For years Pennsylvania has been to Standardbreds what Kentucky is to Thoroughbreds. With some of the best stallions and mares, along with hosting some of the sports most prestigious races, PA has been the premier state in which to breed and race Standardbreds. This summer, the PHRA will take a look at some of Pennsylvania’s stallions and look back at their careers on the track.
Diamond Creek Farm first opened in Kentucky in 2005. Seven years later, they opened their Pennsylvania farm in Wellsville, York County. Since then, they’ve made their mark as one of the premier breeding farms in not only Pennsylvania, but in the world.
“Mr. 1:46” Always B Miki
Always B Miki was foaled on May 10, 2011 in Gettysburg, PA. By Always A Virgin out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, Always B Miki would become known as the fastest standardbred of all time.
Always B Miki began his career at The Meadowlands on June 1, 2013 in a qualifier. Trained by Joe Holloway and driven by David Miller, Always B Miki would win that qualifier as well as two more qualifiers before making his first purse start. In his first pari-mutuel start, with Corey Callahan driving, Always B Miki made the lead at the half and never looked back, winning by 4 lengths in 1:54:2. He would wrap his two-year-old season up with a record of 12-2-4-3 and $135,384 in earnings
Starting off his three year old campaign at The Meadowlands on March 29, 2014, Always B Miki would win two qualifiers and his first start. His first stakes start of the year would come in the WM Reynolds at The Meadowlands, where he would win in 1:50:3 with Yannick Gingras in the bike. Always B Miki would highlight this three-year-old season with wins in the Somebeachsomewhere, The Tattersalls, Indiana Sire Stakes Final, and the Monument Circle.
After winning his 3-year-old colt pace Breeders Crown Elimination, Always B Miki was scratched lame just prior to post time for the final. An examination after the scratch revealed that he had fractured his pastern of his left hind leg after kicking a wall. The fracture required four screws to be inserted into his left hind. The injury was definitely season ending and could have been career ending. Always B Miki ended the season with a record of 19-12-4-0 and seasonal earnings of $791,482.
Now in the Jimmy Takter barn, Always B Miki resumed training in May of 2015 after recovering from his injury and surgery. He wouldn’t return to the races until October 3rd. In his first qualifier following the injury, Always B Miki went right to the front, winning by over 15 lengths in 1:50:1 at Pocono. Following a win in his second qualifier at The Red Mile, Always B Miki made his first start winning an Indiana Sire Stake at Hoosier Park.
For his second start, Always B Miki went to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine. With David Miller in the bike, Always B Miki won his elimination over Bettor’s Edge in 1:49:4, then returned the following week to take the $400,000 final in 1:49:3. The fourth and final start of his 2015 season came with a win in the American National in 1:49:1 at Balmoral Park. He would end his season undefeated with a record of 4-4-0-0 and $301,210 in earnings.
Returning for his five-year-old season, Always B Miki would rally from last to finish second, beaten by a head, in his first start on April 23, 2016 in a $25,000 Open Handicap Pace at The Meadowlands. After making two more starts in Open company at The Meadowlands, he would head north of the border to Mohawk for the $100,000(CAN) Gold Cup Invitational.
In the Gold Cup, Always B Miki sat off the pace behind fractions of 25:2, 53:3, and 1:20:2, before hitting the lead in the stretch and winning by 3 lengths over Shamballs. He would stop the clock in 1:47:1, which was not only his personal fastest, but also the fastest mile ever by a Standardbred on Canadian soil.
Coming back to Pennsylvania for the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono, Always B Miki won his elimination and equaled the world record on a ⅝ mile track. The 2016 aged pacing ranks was one of the strongest the sport has ever seen, with the heavyweights being Always B Miki, Wiggle It Jiggleit, and Freaky Feet Pete. The Franklin would be the first time all three would meet.
Making the front just prior to the ⅜ mark, Always B Miki would emerge as the winner, and would again equal the world record, stopping the clock in 1:47. He finished three-quarters of a length in front of Freaky Feet Pete. Wiggle It Jiggleit finished third just 2 lengths behind.
