Not This Time Represented by Epicenter and Ain’t Life Grand in Travers

August 26, 2022

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Albaugh Family Stables’ Not This Time may have had a short-lived racing career, but the son of Giant’s Causeway is making up for lost time as a highly influential stallion. The leading third crop stallion will be represented by two contestants in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers in 7-5 morning line favorite Epicenter and 20-1 Iowa-bred longshot Ain’t Life Grand.

Epicenter, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga in his most recent start. Bragging two graded stakes wins earlier this year at Fair Grounds Race Course, Epicenter was second as the favorite in both the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Preakness. Banking earnings in excess of $2 million, Epicenter is Not This Time’s highest earner this year.

Ain’t Life Grand, an RPM Thoroughbreds homebred, enters the Travers boasting four stakes victories at Prairie Meadows – two against state-breds and two against open company.

Not This Time is this year’s current leading third crop sire and is the sixth leading sire overall. His other graded stakes winners this year include Simplification, Arzak and Grade 1-winner Just One Time. He currently stands at Taylor Made Farm in Lexington, Kentucky for a $75,000 stud fee.

Epicenter wins the Grade 2 Jim Dandy (NYRA/Coglianese)

“We’re obviously excited, we’ve been very lucky. He’s looking like he’s going to be a stallion that will be at the top of the list, hopefully for years to come,” said Ben Taylor – President of Taylor Made Stallions, Inc. “He’s been very successful so far. He had a relatively low stud fee to start out with and the mares he’s gotten for that stud fee, I thought were good, but it’s not like he was getting the overall cream of the crop mares. So, he’s done a lot of this on his own.”

Not This Time never raced past his juvenile season. An emphatic 10-length winner at second asking in August 2016 at Ellis Park, he captured the Grade 3 Iroquois the following month at Churchill Downs by 8 3/4 lengths. The final start of his career was a runner-up effort to Classic Empire in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

“We’ve been in the stallion business for a while now. You have these stallions, do the best you can and hope they have what it takes. I think he’s one of these horses that for some reason, genetically, he has what it takes to get runners,” Taylor said. “I think he’ll do better with the better mares he gets, because now you’re starting to see mares that are significantly better than what he started off with. I just think when that happens, the horses get every chance, they get raised at the best farms, they go to the best people to be broken and they go to the best trainers. Everything is just better. When you get to that level, hopefully we see even more success.”

The pedigree is one that Taylor is quite familiar with. Not This Time’s dam, Miss Macy Sue, still resides at Taylor Made and produced multiple Grade 1-winner and prominent sire Liam’s Map before producing Not This Time. In addition, the Taylor family also consigned Liam’s Map at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where he was purchased by St. Elias Stable for $800,000. Liam’s Map’s influential sire Unbridled’s Song also was consigned by Taylor Made as a yearling.

Ain’t Life Grand wins the Grade 3 Iowa Derby (Coady Photography)

“We’ve been very close to the pedigree from Day One,” Taylor said. “That mare is a one-of-a-kind mare. She’s beautiful. She could run and all her foals can run.

“We also had Giants Causeway’s mother [Mariah’s Storm] here and we sold her while she was carrying Giant’s Causeway,” he added. “So, we’ve known the pedigree from top to bottom for years.”

Not This Time hails from the prominent sire line of Storm Cat, and Taylor said Not This Time looks a lot like him as well as his sire Giant’s Causeway.

“If you really look at Storm Cat and pictures of him when he was a young horse, Not This Time is dead on,” Taylor said. “He’s just a bigger version of Storm Cat. With Not This Time, you can see Giant’s Causeway in him and he’s absolutely beautiful. His foals look just like him. When you see his horses out on the track, you can see just how much like him they look.”

Not This Time has a pedigree that pairs well with a variety of different mares, according to Taylor.

Simplification wins the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Ryan Thompson/Coglianese)

“They can run on dirt, turf, short, long. They seem to do a lot of different things,” Taylor mentioned. “If you breed to the right mare, they can definitely get a mile and a quarter but they also have a lot of speed. Another thing I see, is at all levels those horses try to win, even in the lower-end races.”

A victory in the Travers from either Not This Time progeny would be a home run for Taylor Made.

“I think it would give us a stallion that would be looked at as one of the top five stallions in the United States,” Taylor said. “He’s only 8 years old. Some of the stallions ahead of him have four or five times as many foals. So, he’s got to that level with a limited number of runners.”

With Not This Time becoming one of the most sought-after stallions in North America, the quality of his book of mares has improved immensely. Mares that visited Not This Time this past breeding season include the dams of Epicenter [Silent Candy], Simplification [Simply Confection], and Grade 1-winners Oscar Performance [Devine Actress], Patternrecognition [Almost A Valentine], and Chi Town Lady [Toni’s Hollyday].

NYRA Press Office

Main photo: Not This Time wins the 2016 Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes (Coady Photography)

@jonathanstettin Another great look back by Jonathan at the king of the claimers Oscar Barrera.

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