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Welcome to issue #15 of Insider Access.

Released every 2 weeks, Insider Access showcases insider rumors and commentary in the worldwide harness racing industry.

Each issue includes an exclusive Stallion review not available anywhere else - this week we review Always A Virgin.

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Stallion Sphere - 23 Stallion Reviews under 1 roof

This week we are proud to release Stallion Sphere, a Facebook and mobile web app containing all 23 of our exclusive Stallion reviews

We hope this will become an invaluable resource to breeders and harness fans around the world, so please check it out and share with your friends using the website's inbuilt share on Facebook functionality.

Embryo transplants are just wrong!

Recently on Harnesslink.com there was a story about the great Australian Breeders Crown and Group 1 winner, Frith, and that her foal, via a surrogate mother, was missing from the breeding farm after being foaled.

While it is sad that anyone would consider stealing a new born foal, it does not skirt the issue of embryo transplants, which has been allowed in Australian and New Zealand horse racing for a number of years now.

Embryo transplants in race horses, just like cloning or any other unnatural forms of reproduction in horse racing, is just plain wrong.

If it is being done to create a better cow that gives more milk, or improving a breed of livestock to enhance food production, then that is fine. But to allow a horse to continue racing and trying to get “foals” from her so you don’t have to lose any income from her racing is unfair to everyone else in the industry. Either you are a broodmare or a race horse, not both at the same time.

If a mare cannot have a foal naturally, then that is Mother Nature’s way of say the breed will not continue through her. Allowing embryo transplants of any form in race horse mares should no longer be allowed. It may be a hard fight to end it but worth the effort.

Horse racing has enough issues with “better racing through chemistry” and this act falls right within those guides. The same should be said for artificial insemination and frozen semen, but those are topics of controversy for another day.

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And all current Insider Access Subscribers are already signed up to win.

Forward this email to your friends and get them to sign up too and be eligible to win the great prizes. Just click here and within seconds they will be on track for the latest news in harness racing as you view the current issue of Insider Access.

AU: Novelty or offensive?

In a world of political correctness, would be it okay to conduct a race limited to third generation Australians? How about a race for men only?

No doubt any attempt to do so in a climate of equal opportunity would be quickly dubbed as racist and/or sexist!

So the question begs to be asked…why is harness racing still hosting events for certain people only?

Later this month Menangle will run a race restricted to Aboriginal drivers…but is that a novelty or straight out racism given the fact that the race eliminates 99.99 per cent of the industry!

Then there are various women only events held throughout the season…which again prevents the vast majority of drivers from the opportunity to compete and earn.

Fairfield also hosts a Maltese drivers’ race each June.

Are these races nothing more than a novelty or actually racist in two ways…..one) they neglect the vast majority of participants, or two) they suggest people of those origins require assistance as they are not capable of competing against the remainder of the industry.

Some states even have female premierships, again suggesting women need to be given preferential treatment to make sure their feats are noticed.

Perhaps the events are nothing more than good clean fun and political correctness has no place in this instance…you decide!

AU: Thin skinned stewards

Following an exclusive article on Harnesslink earlier this month, Victorian horseman Lance Justice is the subject of a stewards' inquiry.

Angered by the suspensions he received at Melton on September 29, Justice questioned the lack of definition between light and heavy interference stating: "The stewards are too heavy handed. There is no defining difference between light, medium or heavy interference, and as such, it’s just bang...this is the sentence. Its mandatory sentencing gone mad."

Lance also raised the point that fines are hurting trainers and drivers trying to make a living from the industry, whereas stewards and officials – also making a living from the industry – do not have their wages reduced when errors occur.

"Imagine we start pointing out the mistakes the stewards and staff make and say no pay," Justice declared. “HRV have done plenty wrong, but they don’t lose their wages."

It would appear stewards have taken exception to Justice’s suggestion their wages should be cut for any mistakes - or errors in judgment - to match the punishment licence holders receive.

After all, interference during a race, in most cases, is nothing more than an error in judgment.

Stewards feel Justice has spoken out against the industry, but surely using such a rule is just a way of 'gagging' participants from voicing their opinion….limiting free speech!

