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RC Royalty - Bourbon N Grits - Donerail
2, 1:54.2m, 3, Q1:51.3 ($1,628,649)

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In the standardbred stallion world, very rarely do horses move state early in their career and find themselves in a better position to make a bigger impact. Unless of course, you are the aptly named, Royalty For Life.

With the son of RC Royalty entering his second season at Dublin Valley Farms on the outskirts of Berlin, Ohio, Royalty For Life finds himself in the unique situation of being a commercial stallion for reasons not limited to racetrack potential.

Never mind dual state eligibility which is all the rage in standardbred breeding. In a first for the standardbred community, Royalty For Life has ‘dual purpose’ credentials which are now being realized with a $1,000,000 investment being made in late 2001.

Despite being the sire of fifteen $100,000+ earners and a half-million dollar earning O’Brien two-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year, Royalty For Life has attracted significant interest from the Amish community.

The ability to produce progeny with presence, high-head carriages, and a pronounced trotting gait ticks a lot of boxes in the increasingly popular roadster market.

At the time, Dublin Valley Farms principal Robert Hershberger was quoted as saying, “I think that this will be a different twist for the Standardbred industry. The roadster horse show business has grown by leaps and bounds and is now the hottest equine sport. It has been around for quite some time in competition, but in the last year or so it has really taken off."

“It’s exciting for the roadster show horse world,” Hershberger added. “They are the ones who will really want to breed their mares to him. He will be the hottest thing to happen here in Ohio and the driving horse world. The show horse world is a new angle for the Standardbred in North America. It has been a huge deal here in the USA for the last couple of years.

While the Roadster potential is unlimited and an exciting opportunity for the standardbred community, it is important that breeders remember to realize the untapped potential of this still relatively young stallion as a sire of trotting talent in Ohio and beyond.

Ohio has a beauty in its backyard and Royalty For Life should warrant serious respect and consideration from any trotting breeder.


As a $1,620,166 earner, Royalty For Life was a sensation on the race track, displaying tremendous early speed, winning seven times from 14 starts.

He captured the $328,000 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington in 1:54.4, five New Jersey Sire Stakes events, and finished runner-up in both the elimination and $600,000 final of the Breeders Crown. Royalty For Life was desperately unlucky in the final, being unable to clear a pocket behind the eventual winner of both the Canadian and USA two-year-old trotting colt of the year, Wheeling N Dealin.

As a three-year-old, Royalty For Life really came into his own, winning seven of his 14 starts and a whopping $1,277,130 in stakes earnings. His victories included the $1.2-million Hambletonian in straight heats of 1:52 and 1:52.2, beating the best sophomore trotters in North America in a crop that included the likes of Creatine.

Brian Sears and Royalty For Life simply blew them away in the final at the Meadowlands Racetrack with a wire-to-wire win that left his opposition in his wake.

He also won the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic in a stakes record-equalling 1:54.4, the $360,000 Zweig Memorial, the $294,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:52 (beating home three millionaires) and an elimination of the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity.

Champion USA driver Brian Sears, who handled Royalty For Life in all his major triumphs, said: “He’s a beautiful horse, he just covers the ground. He lets you know when he’s good. He’s just so talented.”

Royalty For Life was retired fully sound early into his four-year-old career with a resume that boasted 14 wins and 7 placings from 30 starts, with a lifetime best 1:52.2 in the million-dollar Hambletonian.

In his limited opportunity at Tara Hills Stud, he is the sire of several Ontario Sires Stakes winners including his best son, HP Royal Theo (SJ’s Caviar) who was a winner of the Gold Final and well as the William Wellwood Memorial to earn himself two-year-old Trotter of the Year honors.

Highlights of his racing career

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