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Full Circle For Final 'Beach' Foals

Published: November 21, 2020 12:36 pm ET

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Fourteen years after starting the journey of a lifetime with a Mach Three yearling colt that forever altered the landscape of the Standardbred breed, Brent MacGrath will aim to taste even just a fraction of the success he and his co-owners experienced with the late, great Somebeachsomewhere as his final crop of yearlings recently entered and exited the sales ring.

Somebeachsomewhere lost his battle to cancer in January 2018, before that year's breeding season started. Somebeachsomewhere bred a select group of mares via artificial insemination thanks to frozen semen that wasn't actually located until after the horse's passing. A total of 20 foals were conceived from those breedings, with 12 of those yearlings selling at the recently-concluded Standardbred Horse Sales Co.'s Black Book sale in Timonium, Md. Five sold at the 2020 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale in October and the remaining three were not sold publicly. Those three yearlings not offered for sale are all owned by members of the original Somebeachsomewhere ownership group.

"It was a difficult thing to do; maximize the opportunity with the semen," Somebeachsomewhere's trainer Brent MacGrath told Trot Insider after the Black Book Sale concluded. "'Beach' died on the 13th of January, and he had a cancer operation before that and had about 50 mares booked to him. They [Hanover] had all their mares booked, and [Hanover's Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky] was not aware there was frozen semen available.

"When we found out what we had [in terms of frozen semen], she was scrambling around to get a little bit of quality, and she had little experience with frozen semen," MacGrath continued. "We were concerned about pulling the absolute best mares she has available to breed to 'Beach' with frozen semen that she's not experienced with. That, and many of Hanover's mares had already been bred. We didn't have the frozen semen ready to go until about April."

MacGrath gave Bridgette and the team at Hanover credit for assembling a selection of broodmares befitting a horse of Somebeachsomewhere's status and subsequently obtaining successful breeding given the absolutely gut-wrenching circumstances.

"Bridgette did a remarkable job getting the results with the limited straws available. Some people were critical of the quality, but to me, she did a fantastic job."

A foal-sharing agreement was reached between members of Schooner Stables and Hanover. "The agreement was they raise them, look after them and they go to the sale. It worked out very well; it was a good deal for us and Hanover. Bridgette did as good a job as any person could possibly do.

"Bridgette kept me in the loop on their development on a regular basis. I did see them a year ago at Harrisburg — I mean, they were babies. And I got the reports on them as she graded them all along."

MacGrath had his eye most focused on three of the Somebeachsomewhere yearlings that went through the Black Book Sale. He successfully obtained two. The one that got away was Frozen Hanover, a full brother to the speedy $1.9 million winner Filibuster Hanover. He was purchased by Determination for $325,000.

Just like their sire, William Hanover and Ipanema Hanover will be making Truro, N.S. home. William Hanover is a Somebeachsomewhere colt and the first foal out of the Well Said mare Well Whats New, a sister to $835,000 winner JK Will Power from the family of Breeders Crown winner Molly Can Do It. He was a $75,000 yearling.

Ipanema Hanover was collared for $250,000 after some spirited bidding, making her the highest priced yearling filly from the sire's 2020 yearling crop. MacGrath noted that she was a "gorgeous filly" and comes from the family of millionaire Newborn Sassy while being a full sibling to a pair of sub-1:50 performers in Inverse Hanover ($366,451) and Closing Statement ($401,254).

"We weren't alone," MacGrath noted in reference to the sale prices. "I actually thought the colt would fo for a little more and she would go for a little less. At the end of the day, we're very happy with we've got....We bid on three and got two of them. The one we didn't get, Determination got for $325,000. Those yearlings were our three choices."

In addition to the two yearlings obtained at the Black Book Sale, MacGrath also has a homebred Somebeachsomewhere colt named Beach Glass that wasn't entered in any of the 2020 yearling sales.

"We have a gorgeous colt of our own that we raised out of Im With Her -- she's the last filly from Hattie, the dam of Hyperion Hanover, Holborn Hanover. He's a very nice individual out of her by 'Beach' we used some of our frozen semen to get him. He's still in Pennsylvania, broke and jogging, and will be home in a couple of weeks."

There's a flip side to this story, and it definitely hits close to home for MacGrath. One of the homebred fillies from the final crop of Somebeachsomewhere is Sableisland Beach, and she was diagnosed with cancer. MacGrath indicated that she's headed back to Nova Scotia to try to train but it's hard to be optimistic when that same fate felled the sire nearly three years ago.

"We didn't think we'd be in this position -- I always planned to step up and buy a couple of [Somebeachsomewhere yearlings]; I just didn't think that we would be forced to act this year. Most stallions breed until they're 25 or 30, and given how healthy he'd been his whole life, I thought he would be one of them. But, some things you can't do anything about. That's one of them, so we're making the best of the situation we're in."

Such is the case as well with The Legacy Hanover. Previously announced as the final foal of Somebeachsomewhere, The Legacy Hanover doesn't appear as part of the sire's 2019 foal crop. The foal is alive, but the parental verification of her DNA found a different sire -- Captaintreacherous. An injury precluded the yearling from being sold at auction.

As the attention shifts from procurement to development, MacGrath -- like many horsemen this time of year -- sees opportunity and the dreams of success in every stall. While some might think his yearlings have big horseshoes to fill, the longtime participant knows just how rare it would be for the lightning bolt of superstardom to strike twice. That said, many would have considered it a longshot for tiny Truro, N.S. to have that lightning strike there even once.

"Hopefully we'll have some luck and we can get a little power. We like what we have so far, but everybody does this time of year. I'm very happy with the two that we bought for sure, and the one that we raised as well. Hopefully, we have a shot at training a couple of nice babies and seeing how we make out."

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