TORONTO, August 13 – Susan Rasmussen has been breeding thoroughbreds for over 25 years. When the gate opens for the 163rd Queen’s Plate and her homebred Hunt Master breaks Openwood Stable will have its first runner in Canada’s richest race.
“Hunt Master has been an exciting little horse,” said Rasmussen. “He’s not very big and there isn’t much body to him, but he is all heart this horse. We are putting him in the Queen’s Plate because who knows, maybe his heart and his breeding will give him a chance.
Hunt Master is the third-generation family member bred by Rasmussen, after his dam Lady Marchfield, and second dam Dancing Leaves. She sold Lady Marchfield to Lanny MacDonald and Linda Barron, who she partnered with when breeding Hunt Master.
Lady Marchfield and, Dancing Leaves were successful racehorses, with Dancing Leaves earning over $150,000, but Hunt Master is a tier above both.
“I have never had a horse of this quality before, and never had a horse eligible for the Plate,” said Rasmussen. “And if you don’t give it a shot, you’ll never know. I am sure it’s going to be a fun day for all.”
The colt is by Hunters Bay and his name aptly combines another equine past time of Rasmussen’s breeding hunt horses for English fox hunting. She is a master fox hunter and has been a member of the Eglington and Caledon Hounds for over 60 years.
Rasmussen’s breeding philosophy begins with nicks, and then she focusses on the physical components of the mating.
“I like to see the stallion I breed to, and I try to get correct confirmation foals,” said Rasmussen. “A lot of people breed paper to paper, I don’t. I go for conformation, and disposition. I try to look at all the qualities of each horse and try to match.”
Hunt Master will be in tough on August 21, facing Canada’s top three-year-olds, and stepping up to stakes company for the first time. But he will have Rasmussen cheering him on from the grandstand, the same way she has for every racehorse she’s owned since she got in the game.
“I always say when I see my horses come up the stretch in front, there are tears in my eyes,” said Rasmussen. “It’s exciting because there is nothing better than seeing your horse come up the stretch in front.”
Image: Hunt Master wins at Woodbine Racetrack on June 2, 2022. (Michael Burns Photo)