Hi there,

Welcome to issue #3 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 McArdle.

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The below notes are the express opinions of columnist Steve Wolf and do not represent the opinions of Harnesslink.

Hey Freehold, can you spare a blanket?

I was taught as children that if you did not have something nice to say then don’t say anytime at all, but I can’t stay quiet on this one. Saturday at Freehold Raceway was the prestigious Grand Circuit Dexter Cup Trot Final for three-year-olds. It’s the first test for three-year-old colts heading towards the Hambletonian. Sumatra wired the field in impressive fashion but when he came back to the winner’s circle, was there a bouquet of carrots to greet him and a nice monogrammed blanket or flysheet to drape over the winner’s back? Nope, nothing, nada, just a lonely walk back around the track to the race paddock. This is a very sad way to congratulate a winner, especially a Grand Circuit Champion.

On the other hand, kudos to the staff and management at Miami Valley Raceway on their closing night as they had two new Grand Circuit events. Not only did they have monogrammed blankets for each of the winners, but also did live interviews with the winning trainer after each race. It’s going the little extra when you have a special event that makes it special for the racing fans and horsemen’s community to keep interest in the sport and show it in a professional light.

Marie St. Charles had a bad April

Trainer Marie St. Charles took a gamble with owners Ed and Cheryl Sayfie and risked $10,000 to supplement their undefeated filly, Kayla Grace, in the $110,000 Courageous Lady at Northfield Park last month. The gamble did not work out as Kayla Grace saw her 15-race win streak come to a close, cutting the mile and finishing last in a six-horse race. Then to top it off, Mrs. St. Charles had a duel positive for Caffeine (Class II) in Michigan and has to serve consecutive six month suspensions and pay $3,000 in fines. Her one year away from racing began the day after Kayla Grace’s race and Marie St. Charles is now suspended through April 13, 2015.

Economy Terror bred to Somebeachsomewhere

It has been confirmed that the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner, Economy Terror, is being bred to Somebeachsomewhere and may retire from racing to join the broodmare ranks. A career winner of $1,638,534, the daughter of Western Terror was a terror at age 2, winning 8 of 11 starts and $926,520 for owners Chuck Pompey, Howard Taylor and Ed Gold. Her wins at 2 included the Breeders Crown, Three Diamonds, International Stallion Stakes, PASS Final and the Countess Adios. She went on to race well and score major stakes victories at age 3 and 4. This year she started seven times with two wins. It will be interesting to see if the mating of these two top horses can produce a world champion, it should.

Kudos to Jack Darling on his TV campaign

Special kudos go out to trainer Jack Darling. Jack heard about the lack of funding for broadcasting and producing two of harness racing’s gem events for major television, the Meadowlands Pace and the Little Brown Jug, and took the bull by the horns and started soliciting everyone he could in the industry to each kick in $500. The results are more than $100,000 going into a special account and Jack got the job done!

While the costs of broadcasting these two races and possibly the Breeders Crown, is a major undertaking, we need to take a step back and consider the future for harness racing on national television. Getting these three great races is a very good start, but in the long run harness racing needs national exposure on a consistent basis’s with a series of national events set up on a specific schedule and that takes time and cooperation among the racetracks per scheduling race dates. I hope the powers that be will now take a moment or two or three and starting thinking of 2015 and beyond. Perhaps a series of top races that can be broadcast on Public Television, whose market reaches every section of the USA and in many parts of Canada too. This was done very successfully in New Jersey during the 1980’s and the reach of potential viewers in surrounding states made it very well received for years.

By Steve Wolf

Sulky Sam

Stallion Review - McArdle

Artistic Fella

With the North American breeding season well underway we continue with our Stallion Review” series. Today we have produced an in depth review of McArdle who bred a full book in Ohio in 2013.


Falcon Seelster is a son of Warm Breeze and has long been established as an elite sire with worldwide stake earnings in excess of $120,000,000 to date.

In North America he has left five millionaires with McArdle his biggest stake earner. With a massive 312 in 1:55 and stake earnings of $79,308,308 in North America alone, he was without a doubt an elite sire right through the 1990s and early 2000s.

