The death of Somebeachsomewhere leaves many with a sense of loss.
The 13-year-old standardbred stallion was euthanized Sunday, after a short battle with cancer.
“It’s devastating for harness racing all over the world,” said Jamie Ramsay, who trains and drives his own horses at Truro Raceway. “I saw him lots of times and watched him race. When Beach came around people started coming back to the track. Everyone knows who he is, even if they’re not race fans. You just had to mention his name. He’s a celebrity.”
He added that no longer having Somebeachsomewhere as a breeding stallion is a big loss to harness racing.
“Those foals born in 2018 will be the last Beaches, but he has some good sons who will carry on the legacy.”
Between 100 and 125 of his foals will be born this year. All of the semen collected has been used.
Veteran trainer and driver Phil Pinkney feels Somebeachsomewhere had a great impact on harness racing, both as a world champion race horse and a sire of champions.
“Knowing he was owned here created a lot of interest,” he said. “He raised the profile of racing locally and he was the talk of the town.
“I watched him a lot from day one, and trained him for a week. He was one of those horses that was perfect. He was big, sound, healthy and had a good attitude. It was a pleasure setting behind him.”
Somebeachsomewhere was standing stud at Hanover Shoe Farms, in Pennsylvania, in November when he got a little colicky and it was discovered the intestine was out of place. When surgery was performed to straighten it, a mass the size of a grape was found. It tested positive for cancer and the horse began chemotherapy treatments Nov. 18.
“At the end of last week, we knew his health was deteriorating but we still hoped he’d recover, but he went downhill fast,” said Brent MacGrath, who bought the horse as a yearling for Schooner Stable, of which he is a member, and worked with him a great deal.
He’d lost muscle tone and weight, his white cell count was high, and he was having trouble with his balance.
Somebeachsomewhere was syndicated, but the six-member Schooner Stable – Brent MacGrath, Garry Pye, Stu Rath, Reg Petitpas, Pamela Dean and Jamie Bagnell – had retained majority ownership.
“Sunday, we knew we had no option, and we had to have him euthanized,” said MacGrath. “It’s been hard; just terrible.
“I’m hearing from a lot of people now; the phone never stops. A lot of people were inspired by him.”
He said what he liked most about being around the horse on a regular day was that he was so gentle.
After an autopsy is done, Somebeachsomewhere will be buried at Hanover Shoe Farms.
MacGrath currently has a son of Somebeachsomewhere, Beach Meadows, who is training in Florida.
Finding the colt:
In 2006, Brent MacGrath, went to the sale in Lexington, Kentucky to buy an Ontario-sired yearling for Schooner Stable.
His limit was $40,000, and that was exactly what he paid for Somebeachsomewhere.
For a few months, the colt was housed in a stall at Truro Raceway and he jogged and was trained by MacGrath on the local track.
Began racing: 2007
Wins: 20, of 21 races (finishing second in one race)
Sire: Mach Three
Dam: Wheres The Beach
World record: He set all all-age world record of 1:46.4 at age three at The Red Mile in Lexington, KY.
Driver: Paul MacDonell of Guelph, Ont.
Earnings of offspring: More than $84.6 million
Harness Racing's Racehorse of the Decade (2000 through 2009)
Canadian Horse of the Year award in 2007 (along with Tell All)
Horse of the Year in both Canada and the United States in 2008
Inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, and the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2015