Always B Miki then headed to The Meadowlands where he would again defeat both Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete, winning the 1-⅛ miles $471,800 WM Reynolds Memorial in 2:01:1. That start would be followed by a fourth in the US Pacing Championship and two seconds in the Dan Patch and Canadian Pacing Derby.
He would find the winners circle again in the Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs, where for the third time he would equal the world record for pacers on a ⅝ mile track. With Wiggle It Jiggleit going to the front, Always B Miki applied pressure just past the half. The two slugged it out to the wire, where Always B Miki finished ¾ of a length ahead of Wiggle It Jiggleit.
He would make the start that would define his career two starts later in the Allerage at The Red Mile. Going to the front prior to the half, Always B Miki laid down a half in 52:2 and three quarters in 1:19:4, before stopping the clock in 1:46. Prior to that, the fastest race mile was 1:46:4, and Cambest held the record for the fastest mile when he time trialed in 1:46:1 at the Illinois State Fair in 1993.
Following a win in the Breeders Crown, Always B Miki would make his final career start in the TVG FFA Final at The Meadowlands. Despite being outside for most of the mile, he would draw away to a 4 ¼ length win over Mach It So in 1:48:2 on a 42 degree night. His racing career would end with a record of 53-30-13-3, earnings of $2,719,368, and as the fastest Standardbred to ever walk the planet with a lifetime mark of 1:46.
Following his career, Always B Miki came back to Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania, where he stands stud today. In his first season at stud, he bred 140 mares, which is the maximum number allowed under USTA rules. He is also on twitter @onefortysix.
Father Patrick was foaled on March 12, 2011 in Versailles, Kentucky. By Cantab Hall out of the Enjoy Lavec mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick not only became one of the greatest trotters of the last decade, but is quickly making his mark as one of the sports top trotting stallions.
After winning his first two career qualifiers, Father Patrick began his career in the PA All Stars at Pocono, where he won by seven lengths in 1:56. His lone two-year-old defeat came in his second career start, but afterwards Father Patrick went on a tear winning his final 9 starts. Highlights of his two-year-old campaign were wins in the Peter Haughton Memorial, a PA Sire Stake, the Champlain, the Wellwood Memorial and the Breeders Crown at Pocono.
After a few qualifiers to start off his three-year-old season, Father Patrick made his debut at Pocono in the Dickerson Cup. Making the front before the half, he never looked back, winning by 4 lengths in 1:53:3. He would follow that win with wins in the PA Sire Stakes at both The Meadows and Pocono.
Those races led up to the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr Memorial at Pocono. After winning his elimination, Father Patrick was dealt post 8 in the final. Making the front past the ¼, he took the field the rest of the way and won in 1:50:2. The time was a world record for three-year-old trotting colts on the ⅝ mile track and one one fifth of a second shy of the all-size track world record.
He followed it up with a win in the Stanley Dancer Memorial. After making a break and finishing 11th in the Hambletonian and second in the Tompkins Geers at Tioga, Father Patrick found the winners circle in the Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs, defeating his stablemate Nuncio in 1:52:2. Other highlights of his three-year-old campaign were wins in the PA Sire Stakes Final at Harrah’s Philadelphia, the Canadian Trotting Derby, the American National, and the Breeders Crown Final at The Meadowlands.
Father Patrick returned for a four-year-old campaign by winning two out of three qualifiers. His first start came in the $150,000 Maxie Lee at Harrah’s Philadelphia. With Yannick Gingras driving, Father Patrick finished two lengths ahead of the post time favorite Bee A Magician in 1:52:1. After two seconds in rounds of the Graduate and two sixth place finishes in the Graduate Final and the Hambletonian Maturity, Father Patrick was retired to Wanridge Farm in New Jersey after suffering a lung infection. He ended his career with a record of 33-23-6-0, a lifetime mark of 1:50:2, and career earnings of $2,558,133.
Now standing stud at Diamond Creek Farm in PA, Father Patrick has sired 105 starters, 66 of those in 2:00, 22 in 1:55 and they have amassed earnings of $7,515,783. He is the sire of Greenshoe, who has earned over $1,000,000, finished second in the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown, won a Hambletonian Elimination, Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, and the NJSS and KYSS finals.
