A few fresh faces along with the top stallions in Atlantic Canadian harness racing dot the list of eligible horses for the 2016 Atlantic Sires Stakes breeding season.
A total of 21 studs are paid into the program with the deadline on Jan. 31 to pay horses in for the breeding season, though late nominations can be made.
On the trot side, the sire of the top money earning two-year-old trotter of the 2015 season is back in the game after a one-year hiatus from the program. Neal is back at stallion duty for Meridian Farms of Milton after siring top two-year-old trotter High Bid. From just his first racing crop in 2015, Neal, a grand circuit stakes winner in his own right, sired five stakes winners from just eight foals.
A new addition to the program for 2016 is Striking Lindsey, standing at Blair Campbell's Camco Farms in North Wiltshire. The 10-year-old son of Striking Sahbra was a winner of 18 races and $628,128 in purses while taking a mark of 1:54.1 at Mohawk Raceway.
He was trained exclusively by Gregg McNair in his career, while winning a $120,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Final and finishing second in the $300,000 O.S.S. Super Final. The horse is owned by Howmac Farms of North Wiltshire.
Tad The Stud returns to stud for another year at Meridian Farms. The Windsong's Legacy stud has his first crop of 12 two-year-olds currently training down while he bred 14 mares last season.
Millionaire trotter Armbro Barrister also returns at Meridian Farms for 2016. The richest son of Malabar Man, Armbro Barrister bred 26 mares during the 2015 season.
Black River stands in Kensington for owners Sandra and Garth Cole. The 19-year-old son of Donerail has a long list of top stakes performers, including Maritime champions like 2005 champion two-year-old trotter Maple Leaf Noble, 2004 champion Dunmore TCB, 2006 champion Dunmore TKO and 2004-2005 champion Rustico Red River.
The trotting side has a real rarity as the sires of both 2015 Atlantic Breeders Crown trot final winners are not paid into the program for the 2016 breeding season. Paymenowpaymelater captured the three-year-old Atlantic Breeder's Crown trot last season but her sire, Northern Bailey, is no longer standing stud on P.E.I. and is not paid into the program after being sold to Wisconsin. Northern Bailey had been one of the most successful trot stallions in the past eight years of the program with Maritime champions Waiting On A Woman, Oceanview Kate, Seanchai, JK Blaze, Tyne Valley, My Daisy Duke and Rash Statement. Not to mention Est Non Ila Dulcis, the fastest Maritime Bred trotter ever in the Maritimes. Northern Bailey bred 11 mares in 2015 while standing at Camco Farms.
Last year's two-year-old trot winner Glencove Zani also has his father, Bo W, absent from the program this breeding season. Owned by Carl Bagnall of Stratford, Bo W had just one foal in 2015 and was bred to four mares. Besides Glencove Zani, Bo W has also sired 2012 Maritime Champion Sweetwater Rukkus.
Also missing from the program after standing in 2015 is Delcrest Julian. Last season was the first year at stud for the son of Oaklea Julian, who bred just four mares while stationed at Meridian Farms.
Next week, we will take a look at the pacing side of the 2016 stallion roster.
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.