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‘Beach’s Impact On The Industry

Published: January 16, 2018 11:58 am ET

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Even though it feels as though more time has passed, the North American harness racing industry is just two days removed from the humane euthanization of the great Somebeachsomewhere, who, at the age of 13, was taken too soon after a brief fight with cancer.

‘Beach’s co-owning former trainer, Brent MacGrath, has been fielding calls left right and centre since the tragic developments transpired this past weekend, all while trying to deal with the passing of one of the greatest Standardbreds to ever parade onto a racetrack or step into a breeding shed, where his impacts have already spoken for themselves, and then some.

It would be more than understandable if MacGrath wouldn’t be able to properly articulate his feelings on the subject at the moment, given the freshness of the life-changing situation. Although, the Nova Scotia-based trainer has seemingly been able to succinctly convey the sentiment of the everyday horsemen when it comes to what has been lost with the passing of a true icon of the sport.

“He brought the mainstream media into the fold,” MacGrath has told the Chronicle Herald. “He got exposure for harness racing like no other horse has, and he gave a boost to the horsemen-side of the industry itself, in that, you know, a little guy can get a good horse, and you don’t have to go out and break the bank to get a good horse, and that an experienced small-time trainer from Truro, Nova Scotia can train a world champion.”

MacGrath’s comments were not over the top. Somebeachsomewhere did not himself have the power to bring the entire Canadian Standardbred racing industry back to the zenith of the sporting and gaming realms, but, accurately assessed by MacGrath, he gave it a good boost. “Did he (Somebeachsomewhere) do everything that’s needed? No. But the game is better because of him.”

In the days since Beach’s passing, some have wondered if some of his frozen semen was still available for breeding purposes. MacGrath answered those questions while in discussion with the Chronicle Herald.

“He bred 200 mares a year in Australia with frozen semen,” MacGrath explained. “It was about the maximum he could produce for North America and for Australia, so we didn’t have anything stored.”

MacGrath also said, in reference to Beach passing at such a young age, that, “he got cheated a bit, and the industry got cheated. [Standardbred stallions] usually breed into their 20s. It wasn’t what we were hoping for, but at the end of the day, we did everything we could do for him.”

Fellow Nova Scotia horsepeople have been asked to comment on Somebeachsomewhere’s passing – an event that has hit home even harder, given the local racing community’s strong connection and pride in the world beater.

“I watched him a lot from Day One, and trained him for a week,” veteran horseman Phil Pinkney has told The News. “He was one of those horses that was perfect. He was big, sound, healthy and had a good attitude. It was a pleasure sitting behind him.”

“(Somebeachsomewhere’s passing is) devastating for harness racing all over the world,” said Truro Raceway horseman Jamie Ramsay. “I saw him lots of times and watched him race. When Beach came around, people started coming back to the track. Everyone knows who he is, even if they’re not race fans. You just had to mention his name. He’s a celebrity.”

Anyone that has ever lost a horse, no matter the discipline, surely knows the emotional impact that follows soon after, and it’s a tough period, no doubt. MacGrath is doing what he can to keep moving forward, and he is hoping that one of Beach’s sons can help ease the pain of losing such a life-changing friend.

The son’s name is Beach Meadows, a two-year-old bay out of the Art Major mare DB Blue Chip. Beach Meadows is a full brother to Melmerby Beach, who was a Simcoe Stakes winner at age three and has since grinded out a very respectable career that includes 24 wins, $634,000 in purse earnings and a sharp mark of 1:47.3.

“I’m just getting him (Beach Meadows) started now,” MacGrath has said. “I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say I see his father, but I like him. So far, so good.”

In an effort to consolidate discourse on this topic, if you wish to leave a comment in regard to the passing of Somebeachsomewhere, please do so by clicking here.

(With files from the Chronicle Herald and The News)

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