Given a suspension or fine is basically a public declaration of the trainer’s or driver’s mistake, why is it license holders cannot pass on their thoughts on, or make public knowledge of, any errors in judgment from stewards and administrators?

Perhaps 'big brother' needs to be a little less thin skinned and realize license holders are entitled to free speech….and furthermore, admit the fact no one is beyond error!

NZ: Stakes money: How to calculate it

As an industry that covers different hemispheres and numerous countries, you would think that the powers that be would come up with a system regarding stakes money won that is uniformly accepted worldwide.

Instead we have different systems applying in different countries and the whole thing is an unmitigated mess.

In Canada when you look at their sires list, they are a true reflection of what money has been won across North America. No adjustments for exchange rates between countries is made.

Hop over the border to the United States and you have a system that works by devaluing the money earned in Canada by converting that money won into a value in American dollars for statistical purposes.

If a horse wins a million dollars in Canada, then it won a million dollars and not some arbitrary figure determined by the current exchange rate in the United States.

It would seem from the outside that the United States feels threatened by their little cousin to the north and is using the stake money won list to downplay the money that is offered in Canada.

The system as it stands is a joke and reflects badly on the obvious self interest of the USTA authorities.

NZ: Shuttle Stallions

Breeding operations in the southern hemisphere are locked into the use of shuttle stallions if they want to stay relevant in a hugely competitive market.

They either buy a chunk of the stallion, purchase the Southern breeding rights or get a fee for service provided to the stallion owners.

What has become a major problem with the present setup is that most of the money earned in stud operations in Australasia finds its way back to North America.

In the last breeding season, more than $10,000,000 was sucked out of the local industry by off shore stallion owners. That is just not sustainable long term and is causing massive problems for the local studs. They are not in a position to buy prospective stallions because their cash flow and income from the present deals doesn't allow it to happen

This year we had two of the major stud farms having to join together to be able to afford a deal to stand a highly credentialed newcomer. Another prospective elite level stallion was available for sale earlier this year but not one stud farm could afford the $1,000,000 price tag, even when they joined forces.

The industry in Australasia is struggling and has been for a while. It cannnot afford to have over $ 10,000,000 remitted overseas every year and survive. Some form of a levy on overseas owned stallions is essential or local ownership of stallion's as we know it will cease to exit.

Stallion Review - Always A Virgin
Always A Virgin
Always A Virgin

Always A Virgin 1:48.4 ($1,135,559) is by Western Ideal from Neverhaveneverwill by Big Towner from Keystone Wallis by Albatross from Steel Will by Overtrick

Watch - Always A Virgin at Pepper Tree Farm


Western Ideal 1:48 ($1,455,422) was bred to be good being a son of the great Western Hanover from the outstanding Abercrombie mare Leah Almahurst 1:52.3 ($1,053,201). Western Ideal was the real deal on the racetrack and is now firmly established as one of the elite sires in harness racing worldwide.

He has never served big crops and has only been at stud for 10 years with the most number of foals bred in one season at 106 in 2009.

His best colt performers besides Always A Virgin 1:48.4 ($1,135,559) are headed by Rocknroll Hanover 1:48.3 ($3,069,093), Vintage Master 1:48.1 ($2,160,953), Western Ace 1:48.4 ($1,891,133), Dial Or Nodial 1:48.3 ($1,629,777), Big Jim 1:49.1 ($1,541,924), Palone Ranger 1:49.4 ($1,259,545), Kindly Poet 1:49.2 ($1,007,370) and American Ideal 1:47.4 ($855,928).

His best fillies are Cabrini Hanover 1:51s ($1,473,279), Krispy Apple 1:49.1m ($1,141,817), Special Sweetheart 1:50.4 ($907,901) and Ideal Weather 1:49.3s ($854,074).

Western Ideal - statistics

Eligible to race - 917

Winners - 605

$1,000,000+ - 10

$100,000+ - 246

Sub 1:50 - 48

Average earnings per starter $132,085

Average earning per eligible horse - $102,557

Total earnings to date $94,044,636

Western Ideal is quickly turning into a leading sire of sires with American Ideal, Always A Virgin and Rocknroll Hanover joining him in the first ten places on the North American sires list for two-year-olds in 2013. As of right now at the 19th October 2014 Western Ideal is the number one sire of two-year- olds (with 50 or more foals) for average earnings per starter in North America with $37,477.


