Most owners dream about having one ‘horse of a lifetime,’ but Paul MacDonald is trying to temper expectations about the prospect of holding another one.
A 48-year-old native of Prince Edward Island, Paul has grown up around horses his entire life. His grandfather, aunt and uncle have all been involved with Standardbreds — like many other P.E.I. natives — but he didn’t expect where that would lead him.
Fast forward to November 10, 2010 at the Black Book Yearling Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where Paul and his aunt, Sally MacDonald found their superstar; his name: State Treasurer. A relatively inexpensive purchase of just $6,500 did not bear resemblance to his career, which lasted six years with more than $2 million in earnings. From there, the son of Real Desire-Ideal Treasure found his way to Lucan, Ont., where he became a stallion at Seelster Farms.
Paul would often make the trek to Seelster from his Toronto homebase to visit State Treasurer and chat with the farm’s staff. During one of those visits, a specific colt was brought to his attention.
“The owner mentioned to me that they had a really nice colt… a State Treasurer colt, no less,” MacDonald told Trot Insider. “Once I heard that, I made it a point to see him.”
Paul went to the field where he saw Stockade Seelster for the first time, running around with his dam Soiree Seelster, and that’s when he was enticed.
Paul took pictures and sent them to Sally, and they would continue to keep a close eye on the colt through his development. After consulting with Dr. Ian Moore, who trained State Treasurer throughout his career, the MacDonalds decided they’d try to purchase the yearling when he became available. On October 18, 2021, Stockade Seelster became theirs when he sold for $45,000 during the 2021 London Virtual Yearling Sale.
The sale price for Stockade Seelster was the third highest price ever fetched by a State Treasurer yearling. If that price tag seemed a bit high for Stockade Seelster, Paul felt it was justified.
“It was an expensive purchase for sure, but we just knew we had to get him. We thought the breeding looked right and that he had fantastic conformation, so we were willing to go ahead with it.”
Sally and Paul had purchased a few other State Treasurer foals, but this was one they were more excited about than most. Though they’ve yet to find any who share all of their father’s traits, they were hopeful 'Stockade' had a good chance to follow in his sire’s footsteps.
“If we could just see babies with the same attitude and desire to win, we knew we’d be successful. We just had never seen it yet in one that we had purchased.”
When Moore finally got the opportunity to work with the yearling, that’s when Paul got a glimpse of what could be.
“Doc Moore was training Stockade down in Florida and I had been hearing some really good things. Sally & Allen [Paul’s uncle] have a home down in Florida, so the three of us went down in the beginning of March to watch him train. When we saw him in person, it was clear to us he had ability.”
Based on the early returns, there’s no doubting the ability of their prized pupil. The two-year-old colt remains without a blemish in his freshman campaign, notching six wins in six tries, while amassing over $287,000 to date. That includes a 1:49.3 mile in his most recent victory, which marked the fastest mile paced by a rookie in Ontario Sires Stakes history.
Now, the focus for Stockade Seelster will shift towards the $825,000 Metro Pace, with eliminations set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Stockade Seelster has drawn post four and is the 6-5 morning line choice in the second Metro elim, slated as the eighth race on Saturday. Beyond that, though, Paul doesn’t know what’s next.
“With babies, it’s clear you take it one race at a time. We’ll see how it goes in the Metro. Depending how things turn out, he’s eligible for the OSS Super Final, which is in October, and eligible for the Breeders Crown, which we’d be happy to participate in if things go well.”
For now, owners Paul and Sally MacDonald are taking things week-by-week, all while enjoying the success of their rookie pacer.
“We’re just pinching ourselves that we’re here again,” said Paul, as he relishes the accomplishments of Stockade Seelster thus far. “We owe all of it to State Treasurer in this case.”
Whether he will end up being as good as his father remains to be seen, but the hope is that this horse can eventually lead to more memories for them that they will ‘treasure’ for a lifetime.
(A Trot Insider exclusive by John Rallis)