt The Duer was scratched from the final.

Michaels Power was a bit of a “dark horse”, accumulating reputation and money mainly in Canada’s top age races and outside the main limelight, but proving to be consistent and very, very smart. As trainer  Casie Coleman is quoted as saying:

“Up until we won the Confederation Cup and entered the Jug, this horse got absolutely no press whatsoever,” said Coleman. “I have never seen a horse make a million dollars so quietly.”

Of most interest to me was discovering that Michaels Power’s grandam Jef’s Magic Trick is the dam of Cam’s Card Shark. What a family this is turning out to be!

Michaels Power’s dam is the Artsplace mare Michelles Jackpot who won $695,439, and is a half sister to Cam’s Card Shark. She’s a 100 per cent producer, including two other $500,000-plus winners — American-bred Michaels Marvel, who banked $810,412, and Camluck daughter Michelles Power, who earned $1.38 million in her career. So Michaels Power is not flash in the pan.

Jef’s Magic Trick is setting up a very nice reputation:

JEFS MAGIC TRICK p, 2, 2:02f -’81 ($28,340) 2 wins, by B GS BUNNY p, 3, 1:54. From 14 foals, dam of 10 winners(3 in 1:53, 5 in 1:55, 8 in 1:57, 9 in 1:59) including-
CAMS CARD SHARK (h, Cam Fella) p, 2, 1:55.2, 3, 1:50 -’94 ($2,498,204) 20 wins.
MICHELLES JACKPOT (m, Artsplace) p, 2, 1:54.4f -’96 ($695,439) 9 wins. Winner of 1996 HTA Nova Award for Two Year Old Pacing Fillies and 1996 USHWA Dan Patch Award for Two Year Old Pacing Fillies. At 2, winner of Breeders Crown elim at Mohawk, Int’l Stallion S. div at The Red Mile, Lou Babic Memorial final at Freehold, Molly Pitcher S. div at Freehold, Three Diamonds S. elim at Garden State Park, final at Garden State Park; second in Breeders Crown final at Mohawk, Sweetheart Pace elim at The Meadowlands; third in Bluegrass S. at The Red Mile, La Paloma S. final at Yonkers, Lou Babic Memorial elim at Freehold. At 3, winner of NJSS div at Freehold, div at The Meadowlands; second in Lady Maud S. elim at Yonkers, Miss NJ S. elim at The Meadowlands, final at The Meadowlands; third in Nadia Lobell S. elim at Garden State Park, NJSS div at Freehold, final at The Meadowlands, Tarport Hap S. leg at The Meadowlands. Dam of-

  • MICHELLES POWER p, 2, 1:52.2s, 3, 1:50.1s -’07 ($1,287,400).
  • MICHAELS POWER p, 2, 1:55.2s, 3, 1:49.2s -’12 ($1,196,056).
  • MICHAELS MARVEL p, 2, 1:53.1, 3, 1:52.2, 1:49.3f -’07 ($794,068).
  • MILLIONAIRE CAM p, 2, 1:51.2s -’08 ($177,494).
  • LUCKY JACKPOT p, 2, 1:57.2s, 3, 1:55s -’04 ($146,573).
  • ROCKNROLL JACKPOT p, 3, 1:56.4h, 4, 1:54.4h -’11 ($53,524).
  • BIGTIME JACKPOT p, 2, 2:00.1f, 1:59.4f -’09 ($31,148).
  • MICHELLES PRAYER p, 2, 1:57s -’07 ($28,518).
  • MIKES JACKPOT p, 3, Q1:57.4s -’03 ($19,204).
  • MICHELLES LOVE p, 2, 2:03h, 3, 1:57.2f -’02 ($17,602).
  • Alexas Jackpot. Now 2.

