Photo courtesy of Mark Hall
Stephanie Smith-Rothaug of West Jefferson bred Somebeachsomewhere, winner of the June 14 $1.5 million North America Cup. She is pictured here with the winner’s half-sister, Myrtle Beach.
When Stephanie Smith-Rothaug sees 3-year-old pacer Somebeachsomewhere step onto the racetrack, she is overcome with emotion. She has watched the colt emerge from his humble roots in central Ohio to international stardom.
“I cry every time he races,” said Smith-Rothaug, a West Jefferson resident who bred Somebeachsomewhere. “It’s just incredible to see him do something so phenomenal.”
That something was a first-place finish in the $1.5 million North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ontario, on June 14.
Driven by Paul MacDonell for trainer Brent MacGrath, Somebeachsomewhere got away fourth into the first turn, but used a slingshot move and assumed the lead just past the first quarter. He won the race by 2-3/4 lengths with a time of 1:49.
“It sends chills up my spine,” MacDonell said. “I could feel everyone behind us and supporting us leading up to this week. Everybody in the country, everybody in the United States just loved this horse. He’s the whole show.”
Somebeachsomewhere was raised in St. Louisville, Ohio, on the farm of Smith-Rothaug’s parents, Roger and Patricia. Smith-Rothaug’s small breeding operation typically produces a half-dozen foals per year; Some-beachsomewhere was among three colts and two fillies born there in 2005. She named Somebeachsomewhere with assistance from her father and the lyrics of a Blake Shelton country song.
Prior to the North America Cup win, Somebeach-somewhere was 8-for-8 with earnings of $848,296. He set the world record of 1:49.3 for 2-year-old pacers in last year’s Metro Pace and shared Canada’s Horse of the Year honors with Tell All.
“He had a presence,” Smith-Rothaug said of the colt, whose sire is Mach Three and mother is Wheres The Beach.
“I guess when they’re your horses, you always think they’re special, but he was such an athlete. The minute he got in the field, he would leave everybody; he was independent. He raced everyone in the field. Some challenge you and fight you, but anything you asked him to do during yearling prep he just did for you. He took everything in stride.”
Brent MacGrath of Nova Scotia bought Somebeach-somewhere for $40,000 at the 2005 Lexington Selected Sale. All three of Somebeachsomewhere’s siblings born prior to 2005 (all by Astreos) made money at the races. None of those facts influenced MacGrath.
“When I go to yearling sales, I just look in the stall; I don’t look at the catalog at all,” MacGrath said. “I really like the lady who raised him, Stephanie Smith, and I liked the way her horses looked… He’s not had a bad day from day one.”
Somebeachsomewhere’s ascent has buoyed Smith-Rothaug during difficult times. Her husband, veterinarian Paul Rothaug, overcame a melanoma scare the year after the colt was born, and her brother, Scott, was diagnosed with colon cancer last fall. Smith-Rothaug’s family—including her sisters Stacie, Senena and Shani— helped with her horses when called upon.
“I come from a close-knit family,” Smith-Rothaug said. “When you’re dealing with stuff like that, this horse comes along and you don’t realize how much joy he can bring to a family. He’s been pretty awesome. I think I could ride this ride for a long time.”