Thoughts from our editor, Joe Clancy. For archived editorials click here.

What are you going to do when he dies? The question came up and I don’t know, but upon his retirement we had to do something. And that’s why Not For Love, the best stallion to stand in the region since Northern Dancer (hey, it’s my column) is on the cover.

Hopefully, the next life milestone won’t come for some time and we can do whatever makes sense at the time – though some intrepid photographer should really try to update Barbara Livingston’s cover shot from a few years ago.

Not For Love was that good of a stallion and it was that much news when Northview Stallion Station announced his retirement in March. 

The 25-year-old covered three mares this year, and none got in foal – meaning his 2015 crop is his last. Regardless, he will spend the rest of his days as a pensioner at Northview near Chesapeake City. 

Not For Love has sired 79 stakes winners and the earners of more than $68.7 million.

He was the leading North American sire outside of Kentucky for eight consecutive years and leads all Maryland sires in progeny earnings and juvenile earnings. His sons and daughters have won 32 Maryland Million races.

All of those numbers will likely go up as his various crops continue to race.

Last year, Not For Love’s 8-year-old son Eighttofasttocatch won his third Maryland Million Classic and passed $1 million in earnings and 2-year-old son Golden Years won the Maryland Million Juvenile.

And, just in case that wasn’t enough, Not For Love even went national in 2014. His grandson California Chrome (out of Not For Love’s daughter Love the Chase) won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, received the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old and was voted Horse of the Year.

For years, conversations about the region’s sire power started with Not For Love. They also often ended with the son of Mr. Prospector too, unfortunately, as his peers either moved out of the region, died or failed to sustain their success.

“Maryland really needs another national-level sire, a sire like Not For Love,” would go the comments. “That’s the only way the industry will fully get back to where it was. We need a stallion that will keep good mares in the region, encourage people to buy better mares and even attract some mares from Kentucky. We need another Not For Love.”

When you find him, let me know.

As for Not For Love, he never seemed all that bothered by industry issues. He has occupied that stud barn at Northview for 20 years, peering through the bars in the corner stall as humans and horses came and went, waiting his turn to go to the paddock or the breeding shed.

From this corner, bravo. Take a bow, old man. Eat all the hay and clover and carrots you want. Get fat. Sleep in. Feel the sun on your back and the dust in your tail.

I had the pleasure of spending some time with him at Northview last year after California Chrome won the Derby, and visited at several stallion shows over the years.

I have Not For Love photos on my phone, right there with the dog and the kids. Some other photos float around of one visit – me with my notebook, Not For Love dragging Francisco Torres around the yard. It’s a Thoroughbred highlight for me.

Not For Love was all class, every time, and made me think of earlier visits to that same stallion barn. It was, oh 1989 or so, and I was the sports editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper. I covered high school volleyball, semi-pro baseball, the occasional Orioles game. I once wrote a feature story about pick-up trucks in Cecil County (no, not all of them).

But I found a way to get to Northview, which used to be the Maryland division of the world-famous Windfields Farm. Northern Dancer was there, retired but looking 10 years younger than his 28.

I’ve got a black-and-white photo we used in the paper (after mailing a copy to Canada for approval). He’s jogging in a paddock, his neck is arched and he exhibits the ability that took him to wins in the 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and the Hall of Fame. He became one of the modern breed’s foundation stallions – the broodmare sire of Not For Love – and commanded the world’s greatest mares. That visit provided another Thoroughbred highlight for me.

Northern Dancer’s buddy T. V. Commercial (24) was there too, a walking chestnut history lesson. Smarten, Caveat, Two Punch, Waquoit and Private Terms filled up the stallion barn.

Not For Love was a worthy heir.

{gallery}Not For Love July 2014:::0:2{/gallery}


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