Veteran thoroughbred breeder Larry Falloon is on the move again with new Manitoba stallion Nonios and an improved band of broodmares. He just can’t quit.
The 58-year-old grain farmer from Foxwarren, MB now has 30 horses on his farm, including 10 mares and a mix of runners and youngsters. That’s what happens when the first two horses you own are winners and the first horse you breed is a stakes winner. You get hooked and it balloons.
Falloon’s first racehorse, Hero’s Companion, was purchased by George Simms at a 2-year-old sale for $6,000 and won eight races at Assiniboia Downs from 1993-1995. His next horse, a mare named Atholton purchased by trainer Emile Corbel, won five races and put Falloon into the breeding business. He then bred Atholton to Gary Naherniak’s stallion Bashful Cloud and got Bashful Dancer, who won the R. C. Anderson Stakes at Assiniboia Downs in 2002.
“The first horse I ever bred and I had a stakes win,” said Falloon. “I didn’t know much about the whole process, but I was pretty excited. When you raise a horse and you get a winner that really has an effect on you. So I started breeding more mares to Cam Ziprick’s stallions and he did good for us.”
Falloon had 150 head of cattle when he first began breeding thoroughbreds, but sold them shortly after the BSE cattle scare in 2003, which of course, made room for more horses.
“I had this beautiful empty barn with a heated floor and new pens, and I just started to buy more mares,” said Falloon. “We bred to Cam’s stallions at first and then we bought the stallion Quest and just kept going.”
A son of Super Derby-Grade 1 winner Seeking the Gold, Quest had a decent run of winners in Manitoba for Falloon before being sold to Alberta interests last fall. Best known locally for stakes winners Queen Jean, Quest Essential, and Zen Sound, his best horse to date is Greengrassofyoming (8 wins, $502,761, Stars and Stripes S.-Grade 3).
When Quest left, Falloon just couldn’t resist getting another stallion. He’d become friends over the years with John Burness of Colebrook Farms and Arika Everatt-Meeuse of Shannondoe Farm, and both thought Nonios would have a very good shot at becoming a successful sire in Manitoba.
“John really liked Nonios,” said Falloon. “And Arika said we wouldn’t get an opportunity like this very often. So I thought I’d give it a shot. It was either that, take all my mares to outside stallions, or shut down the breeding operation.”
Falloon purchased Nonios with partners Andrew Clarke and Denis Huberdeau and is now standing him at Darryl and Maggie Lawson’s Dunroven Farm in Rosser, MB.
A 9-year-old son of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, Nonios looks like he could be a terrific addition to the Manitoba stallion ranks. He’s got pedigree, he’s already a proven sire with four winners from six runners, and he could definitely run. He also had something we all want, heart.
Nonios compiled a record of 3-4-1 from 10 starts, winning at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/6-miles on dirt and all-weather surfaces and earning $459,000. His biggest win came in the Affirmed Handicap-Grade 3, but he also placed in the Swaps Stakes-Grade 2, Haskell Invitational Stakes-Grade 1, Awesome Again Stakes-Grade 1 and Native Diver Stakes-Grade 3. The latter race was an excellent example of just how much try Nonios had in him, as he took multiple game runs at Game on Dude.
In an effort to make sure Nonios gets off to a good start as a stallion in Manitoba, Falloon and his partners added to their broodmare band with the purchase of two mares in foal to Conquest Curlinate.
“We’re just trying to do the best we can do,” said Falloon. “When Arika called me from Shannondoe Farm and said they had a couple of nice mares that might work, I wasn’t going to buy them, but they had some nice nicks with Nonios and Denis and Andrew said they would go in, so we bought them.”
Falloon is loving life right now and he’s looking forward to foaling season. “The barn’s ready and I’ve got cameras set up,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. There’s not a day that I’m not with my horses. They all have different personalities and I just love them. That’s why I do this.”
Falloon also said he’s learning something new every day and appreciates the knowledge passed on by fellow breeders Charlie Fouillard and Cam Ziprick and partners Huberdeau and Clarke.
“They’ve all taught me things,” said Falloon. “Denis is a really good horseman and he helps me on the farm. I still remember the early days when I had to call these guys. They all had quarter horses and all of sudden I’ve got a mare ready to foal and I’m calling them saying, ‘You’ve got to come and help me.’ And Andrew has been really good. He runs an oil, lube and filter business in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and he’s already put up a Facebook page for Nonios (www.facebook.com/WinnerManitoba). It takes a lot of balls to get into this and having good partners like Andrew and Denis really helps. It’s an enjoyable shared experience.”
Clarke agreed. “We’re trying to do our part for the Manitoba breeding industry,” he said. “We feel we’re on to something really rewarding for both racing and breeding in Manitoba by bringing in a quality stallion and young quality mares. I’ve known Larry for six years and I feel fortunate be in partnership with him. The care that he gives the horses on his farm is beyond compare, with specialized feed, veterinary care, shoeing, nice paddocks… everything is first rate.”
The ultimate goal?
“To win the Manitoba Derby with one of the horses we breed,” said Falloon. “But every winner makes you proud.”