In New Zealand Falcon Seelster has left 867 winners with 112 in 1;55 for stake earnings of $49,217,410. Amongst his leading performers were Elsu 1:53.5 $2,030,795 (now successful sire) The Falcon Strike 1:54.5 ($1,224,094), Howard Bromac 1:55.1 ($618,433) De Lovely 1:54 ($613,356), Seelster Sam 1;55.8 ($452,675) and All Hart 1:52 ($435,328) to name just a few.


McArdle's dam Lilting Laughter is a daughter of Nihilator and is the dam of seven foals of which six have won, four in better than 1;53. Apart from McArdle she is the dam of Last Call Hanover 1;49.3 ($398,644) Loverboy Hanover 1:50 ($262,121) and Gorey Daze 1;52.2 ($225,624).

The second dam Happy Sharon is by Most Happy Fella. She was one of the best race mares of her generation winning $606,841 on the track. She has produced eleven foals for eight winners which include Smiley Face 1:53 ($303,515), Broad Grin 1:51.4 ($150,794) Bold Adventure 1:52 ($145,347) and Cotsworld ($102,372).


At two he faced the starter ten times for seven wins and two placings for stake earnings of $223,438. His best performances were in the final of the Matron Pace and Reynolds Memorial.

At three he played the "iron horse" facing the starter 27 times. He won 14 of these and was placed 9 times on his way to earning $1,382,949. His best wins came in the Oliver Wendall Holmes Final, New Jersey Classic and the Tattersalls Pace while he also finished second in both the Meadowlands Pace and the final of the Breeders Crown.

After such a long and arduous season at three, he came out at four and did it again. He started seventeen times for seven wins and eight placings against the best free for allers in North America earning a further $849,22 in another superb season.

His best win was in the Haughton Memorial final starting from post 10 and beating a great field including Art Major in the process, whilst he again finished second in the Breeders Crown final. Retired from the track at the end of his four year old season, he went to stud having faced the starter 54 times for 28 wins, 12 seconds and 7 thirds for stakes of $2,455,609. He took his lifetime mark of 1:49 at three.


He served his first book in 2004 which numbered 129 mares. From that first season his numbers gradually fell away. In fact from his first seven crops he has only 530 foals three year or older in North America.

After a somewhat slow start he has really produced the stock his race record suggested he would. One More Laugh 1:47.4 ($2,625,350), McCedes 1:49.4 ($1,162,798) and Nob Hill High 1:50.1 ($1,038,953) are just a few of his better performers. With 172 in 1:55 and 13 in 1:50 and stake earnings in excess of $33,000,000, McArdle is enjoying his best period as a sire. So much so that in the 2013 breeding season, he served his largest book since going to stud of 175 mares.

More Laugh - 2010 Cane Pace

Watch the video

Australian STUD CAREER

Has never really served a book of mares of any number or quality in Australia. Over seven seasons he has just 129 foals three years and older. Of these 49 have won with the best being Monarkanac 1:55 ($147,204) and Almost An eagle 1:56.2 ($108,949).


He has been well supported since he started shuttling to New Zealand. His record in New Zealand is more in line with his record in North America.

He has 601 foals three years or older for 281 winners. His best performers to date has been Tintin In America 1;53.6 ($906,422), Five Star Anvil 1:54.2 ($594,020) and Elusive Chick 1:53.1 ($355,491). He has 25 in 1:55 with seven $100,000 winners in New Zealand and a further seventeen New Zealand breds have won over $100,000 in Australia. His fillies are particularly well regarded in New Zealand. His stake earnings in New Zealand have recently topped $10,000,000.


A sire that can leave both colts and fillies who are good enough to compete at the elite level. They are well conformed and good gaited in the main. He is very reasonably priced for a sire with his record. A lot of his competition have inferior stud records and more expensive stud fees. His fillies have performed really well in Australasia and should lift their sires profile even more in the broodmare paddock.


A lot seem more suited to sprint/mile racing than the staying races which are the mainstay of the age group classics in Australasia. They are not regarded as the toughest stayers in harness racing but can have a lethal sprint with one run at them.


An absolute brilliant race horse who showed right through his three year old season how genuine he was with 23 first three finishes out of 27 starts. After a slow start at stud, his stock have slowly won over the breeders in North America with last years book of 175 mares his best ever. He continues to serve nice books in New Zealand on the back of some good results, especially from his fillies. With his stud record, his stud fee represents great value for money.


7 out of 10

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