- Story Ideas
- Send Corrections
For the first time in the 42-year history of the Eclipse Awards, the stallion that sired the Horse of the Year award recipient is standing at stud in Pennsylvania.
Wiseman’s Ferry, a stud at Lenhartsville’s Dana Point Farm, sired Wise Dan during 2007 while in Kentucky, before moving to Pennsylvania in 2008. The stallion’s progeny broke two track records and won the Breeders’ Cup in 2012 on the way to winning Horse of the Year, and the older male and male turf divisional crowns at the Eclipse Awards held in Florida on Jan. 19.
“It’s a very hard thing to achieve and for to sweep all the awards and Horse of the Year is something that’s not been done since 1984,” said Maria Vorhauer, general manager of Dana Point farm.
Wise Dan is not the only successful progeny of Wiseman’s Ferry, however, as his offspring have so far garnered earnings exceeding $13.7 million and counting. Vorhauer said the posterity of Wiseman’s Ferry are good athletes, and not just for the short-term. She said the breed is going back to the old time, when such horses as War Admiral and John Henry raced for years, unlike modern day horses that run The Triple Crown and then are sent off to stud.
And Wiseman’s still has the opportunity to produce many more successful racers, as Vorhauer said stallions can usually breed until they are 20 years old; he is 14 years old and in his seventh year of standing at stud.
As a result of him siring the Horse of the Year, Wiseman’s has attracted a lot of activity to Dana Point Farm due to the demand to breed, as well as attention from national horse magazines. Likewise, the stallion has brought financial gain to those involved with the farm due to the desire of other equine owners to breed with Wiseman’s.
“To achieve this and be part of this and to have the farm owning half of the horse, it was a nice story all the way around,” said Vorhauer. “It was a good accomplishment and it was a very self-satisfying accomplishment for me.”
Vorhauer said the first time she saw Wise Dan in Kentucky, he looked good and his trainer was very positive.
“His (Wise Dan’s trainer) comment to me was that ‘All I can tell you, Maria, is that nobody’s even seen this horse run yet’,” said Vorhauer. “And then when he did that jaw-dropping performance in the Breeders’ Cup that broke the track record, I was like ‘he was correct’.”
Brian Sanfratello, president of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, was likewise impressed with Wise Dan’s racing performances throughout 2012.
According to Sanfratello, Wise Dan kept getting better and better as he raced during the year.
“I think what was impressive is he had five victories in six starts over different track surfaces,” said Sanfratello. Wise Dan had victories on the dirt, turf, and on the polytrack.
“Usually horses will like one surface more than the other,” said Sanfratello. “But he did well over just about any surface.”
The racing accomplishments of Wise Dan have caused others in the industry to take a look at the horse breeding program in Pennsylvania more seriously since his sire is standing in the Keystone State, according to Vorhauer. While she noted that Wise Dan was not bred in Pennsylvania, she said that nonetheless the presence of his sire in the state is a major plus for the horse breeding industry here.
“I’ve been in this industry for 35 years,” said Vorhauer. “And to achieve something and to be associated with a horse like that, to be involved with the connection, it makes all the hard work and all the days and nights with these horses just worth it. It’s a dream come true. It’s been the greatest ride of my life of this whole industry.”