Neverhaveneverwill 1:55.3 ($94,738) by Big Towner and a minor stake winner, is the dam of 10 foals for seven winners to date. Besides Always A Virgin Neverhaveneverwills only other foal of note was Ain't Gonna Happen 1:53f ($182,616), by Artsplace. Neverhaveneverwill left two full brothers to Always A Virgin, both minor winners and an unraced full sister to Always A Virgin that has left two minor winners.

Neverhaveneverwill does have a promising two-year-old filly in 2014 by Rocknroll Heaven called Zip Code Envy who has paced in 1:54.1 and won $53,740 to date.

Always A Virgin's second dam is the well-known very good race mare by Albatross, Keystone Wallis p2; 1:55.3f ($618,256). Keystone Wallis was a very good two-year-old winning an elimination of The Breeders Crown and was the winner of 1988 OJC Award for Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies. As a three-year-old she won a heat of The Jugette.

Keystone Wallis is the dam of 14 foals for eight winners including Blackwalls 1:53.3s ($167,256) by Camluck, her only $100,000 plus winner. Keystone Wallis is the grand-dam of 12 $100,000 plus winners though and besides Always A Virgin 1:48.4 $1,135,559 (from her Big Towner daughter Neverhaveneverwill), the richest of those is from another Big Towner mare Speedy Helen who produced Greystone Cash 1:51.4h ($510,643) as well as eight other winners.

Always A Virgin's third dam is the Overtrick mare Steel Wool T1:53.4 ($12,660) dam of seven winners from 12 foals produced. The best of her progeny by far is Keystone Wallis p2; 1:55.3f ($618,256) the grand-dam of Always A Virgin. Besides Keystone Wallis, Steel Wool has only produced four other $100,000 plus winners from all of her daughter's progeny to date. They are Weston Seelster 1:53.4h ($323,811), Laredo Spur 1:50.2 ($221,751), Vinegar Joe 1:52.4f ($197,365) and Peters Wrath 1:52.4h ($118,339).


Always A Virgin has a decent pedigree but not a great pedigree. The three key horses in this pedigree are headed by Always A Virgin 1:48.4 $1,135,559, followed by his grand-dam Keystone Wallis p2; 1:55.3f ($618,256) and then Greystone Cash 1:51.4h ($510,643). Interesting to note that Always A Virgin and Greystone Cash are both out of the Big Towner daughters of Keystone Wallis.


As a two-year-old Always A Virgin had ten starts for three wins and two seconds for $67,136 in purses with a best time of 1:52.1

It was rather low key two-year-old season for Always A Virgin but he gave glimpses of his raw potential in several races. He won an elimination of the $450,000 Governor's Cup in 1:52.1 over the talented Sutter Hanover 1:50.1s ($923,385) and was second to Allamerican Bomber ($263,619) in a division of the $94,800 Bluegrass stakes in 1:53. It was a promising start to his racing career and that was to lead to a great three-year-old year.

At the start of his three-year-old season Always A Virgin joined the stable of the legendary Joe Holloway. He had 20 starts for 13 wins two seconds and two thirds for $1,022,703 in purses with a best time of 1:48.4

In his third start for the season Always A Virgin was beaten a neck in 1:49.4 by his stable mate Fresh Deck ($468,200) and Yankee Skyscaper ($970,434) in the $500,000 New Jersey Classic at The Meadowlands.

This was followed two starts later by a win in the $175,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes in 1:50.2 over Kinetic Yankee ($505,138) and St Pete Star ($596,876)

At his next start Always A Virgin won his elimination of the $1,000,000 Meadowlands Pace over Southwind Lynx ($1,763,830) and Tell All ($1,568,183) in a smart 1:50 flat. He made a break in the $1,000,000 final and finished last behind Southwind Lynx and Tell All who finished first and second in the race. At his next start at the Meadowlands in a $30,000 three-year-old open, he paced off to his lifetime mark of 1:48.4 winning by five and three-quarter-lengths showing what might have been in the Meadowlands Pace the week before.

