Not For Love, above, is a fixture at the top of the Maryland sire list and is the broodmare sire of 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. (Photo courtesy of Northview Stallion Station)
Chesapeake City’s roots reach back 200 years when construction began on an inland waterway linking the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Down a country lane just a few miles from the quaint waterside town you will find a clutch of horse farms occupying more than 4,000 acres of preserved green space in northeast Maryland.
Just beyond the sprawling tree nursery, black wooden fences stretch as far as the eye can see. On a sun drenched early May morning, an old-timer grazes contently in his lush paddock. It’s land where Northern Dancer, one of the world's most influential sires, held court in the 1970s and ’80s.
For those in the Thoroughbred breeding business, Not For Love, 24, has been a rock star at Northview Stallion Station for more than a decade. Recognized as the most successful stallion breeding in America outside of Kentucky over that time span, Not For Love's offspring tend to be physically correct and durable, talented racehorses. At an age when most stallions begin winding down their career, Not For Love's progeny enjoyed solid returns at Kentucky auctions in 2013 and at the track. One of his best runners Eighttofasttocatch (age 7) won four stakes, including his second Maryland Million Classic.
CALIFORNIA CHROME WINNING KENTUCKY DERBY
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
A striking colt with a burnished copper coat offset by four white feet and a blazed face, California Chrome is the first foal out of Love the Chase. Owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin paid $8,000 for Love the Chase, a $30,000 graduate of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, who had one win in six starts at Golden Gate Fields and was retired by her owners.
The Derby champ was foaled and raised at Harris Farms in California's San Joaquin Valley, also the home of his sire, Lucky Pulpit, a son of 1997 Derby fourth-place finisher Pulpit. The late Claiborne stallion had a reputation as one of A.P. Indy's most successful sons at stud when he died unexpectedly at age 18 in 2012.
Broodmare sire Not For Love brings one of America’s most coveted bloodlines to the California Chrome equation. A superbly bred son of Mr. Prospector, Not For Love is passing on good genes like his dad. Standing 15-hands tall, he is still a solid, powerful horse. For the past dozen years, Not for Love has ranked at or near the top of Maryland’s sire list.
He is a full brother to 1989 champion 2-year-old male Rhythm and Grade 3 winner Get Lucky, who is the dam of four stakes winners and grandam (maternal grandmother) of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Bluegrass Cat.
Not For Love is out of Grade 1 winner Dance Number, a daughter of the Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner Northern Dancer, who was known as the “sire of top sires.” The Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer blood off Not For Love got another dose of Northern Dancer in 2005 when Polish Numbers’ daughter, Chase It Down, was bred to Not For Love. Polish Numbers and Dance Number share the same dam, champion Numbered Account. The former is by Northern Dancer, the latter by Northern Dancer’s son Danzig. The foal was named Love the Chase, California Chrome’s dam.
Trained by Shug McGaughey and owned by the Phipps family, Not For Love never lived up to his great expectations at the racetrack. He ran credibly in the New York allowance ranks without ever winning a stakes race, starting 29 times over four seasons in the mid-1990s, resulting in six wins, seven seconds and five thirds with career earnings of $178,870.
NOT FOR LOVE WAS SOLID BUT UNSPECTACULAR ON THE RACETRACK
Photo courtesy of Northview Stallion Station
After three seasons of competition, the Phipps family sold Not For Love to business executive Richard Golden who, along with Dr. Tom Bowman and the late Mrs. Allaire duPont, launched Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City in 1988. Not For Love’s sterling bloodlines, plus his imposing physical presence, convinced Golden of his potential as a sire.
When Not For Love turned up for his breeding career at Northview in 1996 with a modest stud fee of $3,500, Mid-Atlantic breeders were all in from the outset. Operating below the elite level of the racing business, they figured the best chance of acquiring a top stallion is to bet on a horse with a superior pedigree whose racing record wasn't good enough to send him to the big Kentucky farms.
The state’s all-time leading sire, Not For Love led all Maryland stallions in 2013 who had at least one Maryland-sired crop of racing age. Not For Love has 15 such crops, and in 2013 his runners earned $2,922,319. He was also the leader by number of winners (61) and wins (108), and topped the corresponding juvenile sire lists.
Seven Not For Love runners won or placed in stakes in 2013, led by Eighttofasttocatch. The chestnut gelding had his best season yet at age 7, capturing his second Maryland Million Classic, which he first won in 2011. It was the third year in a row that a son of Not For Love was a Maryland Million Classic winner, with Not Abroad rolling home the winner in 2012.
Eighttofasttocatch also finished second in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes. Eighttofasttocatch is typical of Not For Love’s best runners through the years in that he is clearly at his best on dirt and is the embodiment of a sound racehorse. He’s had 46 starts over six seasons and racing from seven to 10 times in each of his past five years. His lifetime earnings total $914,585 to rank as Not For Love’s richest runner.
Maryland’s lifetime leading sire on both the general and juvenile sires lists, Not For Love had total progeny earnings of $65,789,000 through May12. His annual book and stud fee ($15,000) have both been reduced in recent years for safety’s sake due to his age. At his peak, Not For Love stood for $25, 000.
California Chrome's tale is the kind of which horsemen and racing fans dream. Maryland’s Not For Love helped make it happen.
NOT FOR LOVE ROMPING IN THE PADDOCK AT NORTHVIEW
Photo courtesy of Northview Stallion Station