Larger Than Life

What is Somebeachsomewhere’s legacy a year after his death?

story by Kimberly French

When the news broke on Jan. 14, 2018, that superstar racehorse and stallion Somebeachsomewhere had been euthanized, the sport went into a state of shock. Although it had been announced earlier, in November, that the 13-year-old was being treated for cancer, the initial prognosis did not appear to be immediately dire.

After a year to reflect upon his death, what is Somebeachsomewhere’s place in history? And how long will it be before another horse like him comes along?

“What he did on the racetrack was spectacular,” said Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, farm manager and resident veterinarian for Hanover Shoe Farms. “It was not just his record, but how he did it and the horses he defeated. Shadow Play was a very, very good horse. Their race in the Messenger in the driving rain was one of the very best races I have ever seen.

“We always have high expectations for our stallions and also hope to see them hit it out of the park right out of the gate, but what he was able to do on the track and then in the breeding shed is extremely rare.”

Conditioned and co-owned by Brent MacGrath, Somebeachsomewhere (Mach Three – Wheres The Beach – Beach Towel), was purchased for $40,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale by the six-member Schooner Stables of Bible Hill, Nova Scotia, in 2006.

Steered throughout his career by Paul MacDonell, Somebeachsomewhere earned $3,221,299 on the track in 2007 and 2008, winning 20 of 21 starts and equaling an all-age world record of 1:46.4 as a sophomore at Red Mile. His lone loss was by a neck to Art Official after he established scorching fractions in the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace.

Somebeachsomewhere shared the Canadian Horse of the Year award in 2007 with Tell All, and was named the Horse of the Year in both Canada and the United States in 2008. He was syndicated and retired to Hanover Shoe Farms that same year.

Somebeachsomewhere was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2015, and had already sired the winners of more than $84.6 million at the time of his death, with just six crops of racing age. That figure currently stands at $106.7 million.

He was second among all pacing sires in progeny earnings in 2016 with more than $20 million earned by his offspring. He was the leading pacing stallion in 2017. His progeny earned $23.9 million in 2017, which is a single-season record for a Standardbred stallion. Last year, his offspring collected $22.4 million. That is second only to Bettor’s Delight ($23.2 million) and is even more impressive considering Somebeachsomewhere had 449 starters from 802 foals that year to Bettor’s Delight’s 610 starters from 1,542 foals.

Those two stallions far outdistance their competition, as American Ideal checks in third with $14.2 million from 430 starters and 913 foals.

“It is incredible to see what he has accomplished as a stallion,” Jablonsky said. “You would watch stakes races where five of the eight horses in a field were sired by him. Although his mares are still young, they are off to a tremendous start as broodmares. We are fortunate to have added several of his daughters to our broodmare band over the past few years.”
Somebeachsomewhere is the broodmare sire of 13 lifetime $100,000 winners, with total progeny earnings of $4.5 million. As a broodmare sire, his top performer is Dan Patch Award winner and world champion Youaremycandygirl ($1,445,648), but more champions are sure to arrive as a greater number of his daughters enter the broodmare ranks.

“We were also fortunate enough to have some of his frozen semen,” Jablonsky said. “We have 14 mares in foal to him, so we will have his last full crop to sell this year, then another very small crop for next year.

“Do we know if he will be a sire of sires? Well, we have Captaintreacherous and Stay Hungry here. Captain could not be off to a better start, so we are obviously excited for his future, as well as Stay Hungry’s, but will anyone take Somebeachsomewhere’s place? Having Captaintreacherous and Stay Hungry helps, but his stall is still empty and a huge hole remains here.”

Despite the natural proclivities of his gender, Somebeachsomewhere was quite the gentleman to be around.

“He was a stallion and they can be pretty tough to deal with,” Jablonsky said. “But he was just a very nice horse. Captaintreacherous behaves much like he did, although Captain is more of a nipper. Beach was just a well-mannered horse, although he did have a stubborn side.

“He loved being turned out in his paddock and he liked to be around people. He loved treats, espe-cially carrots, and anytime anyone would come to the farm, he would always come to the fence to see what was going on. He wanted to see if anyone had anything for him.”

A member of Somebeachsomewhere’s first crop, Captaintreacherous not only mirrors his sire in appearance and personality, but also in his exploits on the racetrack and in his first years in the breeding shed.

Owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Syndicate and trained by Tony Alagna during his career, the stallion is out of Worldly Treasure who is a full sister to two-time Dan Patch Award winner Worldly Beauty. As a racehorse, he was the first freshman to pace four sub-1:50 miles and the first horse to be named Pacer of the Year as a 2- and 3-year-old since Niatross.

He was syndicated and retired after struggling with respiratory issues as a 4-year-old with a 1:47.1 mark, $3,148,657 in the bank and one O’Brien Award, as well as four Dan Patch Awards.

So how does the stallion compare to his prolific sire after his first crop hit the track in 2018?

Like his sire, he has a Breeders Crown victor in Captain Crunch (1:49.1, $616,113) in his first crop, and actually leads his sire as the leading money-winning sire of 2-year-olds in 2018 with progeny earnings of $3.3 to $2.7 million.
However, he lags far behind his sire’s first-year totals. Somebeachsomewhere was responsible for 113 starters who amassed $23,457,453, but his son had only 83 starters.

While the stallion is off to a tremendous start, for him—or any other horse—to fill his sire’s shoes remains an extremely tall task.

“I might not see another horse in my lifetime that has had the type of impact on the breed that Beach has had,” Jablonsky said. “He was so superb in both areas, with more of his offspring still to come, so we will not truly know the full results of his legacy until the future.

“It does help to care for Captaintreacherous and Stay Hungry, but pain from his loss remains. It took me more than six months to talk about him and not become emotional. He was such a special horse and it was such a shock. I take comfort that he is buried here on the farm right across the road from my office and I can look out to his grave each day. Also—and I think his owners feel the same way—although his life was short, he was well cared for and loved for all of it. I think he was a happy horse and thoroughly enjoyed his time here.” HB

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