Always A Virgin followed that victory by winning the $121,000 Oliver Wendell Holmes at the Meadowlands easily in 1:49.1 with a 26.2 last quarter over Kinetic Yankee ($505,139) and Artriverderci ($707,751). The 26.2 last quarter that he paced in this race was Always A Virgin's fastest last quarter in a race that he won.

From there Always A Virgin was in the zone and quickly added the elimination and final of the $297,500 Cane Pace in 1:51.1 at Freehold Raceway, a half mile track, over Southwind Lynx ($1,763,830) and Fresh Deck ($468,200).

At his next start Always A Virgin won a $76,800 heat of the Little Brown Jug in 1:51.1 defeating amongst others the great horse Won The West ($3,977,956) and ran third in the final won by Tell All ($1,568,183).

Watch - 2007 Little Brown Jug Final - 2nd

From there Always A Virgin won a heat and then the final of the $725,480 Messenger Pace in 1:52 in what was his biggest payday defeating Kenneth J ($1,592,755) and Watta Hotshot ($744,765) in the process. Always A Virgin followed that up with an easy win in an elimination of the $550,000 Breeders Crown beating Southwind Lynx ($1,763,830) and Won The West ($3,977,956) before failing in the final.

Watch - 2007 Breeders Crown

That race brought the curtain down on a stellar three-year-old season for Always A Virgin.

As a four-year-old Always A Virgin had only the nine starts for two wins one second and two thirds for just the $45,720 in purses with a best time of 1:49.3

The real Always A Virgin never came back to the racetrack at four. He started with a third in a four-year-old open in 1:49.2 and followed that up with wins in other four-year-old opens but it was all downhill from there. Instead of kicking on in races such as the Haughton Memorial and the US Pacing Championships, Always A Virgin struggled to be competitive. Always A Virgins last three runs of his 39 start career saw him race on Lasix but the result was the same.

Always A Virgin retired with a record of 39 starts, 18 wins, 5 seconds and 4 thirds with purses of $1,135,559 and a fastest time of 1:48.4 as a three-year-old.


One is left with the impression that as good as Always A Virgin was as a three-year-old, we never really got to see the best of him.


Always A Virgin served big crops of mares in Indiana in 2009 and 2010 numbering 155 and 147. In 2011 Always A Virgin served 93 mares and in 2012 he served 64. In 2013 he served 147. His oldest progeny are four-year-olds in 2014. Always A Virgin stands at Victory Hill Farm in Indiana for a fee of $3,500.

Always A Virgin's progeny made a huge impact on the Indiana racing scene in 2012 with his first crop. Not only was he the leading two-year-old sire that year, he was also and still is Indiana's all-time leading first crop sire of money won.

Always A Virgin progeny led all pacing sires in yearling averages at the 2013 Indiana Premier Sale.

Always A Virgin's first crop were born in 2010

He produced 117 foals, 57 colts and 60 fillies from 155 mares bred.

This crop is headed by the Indiana Sire Stakes Gold Champion filly, Always About Katey 1:51.3s ($768,042) then followed by Indiana Sire Stakes Gold Champion gelding, Right Touch 1:50.3s ($489,660). Next richest is Sweet Talkin Satin 1:49.1s ($341,360) then Crazy On You 1:50.2f ($200,554) and Its A Miracle 1:52.1h ($157,934). Three of Always A Virgin's richest five progeny are fillies.

North American statistics for his foals produced in 2010

Eligible to race - 117

Winners - 83

$1,000,000+ - 0

$750,000+ - 1

$500,000+ - 1

$250,000+ - 3

$100,000+ - 10

Sub 1:50 - 2

Average earnings per starter $52,412

Average earnings per eligible horse - $44,797

Total earnings to date $5,241,225

Always A Virgin's second crop were born in 2011

He produced 110 foals, 49 colts and 61 fillies from 149 mares bred.

