Versatility Defined – Ontario HF

The Polish Arabian horse has always been renowned as powerful, with unmistaken stamina, beauty, bravery, and great disposition. As the Polish State Studs always had their three-year old horses in race training before they were selected for breeding, they were able to cull horses that did not meet the expectations when it came to temperament, stamina and durability and this shaped a horse that always gained respect and admiration all over the world.

There were a few families that excelled in racing and three of the greatest families stem from the barns of Janów Podlaski – from the great mares Sabellina (Abu Afas x Sabda), Orla (Pietuszok x Ofirka), and Worskla (Laur x Wilga). Most of the great racehorses found their way to the USA and many great horses were lost to the Polish breeding programme but thanks to dedicated breeders, these precious bloodlines found their way back to Poland and Europe.

Ontario HF showing off at home
Ontario HF at Little Arabians. Credit Wojtek Kwiatkowski

One of the US breeders who valued the strength and beauty of the Polish horses were Suzanne and Rick Flammer from Texas. They imported several horses from Poland and in 1989 they bought the bay mare Orlica (Krezus x Orla) at the Polish Prestige Auction. She was sold in foal to the newly crowned 1989 Polish National Champion Stallion Pepton (Bandos x Pemba), who also had been an accomplished racehorse winning the Comparative Stakes and was named Racehorse of the Year. On 27 January 1990, Orlica gave birth to a grey filly named HF Orzonna. To no surprise, she would be a great racehorse earning $72,067 with four stakes wins including The Oaks and a first in the Lone Star Futurity 1993 and a total of 10 races during two seasons (7-2-0). HF Orzonna was bred in 1995 and 1996 to the French stallion Volcano De Carrere (Djourman x Samba) and in 1997, the Flammers selected the young superstar Monarch AH (Wiking x Sasanka) to breed to HF Orzonna – the pedigree of this combination would be spectacular, with all the best Polish racehorses present. HF Orzonna was bred twice to Monarch AH and once to his sire Wiking (Etap x Wilma), producing three great colts but the star would be the grey colt born on 17 April 1999, His name was Ontario HF.

Ontario HF winning the Arabian Cup Spring Championship Group 1 race at Delaware Park, USA
Ontario HF winning the Arabian Cup Spring Championship Group 1 race at Delaware Park, USA. Credit Hoofprints Inc.

Ontario HF raced for three seasons in 2003-2005 with 22 starts (8-3-5-6), never finishing out of the money and he was named 2003 Darley Champion 4-year Old Colt. His victories include the 2003 Oilmans Arabian Cup Handicap, the 2003 Independence Sprint, the 2004 Arabian Cup Championship Sprint Delaware, and the 2004 Independence Spring Colts and Geldings Stakes.

In 2006, the Polish breeder Czesław Witko went to the US and was convinced by a fellow Polish breeder Longin Błachut to go and look at Ontario HF and bring him to Poland. Longin is a well-known breeder of racing horses and a few years earlier, he had bought the Monarch AH daughter HF Olympia from the Flammers, who was out of the Polish-bred Triple Crown winner Orgia (Krezus x Orla). HF Olympia produced the filly Orgia Fata (by Chndaka by Dormane) for Longin, and she would be the first US-bred filly to be the Triple Crown winner in Poland. It would be thanks to Longin and his connections that Ontario HR would find his way to Poland and in January 2007, he arrived at Tarnawka Stud in Poland.

Ontario HF in Poland
Ontario HF in Poland. Credit Fotograf Mattsson

Ontario HF represents the important Kuhailan Haifi db sire line, a line valued for stamina and outstanding racehorses. Ontario HF carries 10 lines to the legendary Kuhailan Haifi in his valuable pedigree. He traces down to the Ofir (Kuhailan Haifi x Dziwa) son Witraz (ex Makata by Fetysz) and Witraz son Celebes (ex Canaria by Trypolis). Celebes was selected to the stallion depot as a colt but due to his small size, he was sold to a circus as a three-year old. With the success of Witraz son Bask (ex Balalajka by Amurath Sahib) in the US, there was a huge demand for Witraz sons and all of them were sold leaving Poland without a direct son in the breeding programme when Witraz passed away. The State Studs retrieved Celebes in exchange for a younger stallion and in 1966, he arrived at Michałów starting his breeding career aged 17 years.

Celebes was used in breeding for 11 years and he left an invaluable mark in Polish breeding including five sons. The best son of Celebes was the stunning Etap (ex Etna by Faher), and he left a group of valuable sons and daughters before his untimely death at eight-years old. His son Wiking was out of Wilma (Pietuszok x Worskla), and he was a phenomenal racehorse with 19 starts (8-4-1) including first place in the Comet Stakes, the Kuhailan Haifi Stakes, the Witraz Stakes, the Ofir Stakes, and the Kurozweki Stakes. His dam Wilma was herself an accomplished racehorse with 13 starts during two seasons (3-7-2) and her full brother Wosk raced for six seasons with 31 starts (10-7-6), including winning the Derby. Wiking was offered for sale at the 1984 Polish Prestige Auction but did not meet the reserve price. Town & Country Farm in the USA saw the potential in this young stallion and managed to negotiate a deal and in October 1984, Wiking crossed the Atlantic and started his new career that later would lead him to a place in the Arabian Horse Trust Racing Hall of Fame.

