Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando is back!
Wando thrilled Woodbine patrons in the summer of 2003 by becoming the first horse in ten years to capture the Canadian Triple Crown. Jockey Patrick Husbands earned the Queen’s Plate mount when rival Todd Kabel chose to ride Wando’s stablemate Mobil instead. Both horses are by Langfuhr.
"I knew he was the best horse in the race," said Husbands following the win. "All the smart people on the backstretch knew this horse was a winner from the time the entries came out."
Wando’s stamina might have been a concern after a five-week layoff before the Plate, but all doubt was erased when Wando launched into top gear in the stretch to defeat his half-brother by 9 lengths.
Wando, simply spectacular, winning the 2003 Queen's Plate
“Mobil and Wando, you just can’t imagine the excitement,” recalled Schonberg Farm manager Lauri Kenny. “We were on a high all the time.”
The return of Wando should launch a new era of success in Ontario for the 81-year-old Schickedanz, who first won the Queen's Plate in 1999 with Woodcarver. The Hall Of Fame breeder rose to prominence when he bred a mare to one of Northern Dancer's great sons, Danzig, which produced Langfuhr, a multiple winner of major sprint races in the United States and currently one of the continent’s leading sires. Langfuhr’s offspring include Wando, Mobil, Lawyer Ron, Jambalaya and Marlang. Schickedanz is also the only Canadian to have bred the winners of the Kentucky Oaks (Gal in a Ruckus) and the Arlington Million (Jambalaya).
The majestic Mobil lords over his paddock
“Wando’s first crop are three year-olds,” said Kenny. “He could be a very popular horse here. He’s the last Triple Crown winner and his mother, Kathie’s Colleen, is a Grade II winner and she is a half-sister to Beau Genius, a daughter of Bold Ruckus who was a very decent sire in Kentucky. It’s a family of sires.”
Schonberg Farm offers up only three yearlings at the CTHS Select Sales in September but there is quality in the absence of quantity from a pair of Langfuhr colts (Hip# 153, Hip# 196) and a Mobil filly. (Hip# 184)
“Sometimes people think you only keep the good and sell the bad,” laughed Kenny. “Two years ago the only two yearlings we had in the sale were D’s Wando and Mobthewarrior and both of them have earnings of close to $200,000 each and both of them are running in Stakes on the weekend. We’re not that smart that we can pick out the good ones.”
Fortunately, Schickedanz won’t have to linger too long on the ones that got away as Kenny’s keen eye has filled trainer Mike Keogh’s barn with a bevy of brilliant runners including Artic Fern, whom many experts picked to win the Queen’s Plate this year before an injury interrupted.
“Gus is still interested in the racing program, and ten horses each year going into the stable is a lot,” explained Kenny. “We’ve got three in the sale and seven to race. We have 26 in training right now and 24 are with Mike and one with Debbie England and one with Neil Drysdale.”
That latter horse stabled with Drysdale is Langfuhr’s front-running son, Marlang, who most recently captured the Grade III Sunset Handicap travelling 12 furlongs on the Hollywood Park turf.
Woodbine Chairman David Willmot is pleased to see a stallion of Wando’s stature enter an Ontario sire program which was boosted last season by Adena stallions Milwaukee Brew and Alphabet Soup.
“The OSS program is really starting to get some sire power, some very legitimate horses and that’s very good for the future,” said Willmot, “The OSS allowance purses are terrific and people who want to go out at the local sale and buy a horse for the average of $35K can win the OSS conditions out with that horse by so doing can earn $150K to $160K in purses. For people that want to stay with a lower investment and local breeding - that works. And it’s bringing back these new stallions.”
Wando, with a coat of a copper penny, gleaming in the sun
A successful 2010 campaign has already seen Schickedanz enjoy wins from his Langfuhr colt Artic Fern and Prince of Wales placed Mobil Unit, a son of Mobil. But there is also a great deal of promise in recent Woodbine winners Silent Wisper and Woodland Flute, both by the returning Wando.
Woodland Flute, a three year-old gelding out of Forest Flute, broke his maiden on the turf in July and most recently finished a rallying fifth in the Toronto Cup. Silent Wisper, a three year-old filly out of Silent Course, brought back memories of her famous father by trouncing a 10 furlong turf allowance by open lengths in front-running style.
Woodland Flute whistles to the wire at Woodbine
Listing Woodbine winners by Wando will soon require several sheets of paper and more time than it took the champ to negotiate the 12 furlongs of the Breeders Stakes, but the weanling that has hearts racing at Schonberg Farm is not a son of Wando, but rather his yet-to-be-named little brother.
Wando's little brother just might be the next Triple Crown winner
“Kathie’s Colleen’s last colt was Wando in 2000,” grinned Kenny. “Maybe we’ll have a new Triple Crown winner.”
Wando’s little brother has three white socks and a familiar white crest that will surely put a smile on the face of jockey Patrick Husbands. In the meantime, while dreams of another Triple Crown flash through the minds of Kenny and crew, it is a flash of copper in the paddock that might inspire a new saying for local buyers.
‘See a penny pick it up and all meet long you’ll have good luck!’
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A slightly shorter version of this piece appears in the August issue of Down The Stretch.
Thank you very much to Lauri Kenny for a thorough tour of Schonberg Farm. What follows is a photo essay of morning spent at the home of Gustav Schickedanz. (As always, left-click on the photo to enlarge the image and then use your browser's "Back" button to return to the photo essay. Enjoy!)
Mobil, simply magnificent!
The Big M is feelin' frisky
All the magic happens here on the beautiful 350 acres of Schonberg Farm
It really is gorgeous...
Darley student, writer/blogger, and all around busy horsewoman Kelsey Riley puts a Mobil filly through her paces
Stallions bred by Gus Schickedanz...
...and a plaque of Stakes-placed homebreds
A bay Proud Citizen colt out of Six Sexy Sisters
Sit down, make yourself comfortable...
This wee foal is still a little fuzzy
Get a little closer, don't be shy!
This feisty mare is scratching out a trail...
At break time, all the horses gather 'round the water cooler
Everybody gather 'round, we're going to take a group photo
At this point, the entire Schonberg Farm brigade decided to make their move on the guy with the camera...
There is food aplenty in the Schonberg kingdom
Grass, trees and horses as far as the eye can see
The grey mare is even better than she used to be
Wando always had plenty of engine
Wando and Tasha smile for the camera
Out in the paddock Wando paused briefly beside me...I think this is where I was supposed to hop on board and work five furlongs but I chickened out.
Thanks for the visit Wando...
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For more inside info on Wando, check out this excellent post by Kelsey Riley at TurfBeat and be sure to click on over to Down The Stretch to see the CTHS Select Sale listing for Schonberg Farm.
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