The tools are all there for Pennsylvania's newest stallion, Heston Blue Chip, to become one of harness racing's top sires.
Heston Blue Chip is the richest son of American Ideal and a full brother to millionaire Sunfire Blue Chip. His racing career saw him earn over $1.7 million with multiple stakes wins and a Dan Patch Award at age three. His young stallion career has been productive as well, highlighted by last year's second richest two-year-old filly pacer Zero Tolerance ($485,813). Heston Blue Chip's first crop is now three.
The resume was so impressive that it attracted Let It Ride Stables’ Eric Cherry to jump on the bandwagon.
"This year I’m breeding around 40 mares and last year I bred close to 30," Cherry explained. "I started looking at Heston Blue Chip and he checked off every box. On the maternal side, he is from the same family as Rockin Image, Tellitlikeitis, Rockin Amadeus, Kissin In The Sand and the list goes on." As a son of America Ideal, Heston Blue Chip is able to cross well with several stallion lines.
Heston Blue Chip's racing career hit the ground at full speed, as he won 11 of 13 starts, including seven New York Sire Stakes events and the Matron Final at Dover Downs. It was his three-year-old season, however, that ‘Heston’ stamped himself as a true force in the sport.
After a few NYSS wins to kick off his sophomore campaign, Heston Blue Chip was set to take on Grand Circuit competition. After a winning performance in his Meadowlands Pace elimination in 1:49, he finished a closing fourth in one of the deepest fields in ‘Pace’ history (A Rocknroll Dance, Sweet Lou, Thinking Out Loud, Pet Rock, Bolt The Duer, State Treasurer, etc.). He would avenge that loss later in the year with victories in his Breeders Crown elimination and the subsequent final at Woodbine. He also went on to win the Progress Pace and the Matron Final (1:48 life's best) for the second straight year. He went on to win 14 of 18 starts as a three-year-old and earned more than $1 million during the season.
Heston Blue Chip not only made his mark on the racetrack, but in the hearts of the horsemen and women that knew him best. "Heston was an incredible horse with a big beautiful gait that could get around all size tracks," said regular driver Tim Tetrick. "He was a kitten to drive and could race on the front or off the pace. He was slick off the gate and loved to win races. He was just a great horse."
Trainer Linda Toscano has often referred to the horse as a gentle giant with a kind and nice demeanour. Toscano was recently inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2018.
Heston Blue Chip finished his racing career with 34 wins – he is now looking to spread that success to his sons and daughters. If his limited first crop is any indication, Heston may soon become a top stallion in the Keystone State.
"Heston's yearlings are great looking yearlings! They are nice and leggy with good size. His yearlings are well balanced with good conformation and good heads. They look like track stars," said James Ladwig, Winbak Farm’s yearling manager. Pennsylvania is known throughout harness racing for their lucrative breeder's awards.
Eric Cherry, one of harness racing's biggest investors, is banking on it. "I have a lot of high hopes for this horse. I think he is going to hold his own plus."
(With files from Post Time with Mike and Mike)