It is unlikely Barbara Matthews will recapture the breeding magic she conjured up in the mid-2000s when she saw the births of Foiled Again, a pacer who became harness racing’s richest horse, and Floored, a Morgan who became a multiple-world-champion in the show world. But she is willing to dream.
Matthews, after a decade away from breeding horses for harness racing, last week sold a yearling trotter named Prospect Hill for $130,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. The colt, by Muscle Hill out of the mare Louise Kemp, was Matthews’ first since breeding pacer Tres Noel, who was born in 2007. Her goal now is to produce a top trotter.
"I don’t know if it will ever come true, but my one desire is to get a really nice trotter," said Matthews, who recently returned to New Jersey after living in South Carolina. "Everyone has to have a goal. I guess you could call it the Impossible Dream."
Matthews is best known in the harness racing world as the breeder of Foiled Again, who was born in 2004 and recently earnedcareer win No. 97. The 13-year-old gelding, by Dragon Again out of In A Safe Place, has earned $7.55 million in purses and with three more wins would become the 16th pacer in the last 40 years to reach 100 victories. Only two horses in that group are millionaires, Rambling Willie and Pilgrim’s Fiery.
"He’s just been truly amazing," Matthews said. "He’s certainly got a very large fan club, and deservedly so."
Matthews’ champion Morgan, Floored, was born in 2005 and named after a pacer that raced for Tony Abbatiello.
"I grew up in Colts Neck across the street from his farm," Matthews said about Abbatiello, who passed away last month at the age of 89. "He always looked out for me as a kid and I would ride my pony on his track. He was one of the greatest people to me growing up."
In addition to Louise Kemp, Matthews bought 3-year-old trotting filly Cool Cates in September and 4-year-old trotting mare Spicedbourbongirl earlier this month. Both will be bred when they finish their racing careers.
Cool Cates, the Buckette winner and runner-up in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, will complete her career Thursday in the $186,600 Matron Stakes at Dover Downs.
For Thursday’s complete entries, click here.
Matthews said she is thankful to Noel Daley, Richard Meirs, Rob Pennington and Kelvin Harrison for their assistance.
"I’ve got to go into this and hit them hard, or what’s the point of trying," Matthews said, adding with a laugh, "We’re not getting any younger. I’m not getting any younger that’s for sure.
"I missed the foals. I love these horses. I can’t imagine not having them in my life. We’ll see what happens; right, wrong or indifferent. I’m having fun."--By Ken Weingartner