CAMPBELLVILLE, June 14 – A $15,000 broodmare purchase in 2013 has led to an opportunity to capture Canada’s richest race for Emerald Highlands Farm.
Armbro Cinnamon was part of the Peretti Farms dispersal at the 2013 Harrisburg Sale when she was purchased, in foal to Dragon Again, by Emerald Highlands.
The daughter of Western Ideal was trained by Bob McIntosh and made 19 starts over the course of a two-season racing career, winning twice and earning just over $70,000.
Moving into her post-racing career, Armbro Cinnamon had the potential to make an impact, as her dam Mattaroni made over $700,000 and was the 1998 US 2-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year.
Armbro Cinnamon’s first three foals were all fillies, with her third daughter, Cinamony, becoming an “Open”-level competitor at Yonkers and earning over $500,000 in 89 career starts. Mcsinner Man was the first colt to come along for ‘Cinnamon’ and after a slow start to his career, the now four-year-old recently picked up a victory at Mohawk.
The Perretti Farms dispersal in November of 2013 allowed Bruce Trogdon’s Emerald Highlands Farm to acquire Armbro Cinnamon in foal to Dragon Again. The resulting foal, born on April 16, 2014, was Fear The Dragon.
“Cinnamon is a good looking mare from a family of good looking horses,” Trogdon explained in a recent e-mail.
A long-time newspaper publisher, Trogdon claimed his first horse in 1975 and began building Emerald Highlands Farm in 1982. Today, the farm is a 260 acre facility in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Emerald Highlands Farm has bred and sold multiple Breeders Crown champions, while also keeping and racing homebreds, such as Jugette and Breeders Crown champion Colors A Virgin.
Spending years building up a high quality band of broodmares, Emerald Highlands currently has 37 mares. A solid system of breeding and racing their own horses has led to success, but their most recent success came from looking for new blood.
“Most of our mares and racehorses are homebreds these days,” Trogdon said. “We do buy two or three outside mares each year at the Harrisburg sale to keep expanding our bloodlines. Fear The Dragon was the result of one of those purchases.”
A three-year-old colt, Fear The Dragon has won 10 of 16 career starts and is undefeated in five outings this season. His most recent victory was a 1:50 score in an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup.
Set as the 2/1 second-choice in Saturday’s $1 million race, Fear The Dragon appears to have the makings of a superstar.
The son of Dragon Again was born, raised and broke to jog at Emerald Highlands before being sent to trainer Brian Brown. Fear The Dragon had a solid two-year-old campaign, winning five of 11 starts, but was left partially in the shadow of another Brown trainee, Downbytheseaside.
“Fear The Dragon is a great looking, medium size horse that has proven to be able to race on any sized track,” Trogdon said. “He injured an eye just before the Lexington Grand Circuit meet last year at two and was quit with for the season as he was not staked to the Breeders Crown or Governor’s Cup.”
Downbytheseaside and the Ray Schnittker trained Huntsville each equaled the World Record of 1:49 during last season’s Grand Circuit meet in Lexington and went on to claim the final two major events of the season.
Heading into the 2017 season, Downbytheseaside and Huntsville were stamped as “The Big Two” in the division, but that has quickly been changed to “The Big Three” thanks to Fear The Dragon’s performances.
Emerald Highlands’ colt made a statement when he beat Huntsville cleanly in 1:49.1 on May 21 at Pocono. That statement has only become more impactful with each passing start.
Showing his athleticism, Fear The Dragon jumped a head number during his North America Cup elimination, but quickly reset to post the victory. He now has a strong chance at capturing North America’s richest pacing event for his connections.
“I have raised four Breeders Crown champions and won the Jugette and Breeders Crown at Woodbine for myself,” said Trogdon. “The Jugette win will always be special being an Ohio boy. But The Jug and the North America Cup would be my two biggest thrills.”
The $15,000 purchase of Armbro Cinnamon is looking like a steal for Emerald Highlands. Loving what they saw from day one with Fear The Dragon, the Ohio based farm bred ‘Cinnamon’ back to Dragon Again last year.
“(Fear The Dragon) has a beautiful full brother on the ground,” noted Trogdon. “We planned to breed her back this year to Dragon Again, but he unfortunately died before we had the chance.”
Armbro Cinnamon was bred this year to 2013 Cup champion Captaintreacherous.
While Trogdon will have his eyes locked on Fear The Dragon, he will be checking the results post-race for another competitor. Emerald Highlands own a full-sister to Ocean Colony, who starts from the rail in Saturday’s $1 million race. There farm also owns the dam of 2015 Cup winner Wakizashi Hanover.
If things can go the way of Fear The Dragon on Saturday, the link to Canada’s richest race could run as deep as possible for Emerald Highlands.