Ontario HF at Little Arabians.
Ontario HF at Little Arabians. Credit Anne Walters

Wiking raced three times in 1984 with one first and two second places. The following year, he raced 11 starts with eight wins, two second places and one third place, and his last year on the track he raced five times with three wins and two second places. In 1985 Wiking was the IAHA Horse of the Year and in the year 2000, he was awarded Best Arabian Racing Sire. His son, Monarch AH, placed third and six years later, would replace his sire as Leading Sire. Monarch AH was the first sire in US Arabian racing history to have progeny winning over 1 million USD in one single season.

Monarch AH was bred by Dr Armand Hammer of Oxy Arabians and he has a regal pedigree tracing down to the Derby and Oaks winning mare Sabellina (Abu Afas x Sabda), her daughter Santa (by Czort), also a Derby and Oaks winner, and Santa’s daughter Sasanka (by Almifar), a Triple Crown winner and dam of Monarch AH. Monarch AH has himself an impressive race record with 23 races during three seasons with 19 wins, of which 14 were Stakes races, and three second places. He was also awarded with three Darley Championships.


Ontario HF at Little Arabians. Credit Wojtek Kwiatkowski

Like his sire Wiking, he would prove to be just as successful as a sire as he had been as a racehorse. Monarch AH sired the phenomenal Royal Atheena (ex Malabar Athena by Malabar Amir) who was Horse of the Year 1999, Sprinter of the Year 1999, Darley Champion as both a three- and four-year old with an impressive race record of 18 starts during two seasons (14-3-0).

Poland realised the value in Monarch AH and his great bloodlines, so Janów Podlaski sent the Derby and Oaks winner Sarmacja (Gil x Saszetka) to the USA to be bred to him. She had three colts and one daughter. Savannah came back to Poland and Saracen was imported in utero when Sarmacja returned to Poland. Savannah raced three seasons with 18 starts (13-3-1-1) including wins in the Sambor Stakes, the Białka International, the Koheilan I Stakes, the Criterium, The Oaks, twice the Ofir Stakes, the Michałów Stakes, the Europa Cup and Derby. Savannah is the most successful race mare in Polish history and in 2004, she was exported to Saudi Arabia. Saracen had 25 starts with seven wins and after a successful race career, he was serving as a chief sire at Janów Podlaski. He has also been successful competing under saddle in several disciplines.

During his racing and breeding career in the US, Monarch AH was owned by the famous Magness Arabians, known for their impressive breeding programme solely based on Polish bloodlines. His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the W’rsan Stables in Abu Dhabi pursued Magness Arabians and wanted to buy Monarch AH but he was not for sale. Eventually they came to an agreement that the stallion would be for sale if W’rsan Stables took all 120 mares in the Magness breeding programme so Monarch AH, together with all the mares, moved to Abu Dhabi.

Ontario HF
Ontario HF in Poland. Credit Fotograf Mattsson.

There, Monarch AH was the sire of several successful endurance horses and his offspring have been very successful in dressage and other disciplines. These include: his daughter Muteeaa W’rsan (ex Medeia by Drug), the 2016 ECAHO Arabian Sport Horse Over All Classic Champion; his son Al Khattar W’rsan (ex Lady Steele Amie by Remington Steele), the 2015 European Sport Horse Allround Classic Champion; and his versatile son Salute This (ex Espora by Pierrot), who placed in racing, endurance, dressage, and ridden events.

The interest in Poland to breed to Ontario HF was high and in 2014, Michałów State Stud bred their first mares to him and used him for three seasons with great results. His progeny there included the colt Echaron (ex Echara by William), who won the Sambor Stakes in October 2020.

Ontario HF’s first Polish-bred offspring made their debut at the racetrack in 2011 with seven horses racing. The following year, he had a total of 17 offspring at the track. From his first foal crop came Addis (ex Amina by Murat-Gazon), whose career started brilliantly with two winning races as a three-year old including the Pepton Prize and three wins the following year including the El Ghazi Prize. To date, Addis has raced nine seasons with an impressive 75 races (10-12-15-8)2-3 and is the 1,400m track record holder at Sluzewiec in Warsaw.

