Googoo Gaagaa – is he a freak, or is he truly special
by Paul F. Spears 5/7/2012
Readers may remember my blog last year about the pedigree of Googoo Gaagaa, a very unusual cross between the obscure pacer Cam’s Rocket p,3, 1:52 ($234,164) (Cam’s Card Shark – Queen of Rock – Meadow Skipper) and the even more modest trotting mare Kora’s Trotter 4, 2:02.1f ($2,229). His breeder and owner, Richard Hans, has given a comfortable retirement to Cam’s Rocket on his Maryland (USA) farm. After Kora’s Trotter did not get in foal to a trotting stallion, Hans simply bred her to the stallion in his pasture. He didn’t worry that he was breeding a pacing stallion to a trotting mare, or about what others would think of his choice. The foal became Googoo Gaagaa.
My blog discussed the need for outcross opportunities for inbred US trotters, and that US pacers could be an answer to this problem. I suggested that horses with major Volomite bloodlines might be good candidates, and that Googoo Gaagaa was the product of such a mating.
Googoo Gaagaa is quickly proving himself to be a super horse, with consecutive blazing fast miles of 1:51.3f and 1:50.4f at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania (USA). He won both races entirely on his own, without much encouragement from his driver. His reach is tremendous, and his gait is almost effortless. Sadly, he is not eligible to the Hambletonian. We can only hope that he has the opportunity to display the limits of his speed against elite competition this year. I do not exaggerate when I say that he could become the first 1:50 3 year old trotter.
His humble beginnings and modest parents are unusual for a great champion. Some will say that he is a “freak”. The word does not do justice to his talent. The word implies that his abilities can neither be understood, nor likely passed on to his offspring. I think such people will be wrong for the reasons I outlined in my blog.
If we as breeders can try to understand the reasons for Googoo Gaagaa’s success, we can have more confidence that he could be successful as a trotting sire. For many years, Standardbreds have been divided for racing and breeding purposes into two increasingly exclusive groups according to gait. Pacers and trotters therefore have had some opportunity to diverge genetically. Although we believe that pacing is naturally faster than trotting, pacers in recent years seem to have developed an especially fast racing style. If the speed and endurance of the pacer have evolved beyond those of the trotter, then the mating of pacers to trotters could likely produce some very fast trotters. Is this idea so very different than bringing American bloodlines to France? American bloodlines seem to have improved the speed of French trotters, so much that a significant percentage of stallions standing in France now carry American bloodlines.
I hope that someone may be interested in taking this concept another step. If such modest parents can produce Googoo Gaagaa, what kind of trotter could be produced by the cross of a great pacing stallion with a fine trotting mare?
Following the example of Googoo Gaagaa, we would want to identify pacing stallions with major Volomite bloodlines. Somebeachsomewhere and Rocknroll Hanover are leading candidates. Of the two stallions, I prefer Somebeachsomewhere for this purpose:*
The grandsire of Mach Three is Direct Scooter. Direct Scooter is a Volomite line sire, and his dam Noble Claire is by the Volomite line trotting stallion Noble Victory . The grandsire of Wheres The Beach is French Chef, whose dam La Pomme Souffle is by the great Volomite line trotting stallion Nevele Pride. Armbro Nesbit, the sire of Beach Towel’s dam Sunburn, is by the Volomite sire line stallion Bye Bye Byrd. Armbro Nesbit is 3x4x5 linebred to Volomite. The pedigree of Somebeachsomewhere is also very heavy with Meadow Skipper bloodlines (4x5x4x5). The dam of Meadow Skipper, Countess Vivian, is by the Volomite line sire King’s Counsel.
Rocknroll Hanover is also a good choice because of multiple links to the Volomite line through his dam Rich N Elegant, who is by Direct Scooter. However, because of the strong influence of a 3×3 line breeding to Abercrombie that has no major Volomite connections and the lack of Meadow Skipper (Countess Vivian) in the maternal pedigree of Rocknroll Hanover, I would favor Somebeachsomewhere.
Mares with multiple major sire line crosses to Volomite would be good choices. These mares should have very smooth trotting gaits, good racing records, and long bodies. Somebeachsomewhere is a powerfully built horse. I would be careful about breeding very large mares to him. Like any experiment, I would expect some disappointing outcomes. However, I also believe that some very good horses would be produced. Think of a trotter with the speed and stamina of Somebeachsomewhere! It just might be possible.
Disclaimer: Somebeachsomewhere stands at Hanover Shoe Farms. I am Vice President of Hanover Shoe Farms. I hope that readers will believe my comments are not based upon Hanover’s interests in Somebeachsomewhere. Otherwise, try Rocknroll Hanover instead, and let the best stallion win!