The name suggests she's destined to be a broodmare, but that's not in the cards just yet for HP Mama B.
With racetrack earnings of more than $572,000, the five-year-old Royalty For Life mare is still too quick to quit.
After a stellar 2022 season that earned her an O'Brien Award nomination for top trotting mare in Canada, HP Mama B notched her first win of 2023 this month, once again beating males, in a $28,000 event at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
"She'll be stopped now and rested, but the intention is to bring her back this season," said Celine Paquin of Ayer's Cliff, Que., who co-owns the mare with Guylaine Picard of Guelph, Ont. Picard, wife of trainer and breeder Ben Baillargeon, is the inspiration for the last part of the horse's name. The prefix HP comes from Paquin and partner Claude Hamel, longtime breeders and owners, who raise horses at their farm in Quebec's Eastern Townships.
It's where HP Mama B was born and got her start, before being sent to Baillargeon in Ontario at age 18 months.
A star on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit at three, when she earned $312,000, HP Mama B excelled again as a four-year-old, improving her career mark to 1:51.4 and collecting more than $160,000. Six times, she beat males at Mohawk. Two of the wins came in the Preferred class. Her biggest payday was a runner-up finish to Bella Bellini, at odds of 23-1, in the $125,000 Graduate final at The Meadowlands.
"It was a good year. Beating the boys in the Preferred, that was special," said Paquin.
She proudly points out that HP Mama B is the third horse raised on their farm to be nominated for an O'Brien, after HP Titania Runner (2018) and HP Royal Theo (2019). The latter, winner of the $370,000 William Wellwood Stakes at two, was crowned Canadian champion that year.
HP Mama B has a formidable co-finalist in Atlanta, but Paquin will enjoy the proceedings regardless of the outcome.
"Honestly, just being there [at the ceremony] will be great. It'll be nice to attend in person again, meet people, feel the crowd's excitement. And it's always moving when your horse is nominated and highlighted. Whatever happens, we already won."
(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)