The most powerful group of broodmares in Manitoba is currently hiding out in the snow and bush at tire shop owner Charlie Fouillard’s farm in St. Lazare, MB, getting ready to give Fouillard and his partner Cam Ziprick yet another crop of stakes winners.

Fouillard has been teamed up with Manitoba’s top thoroughbred breeder, Ziprick, for almost 10 years now, but the tire shop owner doesn’t bring a large consignment to the local yearling sale every year, nor does he attend the races often, so not many people know who he is. And besides, the 52-year-old married father of four and former dairy farmer is too busy working.

He does chores in the morning before going to work at his busy tire shop in St. Lazare, and in the evening when he gets home. That includes caring for the mares he’s going to breed to top Manitoba stallions Going Commando and True Sense this spring.

Neighbour and fellow breeder Larry Falloon, who had a stakes-producing mare named Atholton the pair bred to Ziprick’s stallion Battle Cat, first introduced Fouillard to thoroughbred breeding about 14 years ago. Soon afterwards, Ziprick asked Fouillard to partner with him on a horse from Toronto and the horse won two races for them before being claimed away. Fouillard and Ziprick then began to partner on broodmares and they now have eight mares together. How did Fouillard go from one mare to eight?

“Too may drinks in my office at the barn,” said Fouillard, who had previously bred Quarter Horses for the cutting horse market. “But Cam was the right guy to get involved with. You could tell he had a good eye for horses. Every time I’m with him I learn something new.”

Ziprick was indeed the right man to get involved with when it came to breeding thoroughbreds in Manitoba. He’s been the top breeder in Manitoba for more than a decade now and every time he tries to slow down, his mares produce another stakes winner, or more.

Fouillard now keeps most of their mares on his farm, while Ziprick also houses a few mares along with weanlings and yearlings. Manitoba’s leading sire Going Commando (Unbridled’s Song—Regal Miss Copelan, by Copelan), who ranks second in Canada this year by number of stakes winners (four) and number of stakes won (12), goes to Ziprick’s during the winter and back to Fouillard’s place in the spring for breeding, while True Sense (Street Cry (IRE)—Bedazzle, by Dixieland Band), a full brother to 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, resides at Fouillard’s place year around.

Matings to the two stallions has been about even over the past few years according to Fouillard, but True Sense is going to get an even better chance at establishing himself this spring with both old and new mares. Still, the two rival sires will be sharing mares that have either won stakes or produced stakes winners year after year in Manitoba.

Fouillard will breed the stallions up to three times a day during the breeding season, and there is definitely a little competition going on for the mares.

“They know what’s going on,” said Fouillard. “They look at each other pretty hard. When we take a mare out they notice.”

The mares they’ll be eyeing this year include R.C. Anderson Stakes winners She’s Regal and Nose the Pose, who are both in foal to True Sense and will be bred back to True Sense; stakes-producer She Is Impressive, who is in foal to True Sense and will be bred back to Going Commando; stakes-producer Jungle Storm, in foal to True Sense and scheduled to be bred to Going Commando; multiple stakes-winner Jungle Story, open and waiting to be bred to Going Commando; stakes-producer Midnight Shadow, open and ready for a date with True Sense; stakes-producer High Pioneer, who is owned in partnership with top Manitoba owner-breeder Barry Arnason, in foal to Going Commando and likely being bred back to that sire for good reason. High Pioneer is the dam of Frank Arnason Sire Stakes winner Jet Again, who was a top Manitoba-bred by Going Commando in 2013 and 2014 before being sidelined with an injury.

The mares stay outside during the winter and they seem to thrive on it.

“They get second cut alfalfa, grain twice a day and minerals,” said Fouillard. “‘They like to be out. They’re well sheltered and well bedded. We bring them in about a month before foaling. That’s the most enjoyable part, seeing what the next foal looks like. We’re always anxious to see what the new babies will look like. When they get to the races, sometimes I’ll go on a weekend. Other times I’ll watch them run on the computer. But you always hope they do well.”

The star on-track performers bred by the partnership of Ziprick and Fouillard in 2017 were headlined by Langara and Why So Blue.

Langara (Langfuhr—Midnight Shadow by Trajectory), one the gamest horses in Manitoba, won five of nine starts in 2017 including the Phil Kives Stakes at Assiniboia Downs and the $50,000 CTHS Sales Stakes at Century Downs. Why So Blue (Going Commando—Jungle Storm by Storm Boot) was a perfect three-for-three in 2017 as a 2-year-old, dominating the local youngsters with victories in both the CTHS Stakes and the Buffalo Stakes at Assiniboia Downs.

“I just love it,” said Fouillard. “It’s relaxation therapy. The breeders’ bonuses are nice but I don’t do it for the money. I do it for the enjoyment. If I didn’t have to go to the tire shop every day, this is where I’d be. This would be my dream job. I just love working with horses.”

Another probable reason the stakes winners keep coming.

– stallion stats from Brisnet