CAMS MAGIC TRICK (h, Cam Fella) p, 2, 1:55f, 3, 1:52.4f -’93 ($469,899) 13 wins.
DIRECT CURRENT (h, Direct Scooter) p, 2, 1:58.1, 3, 1:57f, 1:54.2 -’90 ($378,403) 32 wins. Exported to Ireland.
BRITTS BEST (g, Troublemaker) p, 3, Q1:56.1f -’89 ($221,381) 17 wins.
CAMS TRICKSTER (h, Cam Fella) p, 2, 1:56.3, 3, 1:52.2 ($59,350) 8 wins. At 3, winner of Trendsetter II Series div at The Meadowlands.
MAGIC OF MICHELLE (m, Presidential Ball) p, 3, 1:56f -’02 ($17,514) 4 wins. As Above.
TWIST IN THE WIND (h, Storm Damage) p, 3, 2:00h, 4, 1:57.3f -’96 ($16,584) 9 wins.
Colonels Orderly (h, Direct Scooter) p, ($9,927).
ARTS CARD TRICK (h, Artsplace) p, 2, Q2:04.1h, 3, 1:56.2 -’04 ($5,657) 3 wins.
Cam Magic (m, Cam Fella) p, 2, 2:06.2h, 3, 2:04.1h ($3,639) 2 wins.
Michelles Destiny (m, Artsplace) p, ($408).
Carta Final (m, Camluck)
Feel The Wind (g, Storm Damage) p, 2, 1:54.3. At 2, second in NY Fair S. div at The Syracuse Mile; third in NYSS div at Monticello. At 3, third in NYSS div at Monticello.

In his chapter on Cam’s Card Shark, John Bradley (Modern Pacing Sire Lines, 1999) has this to say about Jef’s Magic Trick and her maternal line:

Cam’s Card Shark comes from the maternal family known as Macketta or Maud (by Trombone). This family has several major branches and they seem to be improving over time, especially in this one particular branch that includes Cam’s Card Shark. …The B.G.’s Bunny mare Jef’s Magic Trick….has been an incredible producer with six sub-1.55 performers and five $200,000 winners among her nine winners from 10 foals.

Bradley goes on to point out three of her top sons were by Cam Fella

But this mare has also proved she can do it without Cam Fella, which means, to me, that she is a very prepotent mare.

Bradley notes that

The stallion Overtrick may be playing a significant part in the success of this cross [with Cam Fella]. His daughters proved to be outstanding broodmares and were particularly effective when bred to Albatross. Jef’s Magic Trick is the result of a son of Albatross [B.G.’s Bunny] being crossed with an Overtrick mare. Another interesting example of crossing Cam Fella with mares carrying Overtrick blood is the fastest Standardbred ever, Cambest… whose third dam is by Overtrick.

Michaels Power is a son of Camluck, so the family’s successful link with the Cam Fella line continues. Camluck (a Canadian based sire) also brings to the match a very strong  maternal line, with a dam who was a very tough fast race mare and a forgotten grandamsire Truluck who was a very successful 2yo star himself.

For those readers who have kept with me on this rather long analysis of this Little Brown Jug winner, you may well be thinking – ah yes, but what about the failure at stud of Cam’s Card Shark’s brother, Cam’s Trickster, who stood at stud in New Zealand from 1993 to 2000 for the final tally of 164 winners from over 600 foals as a sire, (but perhaps a little more impressively can claim 77 winners to date as a damsire, seeing many owners would not have kept or bred his mares to top stallions).

Yes, it is another example of excellent families with brothers or half brothers that perform so well on the track but where perhaps only one can make the transition as a successful sire in his own right. Check out the articles Ray Chaplin and I wrote about Rich N Elegant’s famous sons at stud as another example. The transition depends on many factors, including the broodmare gene pool the stud can access – and maybe in the era that Cam’s Trickster stood here he did not have access to the number of quality mares that his brother (in fact brothers) did in North America. Looking at the list of broodmare sires of Cam Trickster’s progeny, we may still have been putting our tough, heavier built mares to him when, as I have said previously Cam Fella line sires need constant injection of speed genes.  But more likely, it is also a fact that a prepotent sire is a rare beast, and full brothers do not share identical genetic, temperamental or physical attributes – they are not clones.

So Cam’s Trickster’s failure at stud is neither exceptional nor unexpected (in hindsight).  And it appears some of his mares are proving reasonable broodmares when given a chance with quality compatible sires.