He is also the sire of Sister Sledge, Amigo Volo, Panem, and multiple sire stakes winners.
“The Great White Blaze” – Sweet Lou
Sweet Lou was born on March 4, 2009 in Milton, Northumberland County, PA. By Yankee Cruiser out of the Falcons Future mare Sweet Future, Sweet Lou is quickly making his mark as one of the sport’s best young sires.
Sweet Lou went behind the gate as a two-year-old in two qualifiers at The Meadows, both of which he won. Making his first pari-mutuel start in a Maiden pace at The Meadows, Sweet Lou led gate to wire, winning by 7 ½ lengths in 1:54:4. That win would be followed by wins in the PA Sire Stakes, Arden Downs, PA Sire Stakes Championship, and the Elevation.
He would put the exclamation point on his freshman season by becoming the fastest two-year-old ever in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine. After winning his elimination, Sweet Lou was sent off as the favorite in the $650,000 final. With Dave Palone driving, he made the front past the half and romped to a 7 ½ length win over A Rocknroll Dance, stopping the clock in 1:49. His freshman year would end with a record of 12-10-2-0 and earnings of $686,647.
Returning home to The Meadows to kick off his three-year-old campaign, Sweet Lou won his first two qualifiers. He followed up with wins in the PA Sire Stakes at Pocono and The Meadows, and in a Pepsi North American Cup Elimination at Mohawk.
After winning a Meadowlands Pace Elimination and finishing fifth in the final, Sweet Lou returned home to The Meadows for The Adios where he won his elimination. Unfortunately, Sweet Lou had to grind it out in the final through world record fractions of 25:1, 52:4, and 1:19:2 before fading to 4th in a world record mile.
A week after that defeat, Sweet Lou again found the winners circle, winning a PA Sire Stake at The Meadows in 1:49:4. Other highlights of his Sophomore year were a third in the Battle of the Brandywine, a win in a Little Brown Jug Elimination, a second in the final, and a second in the Breeders Crown.
Sweet Lou then returned in 2013 and 2014 for four and five-year-old campaigns. His first four-year-old win came in the Meadowlands Maturity where he got up to win by a nose in 1:49. He also had wins in a Haughton Memorial Elimination, US Pacing Championship Elimination, and in an Open Handicap at Yonkers. Despite only 4 wins in 23 starts as a four-year-old, Sweet Lou would return and go on a tear as a five-year-old, winning 10 in a row with six being in 1:48 or faster.
Making the first start of his five-year-old season, Sweet Lou won the TVG at The Meadowlands, the Roll With Joe at Tioga, and a Ben Franklin Elimination at Pocono. In the Ben Franklin Final, Sweet Lou was three wide to the ¼ before making the front and holding off Bettors Edge and Foiled Again in the final to win in a world record 1:47. The mile was the fastest ever on a ⅝ mile track and still stands today. Other notable wins included the Haughton Final, the US Pacing Championship, Dan Patch, and the TVG Fall FFA pace. He would end his career with a record of 74-33-11-10, earnings of $3,478,894, and a lifetime mark of 1:47.
Sweet Lou headed to Diamond Creek to start his stallion career. With 157 starters to date, 119 have gone in 2:00 and 88 in 1:55. They have amassed earnings of $9,405,576. In addition to standing at Diamond Creek, Sweet Lou also stands at Woodlands Stud in New Zealand during their breeding season.
His top offspring have been Dancin Lou, who won the 2019 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt Pace Final, and Sweet Ace who holds the two-year-old pacing filly track record at The Meadows and was a winner of an Arden Downs division.
Sweet Lou is also the sire of multiple Dan Patch Award winner Warrawee Ubeaut, who has earned 1,567,605, won the Breeders Crown at both 2 and 3, as well as the Jugette, multiple PA Sire Stakes legs and the Three Year Old Filly PASS Championship. She is also the fastest two year old in harness racing history regardless of age, sex, or gait after winning an International Stallion Stakes division at The Red Mile in 1:48:3
He is also the sire of multiple Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winners at both two and three. He is the sire of Group 1 winners down under, including Jewels Winner and Sweet on Me.