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Modern Trotting Sire Line

Review from the TIMES: In Harness

Higher sire knowledge for all in Bradley’s new book

Harrisburg, PA -- John Bradley’s Modern Trotting Sire Lines is the next obvious course in studying the Standardbred breed. And the really good news is that Bradley has written the course in a clear and simple style that won’t put newcomers to horse history asleep. This means the book should even interest fans in general those people who are mostly interested in betting races. Too many of these people tend to see harness horses as machines, not flesh-and-blood animals with a storied history and blood that ties them all together.

Certainly, the novice breeder, as noted by Stan Bergstein in the book’s forward, is going to want to use Bradley’s book for more than a history lesson. The value of the book as a guideline, a textbook, if you will, for novice breeders is outstanding. Bradley has, for all due purposes, devised a cookbook for novice and seasoned breeders of trotters, and he carefully analyzes the ingredients that promise the most favorable results.

For examples, in the chapter for Super Pleasure, Bradley writes, "An interesting cross, which has shown up in three of Super Pleasure’s top performers, is a 2x3 inbreeding to Super Bowl." And in the chapter for Supergill, Bradley points out that while he was analyzing the pedigrees of Supergill’s best progeny, "I noticed that he had an affinity for mares from his same maternal family...currently known as the Lady Ann Reed family."

Having a wide appeal, anyone slightly interested in harness horses should have this book in their library, as should those of us with our own history of loving harness racing.

Bradley discusses the trotting sires of the Baby Boom era, from 1950 on, doing only the exposition necessary to acquaint novices with the likes of Messenger and the Hambletonians. From there on its a punch-for-punch look at the bloodlines of our times, complete with pedigree charts, conformation and action photos.

It takes some courage to document opinions on breeding. Even with the best and most accurate evidence, the chance of failure looms boldly. "This breeding business," Bradley writes, "is constantly changing and evolving."

To point this out, he mentions Valley Victory as "an example of a ‘forward-bred sire.’ Valley Victory is 10 generations removed from a sire born 101 years ago, while Super Bowl is only five generations removed from that same horse. This means that Valley Victory is about as forward from Peter The Great as a stallion can possibly be in our breed. Perhaps this is one of the reasons his foals are so successful."

But do not think that means this book will soon be dated. Bradley takes changing and evolving into consideration with every sire’s analysis. It is part of his formula.

So, it is highly recommended for fans, breeders and students alike to own and read Modern Trotting Sire Lines, which we are told is the predecessor to Modern Pacing Sire Lines, now being worked on. Bradley, who we have personally counted on since the inception of the TIMES: for the most accurate pedigree information in the sport, has come through again, big time, for the sport.

-Frank Cotolo

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