However Cam’s Trickster’s full brother Cam’s Card Shark is, of course, a different story. His success as a sire of racehorses and in future as a sire of sires is gathering momentum.

Check out his impressive list of $1million plus progeny: (currently)

SHARK GESTURE $2,818,021
ROLL WITH JOE $1,805,102
VILLAGE JOLT $1,634,220
SHARKY SPUR $1,004,618

Some are already making it as sires. Shark Gesture was available in New Zealand last season (2012) at Wai Eyre Farm and served 57 mares but isn’t back again this year – his early crops are showing signs of success. Four Starzzz Shark has been available here as frozen semen for a few years but only had a very small number of foals and is doing ok in the US but also with small numbers; Riverboat King stood here for some years and is a sire that probably was oversold on the speed he had himself and therefore may have fallen into the same trap as other sires who attracted mares who were not contributing much in that department themselves – he is now standing in Australia and has produced some very nice performers, and in the US where his foals include the $1.8million mare Anndrovette.

But really the star for Cam’s Card Shark is Bettor’s Delight – an exceptional sire. Roll With Joe and Classic Card Shark ( classy racehorses and BD’s full brothers) are being given the opportunity to prove they can match the family credentials as sires.

Michaels Power, however, won’t have the opportunity at stud that his ‘uncle’ Cam’s Card Shark has had – because Michaels Power is a gelding.

Cam’s Card Shark himself is in his early 20’s now and in the 2012 breeding season was withdrawn from service:

“Cams Card Shark suffered a scrotal hernia. He had surgery last Tuesday (April 17) and had his right testicle and several feet of small intestine removed,” Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky explained. “He is recovering well, back to eating his full feed and we hope to bring him home to Hanover Shoe Farms tomorrow (Thursday, April 26) if he has a good night tonight.” Trot Insider has learned that Cams Card Shark will not be collected again this season, but his connections are hoping that the stud recovers completely and is able to breed in 2013.

Cam’s Card Shark is already turning up as a damsire of very good horses, including the Little Brown Jug third placegetter to Mr Feelgood, Armbro Deuce, in 2006 – now at stud.

And talking of damsires, if anyone was particularly interested in the reference to Overtrick in this blog, I am hoping to persuade New Zealand breeder Tony Dickinson to give me some of his views about this underrated damsire in a future blog.

All comments, always, welcome.

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Only a week to go to the Little Brown Jug!

Six years ago I was on track to see Mr Feelgood win the Jug. This post and the next one tomorrow are a ‘tip o’ the hat’ to that wonderful event and to a wonderful horse – who is now tackling his next challenge, to become a successful sire.

Bee Pears alongside the Little Brown Jug

Bee Pears alongside the Little Brown Jug

2006, a fine but cool late September day in Delaware, Ohio. The wind on track made me buy a souvenir polar fleece jacket to keep warm.

We found our online-purchased “seats” in the grandstand, indicated by numbers painted along the narrow benches at spacings which were optimistically close. Luckily our ‘neighbours’ were Don and his friend, great guys who,  like many at the Little Brown Jug,  booked the same seats each year, a tradition. Don was informative and friendly, and kept an eye on our gear and seats while we went exploring.

Kym Kearns with our friendly Little Brown Jug neighbour Don.

The Little Brown Jug is two days of experience I’ll never forget – and definitely recommend. It is a huge meeting – about 50,000 people descend on the small town of Delaware for the Grand Circuit Racing County Fair that features the Jugette (for 3yo fillies) on the first day and the Jug (for 3yo colts) on the second day, some other good stakes races and a lot of local fields.

The atmosphere is like a Motukarara Gold Nuggets day but 50 times bigger. It’s laid back, but electric. It’s country, not town. It’s casual, but incredibly well organised. Go to their website and you can tell that it retains an identity which avoids the sophisticated PR promotion you might expect for such a big occasion.

It is a great tradition – and a lot of fun.

You can walk all around the half mile oval – on the side opposite the grandstand, the back stretch, is an area where people have their own deck chairs – you get a great view of the horses coming out onto the track, and it is a popular social area. Hot dogs, burgers and goulash-type meals dominate the food hall area under the main grandstand and dotted around the course. Many of those attending stay in motorhomes parked in the county fair grounds – which would have been a better and cheaper option in hindsight than the Delaware hotel we booked in advance.