Another great son was born in the second foal crop, the grey Wares (ex Wienerva by Santhos), bred by Jan Glowacki, who travelled with Czesław Witko to look at Ontario HF in the USA. Jan always had big expectations when it came to breeding to Ontario HF and Wares would prove that his expectations were not only met, but they were also exceeded. Wares raced for four seasons with 16 starts (6-3-2-2)D+2-6* with the biggest achievement being winning the 2013 Derby. He also won the Criterium and several other Stakes including Kurozweki, Michałów (twice), Nagroda Białka, and Europejczyk. Wares had his first foal crop in 2016 and in 2017, he stood at Michałów State Stud.

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The full siblings Wielki Damati and Wielka Damira (out of Wielka Dama) had both successful careers with Wielki Damati racing four seasons with 20 starts (6-7-3-0)C+4-7*, including winner of the Kurozweki Stakes the Criterie. Wielka Damira won The Oaks in 2013 and she raced nine times during two seasons (4-2-2-1)O+1*. After her race career, she was put into breeding producing two sons who both gained success at the racetrack, Wielki Alexander (by Dostatok by Status) and Wielki Dakris (by Mared al Sahra by Amer). The latter won the Derby as well as the Criterium.

Netka (Ontario HF x Nesstika Bint Nessa) raced in 2012 and 2013 with 12 starts (3-3-2-0)2-4, including first places in the Bask Stakes and the Sambora Stakes, as well as second places in The Oaks, behind the winner Wielka Damira, the Michałów Stakes, behind the winner Wares and the Janów Stakes.

Esponna (Ontario HF x Elegantka z Izb by Mocny) is a Stakes-winning filly as the winner of the Emaela, the Sasanki and the Puchar Wathba Cup. She raced 16 starts in two seasons (6-2-2-4)4-3. Her younger brother, Etorio, raced 48 times between 2014 and 2018, winning the Trafa and Amuratha Stakes, with a total of eight first, eight second, seven third and seven fourth places.

Ontario HF winning a Group 1 race in the US
Ontario HF winning a Group 1 Race in America. Credit Hoofprints Inc.

Ontario HF placed first on the 2012 list of sires in terms of the amount of money won. He had had 17 horses racing, with a total win of €54,000. He was followed by Akbars (Nougatin x Arka) in second place and Ganges (Monogramm x Garonna) in third.

Ontario HF is a great producer of durable horses, with a strong physique and an amazing disposition, including his son Wasilew (ex Warta by Wermut) who raced for incredible nine seasons and a total of 78 starts (11-14-15-9)2-5. His wins include the Bandos Stakes and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR.

Ontario HF is a Polish treasure born in the USA but luckily, with the foresight of knowledgeable breeders, he found his way back to Poland where he made his mark and brought back some of the most precious bloodlines in Polish breeding history. His offspring has proven their value and ability to compete with the European racehorses, invaluable for everyone that shares the vision of the State Studs – where a great racehorse also can be a beautiful horse, a horse with the ability to be a show horse, an endurance horse, a performance horse, and a cherished family horse. Above all, a versatile and beautiful horse that we all love as the epitome of the Arabian horse.

Minorella (El Bak x Minorka) with her Ontario HF filly foal, Little Mona.
Minorella (El Bak x Minorka) with her Ontario HF filly foal, Little Mona. Credit Robert Green

With more than 70 offspring bred in Poland, of which 55 are race winners with eight of them Stakes winners, Ontario HF has secured his place in the history books. In December 2019, it was time for a new important chapter in Ontario HF’s life when he was sold to his forever home at Little Arabians with Jane Morgan Sørensen in England. Jane says: “Ontario HF is such a proven horse. He has raced, and he has also done 80km endurance racing. He is one of the only stallions in the world that is this proven, and one of the only racing stallions with such a classical pedigree. He has so much to offer breeders, and I am honoured to have him here at my farm. Ontario HF is now an Arab Horse Society Premium Stallion, which is a great recognition of his achievements having sired over 60 winners around the world and five international endurance horses.”

Polish stallion Ontario HF (Monarch AH x HF Orzonna)
Ontario HF (Monarch AH x HF Orzonna) at Little Arabians. Credit Wojtek Kwiatkowski

With breeders all over the world inquiring about Ontario HF, the decision has been made to make him available through frozen semen worldwide to secure his valuable bloodlines. Jane, already a long-time admirer of Ontario HF, was thrilled to welcome his first offspring at her farm in April this year when Polish-bred Minorella (El Bak x Minorka) – a Stakes winning mare with 14 starts over two seasons (3-3-3-1), who arrived at Little Arabians in July 2019 – gave birth to a precious filly by Ontario HF. Little Mona has been given a place as a future broodmare at Little Arabians, and the story of Ontario HF and his future impact on Jane’s breeding programme, let alone around the world, has truly just begun.

* The figures outside the brackets signify Stakes wins and places, with D for the Derby, O for The Oaks, and C is the Criterium.

First published in The Arabian Breeders’ Magazine Collectors’ Edition 2020

 

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