The Mysteries of Maternity

Kikikatie’s brilliance as a broodmare cut short after just five foals

story by Kathy Parker

Speed may not be the sole measure of greatness that it once was, but when it comes to a broodmare’s production, it is still a benchmark for achievement. And Kikikatie has a singular distinction: She is the only broodmare to have every one of her foals—five in total—take a record of 1:50 or better. Only three other mares have even produced five offspring in 1:50, and it has taken them many more foals: Bolero Takara (12 foals), Double Creme (13 and bred in 2022) and Jated Love (12 and bred in ’22).

Kikikatie’s five 1:50 or faster foals are as follows:

  • Rockin Image p,3,1:48.2 ($901,756)
  • Grams Legacy p,4,1:50 ($240,648)
  • Time To Roll p,6,1:48.2 ($803,625)
  • Rockin Amadeus p,4,1:48.4f ($728,392)
  • Tellitlikeitis p,3,1:48.4s ($490,695)

Unfortunately, Kikikatie’s prolific production came to a halt after Tellitlikeitis was foaled in 2011. She was bred five times after carrying Tellitlikeitis but failed to produce another foal.

“At first, Kikikatie had foaling problems; then she could conceive, but struggled to carry the foal,” explained Dr. Moira Gunn, who was an advisor and reproductive veterinarian for Kikikatie’s owner, Susan Grange’s Lothlorien.

  1. Gunn became associated with Lothlorien during her time as president at Armstrong Bros. farm in Ontario. In 2005, Armstrong Bros. closed its doors after years as a major breeder of champion Standardbreds. At that same time, Lothlorien was not a breeder of Standardbreds. It was dedicated to horses competing in the show horse world at the Olympic level; a Lothlorien pupil won a silver medal for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Dr. Gunn first met Grange when she was called to perform embryo transfers on Lothlorien’s show horse broodmares.

Lothlorien purchased the 1,100-acre Armstrong Bros. property to ensure it remained a horse farm, but Grange’s first connection to harness racing and Standardbreds came via her parents, who owned Standardbreds. Grange’s mother, Audrey Campbell, shared ownership of 2005 Horse of the Year Rocknroll Hanover. When Rocknroll Hanover was beginning his career as a sire, Campbell retained an interest in the stallion.

“Sue decided she would go partners with her mother, who was 80 at the time, and they asked me to find them three or four quality mares,” recalled Dr. Gunn of Lothlorien’s step into the world of Standardbred breeding.

In the fall of 2006, Lothlorien purchased Kikikatie and several other broodmares to breed to Rocknroll Han-over, and “Katie” happened to be in foal to Rocknroll when she was purchased by Lothlorien. Kikikatie’s owners, Lee and Linda DeVisser, campaigned and still owned the stallion Jenna’s Beach Boy when Kikikatie was retired from racing, and while they bred her, they decided keeping up with broodmares and foals was too much for them.

“I just decided I was not going to keep going the broodmare route,” Lee recently recalled. “They accumulate, and then you have the babies, and then the yearlings, and you have more horses than you planned to have.”

Kikikatie made her last start on the track on July 13, 2005; she had been bred earlier that year to Western Hanover, but failed to catch and was put back in training. The following February, she was bred to Rocknroll Hanover and conceived on the first breeding. Dr. Gunn subsequently saw the mare that fall at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg and bought her for Lothlorien.

Back in the summer of 2004, Kikikatie, Rocknroll Hanover and Dr. Gunn might have crossed paths at Woodbine. Both horses competed in stakes at Woodbine on Aug. 28, 2004. Kikikatie finished second in the $543,543 Fan Hanover Stakes final—the race named after the top filly campaigned by longtime Armstrong executive Dr. Glen Brown, Dr. Gunn’s colleague for many years. Rocknroll Hanover took third in an elimination for the Metro, which he won the following week.

As a 3-year-old in 2004, Kikikatie competed in a very tough sophomore pacing filly class, which most notably included eventual Horse of the Year Rainbow Blue. With Rainbow Blue becoming the dominant filly in the division, Kikikatie didn’t have the kind of season she did as a 2-year-old, when she turned in two of her greatest performances—winning the She’s A Great Lady Pace after a tough stretch battle with Artbitration, and finishing second in the Breeders Crown after being caught at the wire by Pans Culottes.

She finished her dazzling freshman campaign with 14 straight wins in 15 starts and was voted the 2003 Dan Patch 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. Nevertheless, Kikikatie’s 3-year-old season included a win in the Mistletoe Shalee on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands—when Rainbow Blue was spooked by a trackside photographer—and concluded with $476,607 in earnings.

But at age four, Kikikatie struggled on the track. Joe Seekman trained the mare throughout her racing career and said the end of her days on the track came because of an injury, although he admitted his memory of something 17 years ago wasn’t great.

“I think she had a suspensory problem,” he said.

Seekman said Kikikatie was one of those tough fillies in the barn that on the track shows perfect manners—and a desire to be the best.