I wasn’t a close follower of North American racing, so many of the Jug elimination heat participants in 2006 were just names to me – but of course they are more familiar now – Jereme’s Jet, Armbro Deuce, Total Truth (all sires now),  and of course the eventual winner of the Jug, Mr Feelgood. Also racing on Jug and Jugette days – and winning – were Ponder, a very classy performance in 1.49, and the very good Bettor’s Delight 2yo filly Isabella Blue Chip (a US$40,000 yearling purchase who went on to earn just under US$800,000) and Bettor’s Delight Jugette winner Eternity’s Delight, who was owned by well known American breeders/owners Jules and Arlene Siegel – and it is worth quoting Jules Siegel on the Little Brown Jug as an event:

The Jug is a throwback to what racing was and should be today. The Delaware County Fair is the most exciting event in (harness) racing. My wife and I bring guests to Delaware each year who are not even involved in harness racing and they enjoy the racing as much as we do. Everything about Delaware is a credit to the sport.

Little Brown Jug 2006

Big crowds, big excitement at the Little Brown Jug
Photo: Bee Pears

The county fair is in Ohio, which is a backwater in terms of top level racing and breeding, apart from this event. It is, however, a state where many bread and butter horses are bred and raced, with its own yearling sales (which we went to, and noticed the quality of the Pegasus Spur yearlings), and a number of sires standing locally or nearby who are not in the top league but popular and affordable for the state breeders. So the large proportion of horses competing over the 2-day county fair meeting have breeding much less familiar to us than that of the horses in the Jug, Jugette and other $50,000 plus stakes race fields on the day. These local sires in 2006 included Nobleland Sam, Stand Forever and Precious Bunny for pacers, and Master Lavec and Ilooklikemymom for the trotters.

In New Zealand we place high value on the Little Brown Jug as a true test of qualities we like to see in a sire – toughness, speed and heart (they race twice within the same afternoon, with three elimination heats producing the nine horses for the final, all over a mile of course and the tight half mile Delaware track). Some winners we admire in Australia and New Zealand include Armbro Operative, Fake Left, Life Sign and Bettor’s Delight, while more recent Jug winners in our siring ranks include P-Forty Seven, Shadow Play, Well Said, Rock N Roll Heaven and now Mr Feelgood.

On Jug day in 2006 we watched Mr Feelgood take out his elimination and then the final in grand style. In the final he was sitting behind Armbro Deuce on a fast pace that stretched the rest of the field, then came off the back of the leader as he started to tire, and blasted to the front with only Cactus Creek looking vaguely dangerous.

I have to confess my money was on 14.2h Doonbeg from Toronto, a very small horse with incredible ability who came last in the final, but has gone on to a fascinating career in Britain (in 2010 breaking the world record for the fastest mile on a track LESS than half a mile).

Of interest, Jereme’s Jet never made it to the final, having been burned in a 25.4 first quarter speed duel with Armbro Deuce in his elimination heat (the third heat) , so that makes Armbro Deuce’s performance for second in his elim and third in the final even more remarkable given the short timespan between those two races.

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle 2006

Mr Feelgood in the winners circle, 2006 Little Brown Jug
Photo: Bee Pears

Mr Feelgood is a class act – he was on that day, and he has continued to be so in achieving outstanding results in two different hemispheres – with two different styles of racing over different distances.

The qualities that allowed him to win the Jug are the same qualities that enabled him to win the InterDominion Final and the Hunter Cup in Australia as a 6yo, and heats of the Interdominion at 8 and 9 years old. (See summary of his racing record)

The training feat by Jim Takter (USA), Anthony Butt (NZ) and then John McCarthy (Australia) played a large part in maintaining the will to win and soundness of Mr Feelgood over such a long and varied racing career.

In the next blog, I look at Mr Feelgood’s attributes as a sire – and share some frank observations and stories from John Coffey of Alabar Australia, where Mr Feelgood is standing.

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