Arden Lodge is no stranger to trying new stallions and this year the Stivens are looking forward to the approaching foaling season and the arrival of four Tall Dark Strangers. They have always been willing to give the fresh new boys on the block a go, being one of the earliest New Zealand breeders to seek out a young Bettor's Delight long before he became the champion sire he is today. In 2003, four years before he began shuttling from North America to New Zealand, Noreen Stiven sent In The Pocket mare Winter Rose to Bettor's Delight. From frozen semen the result was Bettor's Strike who earned over $890k and set two NZ records. Winter Rose also produced Bettor's Delight fillies Southwind Arden (2007) and Winter Strike (2009).
Another In The Pocket mare Achieve A Dream was served a year later for Noreen and John, and she left Arden's Darlin who was 2008 New Zealand 2yo filly of the year and winner of over $245K in stakes.
Arden Lodge has also been early supporters of Art Major and Somebeachsomewhere and this season John and Judy have continued to use young sires Captaintreacherous, Lazarus, Downbytheseaside, Capt Midnight and Bettor's Wish.
This foaling season they are looking forward to the arrival of the first Southern Hemisphere crop of Tall Dark Stranger offspring. Venus Serena (Mach Three x Inspiring Dash (Falcoln Seelster), Arden's Rose (Somebeachsomewhere x Garden Rose (Artsplace), Arden's Choice (Panspacificflight x Winter Rose (In The Pocket) and Rocknroll Arden (Rocknroll Hanover x Winter Rose) are all in foal to the multi-million dollar son of Bettor's Delight. Tall Dark Stranger's dam is Precocious Beauty (US 2yo Pacing filly of the Year) who is by another champion stallion Art Major. From the Arden broodmare band the mares were chosen as being the best modern crosses available. Priding themselves on breeding from and acquiring mares from a range of families Arden Lodge has an enviable number of quality mares that can successfully cross with the Bettor's Delight and Art Major lines. John says, "It is very exciting to think that we will have foals from a stallion with such strong sire lines - two such great stallions who have done so much for the industry world wide and changed the breed in New Zealand, improving our racing industry."
Tall Dark Stranger was purchased for $330k as a yearling in 2018 and proved his worth on the track. He and Somebeachsomewhere are the only two pacers in 35 years to win both the Dan Patch Award as a 2yo and then go on to win the US Horse of the Year the following year at 3. He is the only horse in history to win the Metro Pace and Breeders Crown at 2 and the Meadowlands Pace and Pepsi North America Cup at 3.
Last season Venus Serena had a lovely Bettor's Delight filly and Arden's Choice a Captaintreacherous colt. Their Tall Dark Stranger foals have every chance of being
every bit as handsome.