The richest Canadian-sired Standardbred of all time, international trotting star Arch Madness has passed away at the age of 15.
From the final crop of Hall of Fame sire Balanced Image and out of the S Js Photo mare Armbro Archer, Arch Madness ranks second to only the legendary Moni Maker among trotters that raced predominantly in North America. He established multiple world records over the course of his career, including a 1:50.2 mile at both age seven and nine, and a 1:51f mile at Pocono in 2010. He won two O'Brien Awards, in 2007 as the top three-year-old male trotter and returned a year later to be named top older male trotter.
Arch Madness was bred by New Yorkers Marc Goldberg, Barry Goldstein, Steven Shapiro. He was owned for the majority of his racing career by Goldberg and Goldstein, who entrusted the gelding to Trond Smedshammer.
"It was very unexpected," Smedshammer told Trot Insider of Arch's passing. "He retired up in Maine with Likeabatoutahell, they were always paddock buddies when they were racing and they both retired at the same time."
Smedshammer could still vividly recall the first time the breeders introduced him to their homebred hopeful.
"I remember the day specifically...I trained some other horses for the guys and we went to Concord Stud Farm to look at the sale yearlings, and they asked me to look at one more that wasn't in the sale. The horse was obviously Arch Madness, and he had bumps and bruises and bogs and big hocks," recalled Smedshammer with a smile. "He didn't look like a $4.3 million horse, but what a tough horse."
Arch Madness captured major stakes wins in the 2007 Breeders Crown for three-year-olds, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, 2011 Oslo Grand Prix, 2010 Cutler Memorial, 2009 Credit Winner, and 2013 Allerage Open Trot. He finished second in Sweden’s Elitloppet in 2012 and 2013. He also finished second twice in the Breeders Crown Open, in 2008 and 2009, and twice in the Maple Leaf Trot, in 2009 and 2011.
“There were so many high points to his career, it’s hard to pick any one out,” said Goldstein upon the horse's retirement. “The Breeders Crown when he beat Donato (Hanover) was a highlight, and maybe the Oslo Grand Prix would also stick out. We were standing there and they’re playing the national anthem, and I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started singing. Those would probably be my two high points.”
“The Maple Leaf Trot was really unbelievable," said Goldberg. “Just to see the look on Trond’s face and how happy he was, I can still picture him running across the track. That was huge. Of course, beating Donato in the Breeders Crown was just amazing. Everyone thought the (elimination win) was a fluke and we came back and did it the exact same way. That was just great.
“The durability of this horse, year after year, he was up to the challenge. There were new horses every year and he took them all on. He was an absolute warrior. That was his greatest attribute. He answered the bell for every single race against the best.”
Smedshammer recalled the 2011 Titan Cup, where Arch Madness won by eight lengths over Lucky Jim in 1:50.2.
“He was vicious,” Smedshammer said. “I’ve always said that was at least a (1):49 mile because the track was so deep that night. I would say that was his best race ever. The Allerage (in 2013) also was special. That was almost magical because we didn’t expect it.”
The longtime caretaker of Arch Madness was Ida Nilsen, who returned home to Norway just before the star trotter was officially retired in January 2015.
“Not everyone gets the chance to take care of a horse like this,” Nilsen said. “I was really lucky. Thanks to him, I’ve seen so much and been to so many places.
Ida Nilsen and Arch Madness (Ken Weingartner Photo)
“To see how special it is for Trond and the owners, and the way other people love him, is great," said Nilsen of the experience with Arch Madness in 2014. “I love reading the comments on his Facebook page and seeing that people care about him too. He deserves that. He hasn’t been the best one every year, but he’s showed up for so many years. They don’t do that, the other ones. He’s just a really great horse and I love that people love him for it and see him that way.”
Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the connections of Arch Madness.
RIP Beautiful Boy. You will
RIP Beautiful Boy. You will be missed so much <3
So sad to hear that he’s gone
So sad to hear that he’s gone way too young, heartbreaking news.
Arch epitomized the word “racehorse”.
He showed up and competed for years demonstrating heart and toughness.
Sincere condolences to Ida and all his connections.
That's really sad to hear. I
That's really sad to hear. I was hoping he'd get a long long green pasture retirement. A very special horse, a real war horse. One of my all time favourites to watch. RIP Arch