This crop is headed by the rising superstar Always B Miki 1:47.4 ($780,091) who ran an enormous second in the Meadowlands Pace to the equal fastest three-year-old in history He's Watching 1:46.4. Always B Miki is Always A Virgin's richest and fastest performer to date. Always A Virgin's second richest in this crop and another standout performer is the filly Colors A Virgin 1:51.2s ($596,072) who won this year's Jugette at Delaware. His next richest is the filly Candys A Virgin 1:51s ($267,871) then another filly Nat A Virgin 1:50s ($257,093) and then another filly again called U R It BB 1:51.4 ($226,863). Four of the richest five performers are all fillies.

Watch - Bluegrass Stakes 2014, Always B Miki

North American statistics for his foals produced in 2011

Eligible to race - 108

Winners - 54

$1,000,000+ - 0

$750,000+ - 1

$500,000+ - 2

$250,000+ - 4

$100,000+ - 6

Sub 1:50 - 2

Average earnings per starter $47,629

Average earnings per eligible horse - $33,517

Total earnings to date $3,619,792

Always A Virgin's third crop were born in 2012

He produced 51 foals, 27 colts and 24 fillies from 93 mares bred.

This third crop of 2014 two-year-olds have already produced two good colts in Harpo Hanover 1:51.3s ($130,656) and Tonis Affection 1:51.4s ($102,329). Harpo Hanover won the $55,462 Fox stakes in 1:54.3 at the Indiana State Fair.


Eligible to race - 276

Winners - 153

$1,000,000+ - 0

$750,000+ - 2

$500,000+ - 3

$250,000+ - 7

$100,000+ - 18

Sub 1:50 - 4

Average earnings per starter $45,280

Average earnings per eligible horse - $33,632

Total earnings to date $9,282,353


Always A Virgin's first three crops have shown that he can leave a super colt in Always B Miki 1:47.4 ($780,091) and one that can can foot it with the best in North America. Always B Miki may be the best yet, in all of North America. Always A Virgin can also produce a top filly Colors A Virgin 1:51.2s ($596,072) that can race against the best as well. He produces top fillies and top colts. Always A Virgin is a rising star on the stallion front in North America.


In Australia Always A Virgin bred his first crop of mares in the 2010/2011 breeding season and the resultant foals are current three-year-olds in the 2014/2015 breeding season.

His first crop of 104 live foals were from 143 mares bred. There were 29 starters for 15 winners of $232,925 in stakes.

From his first Australian crop Always A Virgin produced the promising filly Lovelist (from the Classic Gary mare Lifeline), who had four wins from seven starts as a two-year-old with $43,111 in stakes.

He also produced the very promising Blackntan who had nine starts for six wins as a two-year-old. Blackntan is from the Walton Hanover mare Coronata. Blackntan earnings to date are $38,807.

Always A Virgin bred decent numbers of mares in his next few crops in Australia and that will give him a good chance to prove himself. In the 2011/2012 season he bred 84 mares, in the 2012/2013 season he bred 138 mares and in the 2013/2014 season he bred 145 mares.


Off to a slow start with his first crop in Australia and will need to improve rapidly from here on in.


Already in his brief stud career Always A Virgin has achieved two things that some sires never achieve. From his second crop he has left an absolute star colt in Always B Miki 1:47.4 ($780,091) and a brilliant filly in Colors A Virgin 1:51.2 ($596,072). The other bonus for breeders is his ability to leave plenty of filly winners with seven of his top ten earners from his first two crops being fillies. With his success to date, the value of crops still to come on stream has certainly being enhanced.


The issue may quickly become one of the differences in results in the two hemispheres. At this stage of his career his North American numbers are fine but his Australian numbers from his first crop are below par with just 15 winners from 104 live foals. His progeny have shown marked improvement between two and three in North America so hopefully that will happen in Australia.


Always A Virgin has established himself as an elite sire from his base in Indiana which is no mean feat and says a lot about him as a sire. He has already left a standout colt in Always B Miki and a standout filly Colors A Virgin. He has left a number of good fillies. His North American future looks rosy but he has yet to establish himself in Australia and the next twelve months will be make or break for him down under.

Overall rating - 7/10

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