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Dean Hoffman's Blog


I love those baby pix!

Published: March 14, 2009 10:10 am ET

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Nothing says spring to a horse breeder more than the sight of a newborn foal gamboling on the green grass. Well, maybe we don't have green grass yet, but there are foals here and there and I love to see the photos that breeders take of them.

Maybe it's a lot like photos of small kids---it's hard to take a bad photo of a young foal. And each newborn foal embodies the eternal optimism of the horse breeder because every breeder sees a future champion in a young foal.

Each foal is indeed a future champion or owners wouldn't bother to pay all the bills on them, make all the stakes nominations, and invest all those dreams in them.

Recently I was sent a photo of a foal by a high-profile stallion whose foals have yet to race. The person sending it to me liked the foal so much and indicated that such a picture-perfect foal bodes well for the stallion's success.

I'm not so sure about that. Yes, it was a nice-looking foal, but that basically means nothing. This year there will be thousands of picture-perfect foals on farms on farms in North America. How many will be top horses? Darn few.

Many years ago I worked at Stoner Creek Stud in Kentucky. We had a standout foal by a prominent stallion whose foals had yet to race. Everyone liked him and felt that such an individual indicated that the young stallion could be a monster hit.

Wrong. The handsome foal was basically a dud and his sire seemed to specialize in siring duds. That taught me that handsome is as handsome does in harness racing. The colt had great looks but little ability.

Actually, that same lesson was everywhere to be seen at Stoner Creek. We had only two pacing stallions: Henry T. Adios and Meadow Skipper. Henry T sired wonderful foals with great balance and bodies and the Meadow Skippers came in every size, shape and form. When placed in training, the Henry T's raced down to about 2:02 and hung there while the Meadow Skippers raced down to 2:02 and then found another gear or two.

Still, I love those foal pix. They're a rite of spring in the horse business.

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