“She could kick you out of the cart jogging, but on the track she went about the business of racing without any of that,” he said.

As a daughter of Real Artist out of a Cam Fella mare, Kikikatie was the kind of match Dr. Gunn wanted to see for any mares Lothlorien bred to Rocknroll Hanover. Grange and her mother bought three broodmares for their joint Lothlorien venture: Kikikatie; another Cam Fella-line mare, the Camluck daughter Please Me Please p,1:51.2s ($756,238); and the Artsplace mare Belovedangel p,3,1:50.3 ($679,074). Kikikatie was the most expensive of the three, costing $500,000.

“For me, any time you are breeding, there are the physical attributes. Then you are matching the maternal line of the dam to the maternal line of the stallion,” said Dr. Gunn of the philosophy of breeding Kikikatie to Rocknroll Han-over and Well Said, sons of Western Ideal and his sire, Western Hanover, respectively.

“I really follow Norm Hall,” Dr. Gunn added, referencing the pedigree consultant based in Prince Edward Island. “Norm’s a retired engineer, and I had an hour appointment with him once that turned into an all-day thing. He’s really big into repeating patterns, and there is often more than one pattern.”

On Jan. 29, 2007, Kikikatie delivered a colt by Rocknroll Hanover. It turned out that the first foals of all three mares Lothlorien purchased in the fall of 2006 were colts. But of the three purchases, only Kikikatie produced any offspring that enjoyed success like their mother on the racetrack.

Following her mother’s death in 2007, Grange was interviewed about her future with Standardbreds.

“There’s obviously some sentimental value attached to these foals, because it was my mother and I that had this dream,” she said. “I mean, we bred them, we kept them here, we foaled them here, raised them. It’s fun to see what you produce.”

Lothlorien kept all of Kikikatie’s foals to race and entrusted them with trainer Jimmy Takter.

Takter remembers that all of Kikikatie’s foals—reviewed here in order of birth—were different. “Every one of them was totally different physically and mentally,” said Takter.

“Rockin Image was probably the horse that had the most ability of them all,” said Takter of the horse that won Grand Circuit stakes in back-to-back weeks at the Red Mile at age two before returning to the track at three and winning an elimination of the Meadowlands Pace. “He had a little breathing issue when he turned three. But he was great gaited.”

Rockin Image has carried Kikikatie’s blood into the breeding shed by becoming a top sire in Indiana. Now standing his 13th season at stud, his most successful offspring is undoubtedly 2015 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace champion Freaky Feet Pete.

Grams Legacy showed speed at age two, winning a baby race on June 10, 2010, and then taking a mark of 1:52 on July 3, but he made only five starts at age two and four at three.

“Maybe the fastest,” said Takter. “He had great ability. But he was so unpredictable. He made a lot of scary breaks. In one race, he jumped just at the wire as the winner and could have taken the entire field down. We castrated him (at age four) and nothing helped.”

Time To Roll made only three starts as a 2-year-old but took a mark of 1:51.2 at the Meadowlands on July 9, 2011; he was scratched from a race on July 30 and didn’t race again as a freshman. At age three, he raced 17 times, earned a mark of 1:50 and picked up his biggest purse check when he finished second in the $1.4 million Pepsi North America Cup, a half-length behind Thinking Out Loud.

“He was probably the one that had the least ability,” Takter said of Time To Roll, who stands at stud in Illinois. “He was a big horse.”

Kikikatie’s next foal was Rockin Amadeus, now best known as the sire of the Ohio champion Ocean Rock.

“He was a nice horse. A little bit like Time To Roll, but he had his one moment,” remembered Takter about the 2012 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace champion, winning over a field that included Captaintreacherous.

Kikikatie’s last foal was Tellitlikeitis, a son of Well Said, who Lothlorien campaigned on the track. Tellitlikeitis made 16 lifetime starts—eight as a 2-year-old and eight at age three. He finished second in the Pepsi North America Cup final and third in the Meadowlands Pace final but made his last career start prematurely, on Aug. 29 of his 3-year-old season.

“He was never a sound horse, but he had the biggest hearat of them all,” said Takter, adding that he couldn’t recall the issues the horse battled during his racing career. “He was so unsound you couldn’t train him.”

Tellitlikeitis is also standing at stud, in Indiana, and in 2022 he was one of the most popular pacing stallions in the state, breeding 113 mares.

Kikikatie failed to produce after Tsellitlikeitis in 2011. She was retired from breeding and living a simple life, in good health, in the fields at Lothlorien.

Rockin Image was foaled several months after Audrey Campbell died, but Sue Grange continued breeding Standardbreds and even purchased racehorses, among them Well Said and Windsong Soprano. In 2017, Grange died at age 63 after battling a terminal illness. Her daughter, Aerial, took over Lothlorien and reported that Kikikatie died in 2021.

“She was such a sweetheart,” said Dr. Gunn of Kikikatie, whose passing and accomplishments have been lost to time. “She was very loved at Lothlorien.” HB

 

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