By Dick Jerardi
Danny Lopez was just about to retire Hey Chub as a stallion. The New Jersey breeding incentives were gone. Not many people wanted to bring mares to a Jersey stallion anyway. He was frustrated. Then, a friend of his girlfriend said it would be great for the Delaware Valley University Equine program students to work with a thoroughbred stallion.
And that is how Hey Chub, Jersey bred winner of $441,755, ended up in the 24-stall Sydney J. Markovitz Equine Breeding Center at DelVal Univ. in Doylestown, surrounded by 550 acres of the picturesque campus, paddocks and rolling fields right outside his stall.
“Most of our time is caring for Chub and friends,’’ said DelVal’s Breeding Center manager Jenna Reigle. “He’s great to work around on a day-to-day basis. The students groom him, feed him, turn him out, bathe him.’’
Providentially, just 22 miles from the university, Hey Chub’s daughter, Chub Wagon, is stabled at Parx Racing. The Pennsylvania-bred 4-year-old filly has raced eight times and won them all. Owned by Lopez and his friend George Chestnut, Chub Wagon is trained by Parx Hall of Famer Lupe Preciado.
As advertisements for a stallion, they don’t come much better than Chub Wagon. Lopez said he is getting more than a few calls about the 2022 breeding season. Hey, Chub raced from 2003 to 2008 and, despite not getting many opportunities, has five stakes winners and offspring with earnings of nearly $5 million.
Chubilicious won the DeFrancis Dash at Laurel Park and has earned $753,628. Brother Chub has won $548,986. Now, there is Chub Wagon and her $342,800, with the promise of more to come. Chub Wagon has two younger full sisters that hopefully will be getting to the races in a few years.
Hey, Chub first came to DelVal for the 2020 breeding season so 2021 was his second year at the university. The students had worked with standardbred stallions, but those breedings are done through artificial insemination. Hey Chub was their first experience with live cover.
“It was definitely a learning curve,’’ Reigle said. “He’s a quirky stallion. Once you figure out his quirks, he’s amazing to be around. We are excited to have him. The component of the live cover was also really great for our students.’’
Some of the mares just ship for the cover. Others board with the program after being bred. Some end up foaling at the breeding center. In 2020, Hey Chub was bred to five mares. This year, it was nine.
The DelVal Equine program has 120 students. The Equestrian Center has a 52-stall barn. It is Kentucky brought to Bucks County at a university that is celebrating its 125th anniversary of what is termed “Experiential Learning.’’
So Hey Chub and DelVal have been the perfect equine marriage. Lopez, who won 1,533 races as a trainer over 40 years, gets his stallion some action while helping the students. And the university gets the benefit of standing the sire of Chub Wagon, the hottest horse in Pennsylvania.
“I watch her races every weekend when she races,’’ Reigle said. “I have been itching to go to see her race live. Some of the students are now following her and they watch her as well.’’ And, during the breeding season, they get to hang out and care for her sire who turned 21 in 2021 and, after spending the summer and fall back with Lopez in New Jersey, will turn 22 on Jan. 1, just in time for the 2022 breeding season at the Delaware Valley University Markovitz Equine Breeding Center.