By JAY BERGMAN for Breeders Crown
White Birch Farm, a major nursery in the Standardbred sport, has a history of excellence that spans three generations of the Parisi family. Once known as Joe-Mar Farm, the Allentown, New Jersey breeding and training center has been known to produce some of the finest pacers and trotters in the sport.
Joe-Mar combined the first names of husband and wife Joseph and Marie Parisi, who sent out their first starter in the very first Crown Pace in 1985 in Anxious Robby, fourth-place finisher in a star-studded event won by Division Street.
Since then the equine nursery has accumulated more than $2.3 million in Crown purse money from 32 starters.
Mike Parisi, now entrusted with the family operation, is looking forward to Saturday’s Breeders Crown race, perhaps like no other breeder. His two juvenile pacing colts Captaintreacherous and Wake Up Peter both captured elimination races a week ago. His juvenile trotting filly Bee A Magician, is one of the key contenders in her division.
But for Parisi most of the Crown glory to date has come as a breeder with no ownership credits to his or his farms name.
“We’ve been close on a few occasions,” he said. The family is famous for its outstanding pacing mare the $3 million winning Darlins Delight. However, that great daughter of Bettors Delight never captured a Breeders Crown, though she did finish second on a number of occasions.
“My Little Dragon, a filly we bred and raised and that shared the same paddock with Darlins Delight, beat us every time,” said Parisi clearly proud of the accomplishment of having two fillies he raised finish one-two in the Breeders Crown.
In the end however My Little Dragon captured her Crown event at ages two, three and five and Parisi to this day as an owner has captured none.
Things could change on Saturday though thanks to Parisi having a conversation with Myron Bell after last year’s Lexington Selected yearling sale. Bell had purchased the White Birch-bred Captaintreacherous for $250,000 and was in the process of putting together an ownership team.
“Myron told me that I have to buy into the colt. He told me he’s going to be a world champion,” said Parisi. “I am in the business to sell yearlings not buy them, but Myron was pretty persuasive and he convinced me to buy, so I took a 10 percent interest.”
Captaintreacherous and Wake Up Peter are from the identical maternal family.
Parisi recalled just how the farm began to build its quality broodmare band. “We purchased World Order from the Chasanoff dispersal in 1997 and she has been what my dad would call a `foundation mare.'”
Indeed World Order, a more than quarter-million dollar winner on the racetrack, has been a fountain of youthful star performers for the White Birch connection. She’s a full sister to the dam of Art Major as well as a half-sister to the successful sire Real Artist.
As a broodmare World Order put White Birch on the map with her second foal by Artsplace, the electric Worldly Beauty a winner of $1.9 million during her illustrious career.
Later there would be a full sister to Worldly Beauty named World Treasure that the farm retained and raced successfully. World Treasure’s first foal was Captaintreacherous.
Wake Up Peter is out of Lovely Lady, a daughter of Die Laughing that was still in World Order’s belly when she sold in January of 1997.
“I thought Wake Up Peter raced great last week,” said Parisi about the now all grown up product of the first mating between Lovely Lady and current stallion kingpin Rocknroll Hanover.
The farm has roughly 75 active broodmares and no stallions.
“My dad didn’t want any stallions. He told me that if we were to have stallions we’d have to breed most of our mares to them. He thought in this business you have to leave yourself open to breed to different stallions,” said Parisi who claims the farm would give a particular stallion no more than two consecutive chances before moving on.
On the trotting side Bee A Magician has been most impressive this year. Sold for $90,000 to Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee at last year’s Harrisburg sale, the daughter of Kadabra from White Birch’s mare Beehive, has won nine of her 11 starts heading into Saturday’s contest while earning more than a half million dollars in her first year on the track.
“We’ve got an exceptional sister to Bee A Magician by Explosive Matter selling at Harrisburg,” Parisi said sounding much more like a seller than a buyer.
As for his winning strategy in producing a high level of pacers and trotters, Parisi is quick with the story behind Hot Lead, the 1996 Meadowlands Pace winner bred and owned by his family.
“We had this Bye Bye Byrd mare J M Valinda and she was coming in heat and I asked my dad who should be bred her to. He said that Dr. Dye was standing Jaguar Spur right up the road. So that’s what we did and the rest was history,” he said with a laugh.
Regardless of the apparent luck in Hot Lead’s origins, White Birch Farms 800 acres have developed solid bloodlines with foundation mares Town Pro and Al Dente providing the groundwork to develop a phenomenal source of pacing power.
On Saturday there’s a good chance that Parisi and the rest of the Captaintreacherous clan will marvel at what could be the farms most prized creation.
Captaintreacherous & Wake Up Peter are Iron Horse photos - My Little Dragon is Clive Cohen