New Tall Dark Stranger in Town

Over the week, Macca Lodge in Southland became home to the first colt bred in New Zealand by harness racing stallion Tall Dark Stranger (The pleasure of bettors).

Rocknroll Arden and her foal Tall Dark Stranger (Judy Stiven Photo)

The colt was born on Wednesday and is out of Rocknroll Arden (Rocknroll Hannover) owned by West Otago breeders John and Judy Stiven.

“He’s up there with the best colts he has left according to Mister Macca (Brent McIntyre),” John Stiven said.

Tall Dark Stranger was a $330,000 yearling buy at the 2018 Lexington Select Sale. He has great depth to his pedigree. His mother Precocious Beauty. world champion Dan Patch and O’Brien Award Two-Year-Old Filly of the Year, is also a sister to successful pacing sire Sportswriter and a sister to Swinging Beauty ($893,268) and from Downbytheseaside’s grandmother ($2,179,558).

Big Dark Stranger

His victories as a two-year-old included the $750,000 Metro Stakes final and the $600,000 Breeders’ Crown final, while at three he won the North American Cup final at $1 million and the Meadowlands Pace final.

Tall Dark Stranger ran a mile at age three in 1-47.1 and won over $2 million.

In his first season at stud in America he covered nineteen millionaire mares, and his 2022 book is full and closed there. His New Zealand and Australian book is limited to just sixty mares.

“For me he was one of the best horses to come off the track since Somebeachsomewhere. He was sensational on the track and he is by Bettor’s Delight and an Art Major mare who is one of Australasia’s great crosses. His Maternal side is as good as it gets. All of those things added up, so I’m giving it a good shot.

Tall Dark Stranger sits at $16,000 in New Zealand, which Stiven says is pretty high for a first-season bull.

“That’s often when these high-end colts go off the track. Americans like to get into it the first year. He’s only bred something like twenty-five mares here, so we should have something a little unique for sales.

Rocknroll Arden won six races in his twenty-seven race career.

Rocknroll Arden and her foal Tall Dark Stranger (Judy Stiven Photo)

His victories included the Group Three Caduceus Club of Southland/Nevele R Fillies Classic. She has placed in the group of many hallmark fillies including Group Three American Ideal Stakes, Group One Sires Stakes Championship, Group One Two Year Old Diamond, Group One Sires Stakes Fillies Championship, Group One Northern Oaks and the Group One Nevele R Fillies Series Final. During her three years she raced against Venus Serena, Ideal Belle, Raksdeal and Willow.

As a broodmare, Rocknroll Arden left Arden Roanoke (13 and $111,635) and Arden Delight (3). The mare’s 2020 colt by Captaintreacherous was purchased by JC International for $40,000 at the 2022 NZB Standardbred sale in Christchurch.

The Stivens are now awaiting the birth of three more Tall Dark Stranger foals, with Arden’s Rose (Somebeachsomewhere-unreleased), Arden’s Choice (Panspacificflight-7 wins) and Venus Serena (Mach Three-16 wins) all due. Exciting times ahead.

by Bruce Stewartfor Harnesslink

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