Real Desire

Standardbred
Hall of Fame Inductee, 2008

Real DesireDespite modest beginnings, pacing stallion Real Desire proved to be the real deal on the North American stakes circuit from 2000 through 2002.

It’s difficult to say what was Real Desire’s biggest accomplishment on the track. Was it earnings exceeding $3.3 million in three racing seasons? Was it the eight sub-1:50 miles which, at the time, equaled a record? Was it the plethora of stakes victories that included two triumphs in the Breeders Crown? Was it being named the 2002 Horse of the Year in both Canada and the United States upon completion of his four-year-old season? Was it the fact he only missed two cheques in his life in 40 starts – winning 25 times and finishing on the board 38 times despite trading haymakers with nemesis, and fellow Canadian Hall of Famer Bettors Delight throughout their freshman and sophomore campaigns?

Bred and foaled at Brittany Farms in Versailles, KY, Real Desire is out of Deadly Desire, a mare owned by farm manager Art Zubrod. He’s by Life Sign, who was raced by farm owner George Segal (along with Life Sign’s dam, Three Diamonds, and Deadly Desire’s sire, Troublemaker).

One of a string of inexpensive, yet ultimately successful, yearling purchases by Ontario’s Burgess racing clan – trainer Blair Burgess, his wife, Karin and his father, Bob – Real Desire was plucked from the 1999 Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s yearling sale in Harrisburg, PA for $16,000.

As a two-year-old, Real Desire posted eight wins in 10 starts, including a 1:50.4 world record for two-year-old pacers in the $143,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes Final at The Red Mile.

By the end of his three-year-old campaign, Real Desire had racked up earnings in excess of $2 million thanks, in part, to the talents of the world’s greatest harness driver, John Campbell. In the Meadowlands Pace, hot on the heels of a disappointing performance in the North America Cup (where he finished ninth, one of only two occasions he was off the tote board in his career), the colt engaged in an epic stretch duel with 4-5 favourite Bettors Delight, to come out ahead by a scant neck in 1:49.3, equaling the stakes record. He suffered a loss to Bettors Delight in that year’s Little Brown Jug, but bounced back in November to take the Breeders Crown final in decisive style, blowing past his nemesis in a strong headwind, and posting a time of 1:50. It was the first Breeders Crown victory for the Burgess family

By the end of his three-year-old campaign, Real Desire had racked up earnings in excess of $2 million thanks, in part, to the talents of the world’s greatest harness driver, John Campbell. In the Meadowlands Pace, hot on the heels of a disappointing performance in the North America Cup (where he finished ninth, one of only two occasions he was off the tote board in his career), the colt engaged in an epic stretch duel with 4-5 favourite Bettors Delight, to come out ahead by a scant neck in 1:49.3, equaling the stakes record. He suffered a loss to Bettors Delight in that year’s Little Brown Jug, but bounced back in November to take the Breeders Crown final in decisive style, blowing past his nemesis in a strong headwind, and posting a time of 1:50. It was the first Breeders Crown victory for the Burgess family

The Burgess family has retained an 80 per cent interest in Real Desire, along with New Jersey’s Perretti Farms, and George Segal.

As a stud, Real Desire has already produced strong early returns with only two crops with full seasons under their belts and already total progeny earnings approaching $9 million. His most notable offspring is Tell All, the pacing colt that avenged his sire’s greatest career disappointment by winning the 2007 Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack for the very same Burgess clan that campaigned Real Desire. Tell All earned over $1.5 million in ’07 and was named a co-winner of Canada’s Horse of the Year award.