A feature article in our Summer 2022 issue written by Kathleen O’Keefe.
If you saw her walk into the ring at Madison or the Royal in 2013, you knew you were looking at the sure winner -Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza may be one of the most admired Junior 2-Year-Olds to ever circle the ring at the ‘big shows’. She stood at the head of the line at both shows on her way to All-American and All-Canadian Junior 2-Year-Old honors – an impressive show season for the June-born heifer.
Once you looked at her pedigree, she was even easier to root for – a Goldwyn daughter of Lylehaven Durham Lekysha EX-92, then EX-91 Lylehaven Leah (by Cousteau), and finally the cow that recast Lylehaven as a breeder herd – Thiersant Lili Starbuck EX-94 5E. This is a massive family tree with successful branches everywhere including Lylehaven Lila Z EX-94 25*; Calbrett Goldwyn Layla EX-96 2E 21*; and Comestar Goldwyn Lilac VG-89 44* to mention just a few.
Now, ten years after Lasenza first stepped into the show ring as a summer yearling in 2012, we can credit her with many more achievements to along with her show ring beauty:
- Her production ability – a top record of 7-06 2x 365d 42,657 4.0% 1689 3.3p 1407 and lifetime credits over 229,000M 4.1% 9334F 3.5% 7956P.
- Her outstanding phenotype in scoring EX-95 at eight years old and gaining her 3rd ‘E’ last October.
- Her growing brood cow legacy with 23 of 28 classified daughters being VG or EX, and the remaining five all GP-83 or better – Lasenza has already earned 14 brood cow stars.
- Her prolific and profitable flush record with over 200 embryos produced. Many of those embryos were marketed abroad where they captured the spotlight in both the sale ring and the show ring and she has offspring in England, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands.
The facts are impressive already and still improving as Lasenza is alive and well at eleven years of age. After a brief stay at the veterinary hospital this spring for surgery on her pancreas, she is back at Belfast and doing her favorite thing – eating. She’a a favorite at the farm for her pleasant demeanor and that she is a ‘no project’ kind of cow – never an issue with mastitis or with her feet.
We had a good visit with Julien Chabot, who owns and operates Mary Inn Holstein in Embrun, Ontario, along with his wife, Marianne Janssen, and daughter Alex Chabot. They are the co-breeders of Lasenza along with his brother Robert Chabot of Belfast Holstein Enr, a three-time Master Breeder herd in St. Patrice, Quebec. Julien is as familiar with the cow family as anyone on the planet as in the mid-1990s, he was the person who took Sue Brown, the Lylehaven herd manager, to see a rangy, black 2-year-old that the world would come to know as Thiersant Lili Starbuck EX-94 5E and the foundation brood cow for the whole ‘L’ family at Lylehaven.
“I called my brother Robert and told him about this Starbuck 2-year-old, but the $25,000 price tag was just too steep,” remembers Julien. “We had been in on Lila Z before she sold to Albert Cormier and Dave Eastman, so we knew what Durham could do in that family. When we were at the Big E in 2008, everyone kept talking about this great October Durham calf in the Lylehaven string. I looked at her a couple of times, and when I woke up in the morning I was still thinking about her, so I wrote a check to Lylehaven for $20,000 and when I called my brother, he wanted in on half – and that’s how got Lylehaven Durham Lekysya. Goldwyn was the rising big-type sire at the time and we needed something to mate to him – I thought a Durham out of the Lili family was perfect. She went on to be third in the fall calf class at Madison that year, so we were really pleased with the deal.”
Lekysya, who eventually scored EX-92 with 5*, was not a massive embryo producer, but did make four Goldwyn daughters, of which Lasenza was the first. Alex promptly claimed her as her 4-H heifer for 2012, and after a successful season, Lasenza was All-Canadian 4-H Summer Yearling and Reserve All-Canadian Summer Yearling in the open contest.
She calved in May 2013 and word spread quickly that this was a special young cow. As noted earlier, she paraded her way to year-end All-American and All-Canadian awards. She won as a junior 3-year-old at the 2014 Quebec Spring Show, but then took the rest of the year off in order to produce embryos, which were in great demand – a pattern of two years between calvings that she has maintained her whole life.
“That’s the one thing I kind of regret,” notes Julien. “Having those alternate years off to be on the flush program always hurt her in competition at the big shows later in her career, and she never equalled that junior 2-year-old season, though I think the potential was there.” They were pretty delighted with the results of her first IVF work, however, which was done when she was on the way home from the Royal as a summer yearling. They flushed her to early on to Doorman, who was seen as a genomic bull and not an outright show sire at the time. That tune sure changed when her first Doorman daughter hit the ground as an intermediate calf in December 2013 – Belfast Doorman Lovestruck.
Alex struck gold again with Lovestruck as her 4-H calf, who was Champion Calf at the Canadian 4-H Classic. Like her dam, Lovestruck went on to All-Canadian 4-H honors and was also the All-Canadian Intermediate Calf. Lovestruck and her full sister, Doorman Lust, were both sold to new owners during Royal week of 2014 and both have been flushed extensively. Lovestruck is now VG-88 3*, and Lust is EX-90 with 5*.
Her matings to Doorman have to be considered some of the most successful – in total, she has seven Doorman daughters with two of them scored Excellent and five are Very Good. Six Windbrook daughters resulted in 3 EX, 2 VG and 1 GP daughters. And now her Sidekick daughters have entered the chat with four 1st or 2nd lactation cows all scoring Very Good. Her Sidekick daughter, Belfast Sidekick Luango VG-87, had a choice of Delta-Lambda calves top the Belfast Holstein & Lehoux Holstein Sale earlier this year at $19,200. All three Lambdas carried exceptional type numbers, and Julien expects Luango to continue to breed at that elite genomic level.
Julien and Marianne are also excited to have Belfast Legend Lysa under their care at Mary Inn as they set sights for the fall shows. Out of Belfast Chief Lily VG-88, a Chief daughter of Lasenza, Lysa was second at the Quebec Spring Show before she won the fall calf class at Maxville and was tapped as HM Junior Champion.
After working with the family for several generations, Julien appreciates the qualities that helps define them. “They can sustain matings to higher production bulls. They have the width and strength to handle more production along with their consistent quality, durability, and longevity,” he states. With Lasenza and her many daughters humming along in herds across Canada, there’ll be more chapters of her story to write, and doubtless many more brood cow stars to be awarded!