• Western Bloodstock, Ltd

Triple Crown winner Mike Smith at Ruidoso Downs

June 19th, 2018

Triple Crown winners Mike Smith and Justify.

Triple Crown winning jockey and New Mexico native Mike Smith will make a celebratory appearance at Ruidoso Downs on July 8 and lead the post parade for the seventh race.

Born in Roswell, NM, Smith won this year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes on Justify, the 13th Triple Crown winner in Thorouhbred racing history. At 52, the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown, Smith mentioned Ruidoso Downs while Justify was returning to the Belmont Park winner’s circle.

“He left (the gate) like he was at Ruidoso going 440 yards.” said Smith, who was also the primary rider for the famous champion mare Zenyatta and the all-time leading money earner Arrogate.

Raised on a farm outside of Dexter, NM, Smith was riding in Quarter Horse match races by the time he was 11. In 1982, he acquired his jockey’s license and recorded the first win of his career at The Downs at Santa Fe. Known at “Big Money Mike,” for his success in the world’s premier races, Smith has won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness twice, the Belmont three times, and captured a record 27 Breeders’ Cup wins. He has also won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Dubai World Cup.

The winner of 5,400 over races and $313 million, Smith had his best year in 2017 when his horses earned $20,540,871 with an average earnings per start of $74,694. His one official start on a Quarter Horse was in 2002, when he finished finished third in the $156,800 El Primero Del Ano Derby at Los Alamitos, on Check Him Out.

“Mike is a global celebrity and we are honored by his willingness to come to Ruidoso Downs to share his Triple Crown celebration with us,” said Ruidoso Downs president and general manager Jeff True. “He is a wonderful ambassador of our sport and he never forgets where he came from.

“He told me his family will fill half the grandstand, so we are going to welcome them and all the other racing fans in New Mexico (on July 8) to celebrate his amazing accomplishments.”

Custom made posters of Smith winning the Belmont Stakes will be for sale at Ruidoso Downs on July 8, and Smith will be on hand for a special autograph signing session, where he will personally sign 100 posters. All proceeds for poster sales will go to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund.

For additional Ruidoso Downs information, go to the new www.raceruidoso.com

Hot and hotter at The Non Pro Plus Open

June 18th, 2018

June 17, 2018, Ardmore, Okla.

Sean Flynn showed Paula Wood’s Cool N Hot to win at Ardmore.

The Non Pro Plus Open Cutting in Ardmore, Okla. concluded on Sunday, June 17, with the 4-Year-Old Open Finals, where Cool N Hot sizzled with a 226-point win under Sean Flynn. Purdy Metallic, shown by Paula Hansma, scored 222.5 points for reserve, and Miss Masterson, ridden by James Payne, placed third with 219 points.

Bred and owned by Paula Wood, Stephenville, Tex., Cool N Hot LTE $223,916, by Hottish, came into the Ardmore show off of the Bonanza Open and the NCHA Super Stakes Open wins under Kobie Wood, as well as the Breeders Invitational reserve championship with Flynn, who is catch-riding while Wood recovers from by-pass surgery. Paula also showed the stallion as champion of the Bonanza Non-Pro division.

Cool N Hot, out of Donas Suen Boon LTE $315,104, is half-brother to Boon Too Suen LTE $422,455, who carried Paula Wood to win the 2012 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro championship and placed seventh with Kobie in the Futurity Open.

Purdy Metallic LTE $21,975, sired by Metallic Cat and owned by Jimmie Miller Smith, Geary, Okla., was a finalist with Hansma earlier this year at the Abilene Spectacular and Cattlemen’s Derby. His dam, Purdy Aristocrat LTE $100,403, by Smart Aristocrat, is the producer of earners of $659,573.

Miss Masterson LTE $26,849, sired by Cat T Masterson and owned by John Johnson, Ardmore, Okla., placed seventh with Johnson in the 2017 NCHA Futurity Limited Non-Pro. So far this year, she has placed with James Payne in open divisions of three major events, including the Abilene Spectacular, Ike Hamilton Futurity; and Cattlemen’s Derby. Out of Too Smart Toodie by Smart Mate, Miss Masterson is a half-sister to Peptotoodie LTE $160,633, by Peptotime.

James Payne

James Payne also won the Non Pro Plus Open 5/6 Classic with 223 points on Hot Revolver, owned by Kathleen Moore, Madill, Okla. Sired by Spots Hot, 5-year-old Hot Revolver LTE $122,660 has been a consistent finalist under Payne, including a fourth-place finish in the 2018 Abilene Spectacular Classic.

CR Gotcha Covered scored 219 points for reserve in The Non Pro Plus Open 5/6 Classic Open with Tarin Rice. The 6-year-old stallion, sired by Dualin Boon, is owned by Joel Colgrove, Boligee, Ala., and had earned $179,004 prior to June 17.

Sweat Son, shown by Lloyd Cox for Nick Vandesteeg, Santa Ynez, Calif., scored 215 points to place third. The 5-year-old son of Metallic Cat won the 2017 Cotton Stakes and the 2017 PCCHA Futurity with Cox, and has placed under him as a 2018 open 5/6 finalist in the Abilene Spectacular, the Bonanza, and the Breeders Invitational.

For complete results from the The Non Pro Plus Open go to nchadella.com/nonpro/index.shtml

Cromed Out Cat shines in Mercuria

June 17th, 2018

Cromed Out Cat, ridden by Geoffrey Sheehan. Midge Ames photos.

Cromed Out Cat, ridden by Geoffrey Sheehan for Beechfork Ranch of Weatherford, Texas, marked 229 for a clear win in the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting at the Pacific Coast Derby in Las Vegas Saturday night. Ichis My Choice was second with Grant Setnicka at 223.5, and Gavin Jordan placed third on Some Kinda Highbrow with a 223.

It was the first appearance for both Sheehan and Cromed Out Cat in the finals of a Mercuria NCHA World Series event. Sheehan, 33, passed the million-dollar mark in NCHA earnings this year. The Mercuria win puts Cromed Out Cat over $200,000 in lifetime earnings.

Cromed Out Cat was bred by Jackson Land & Cattle Co. by High Brow Cat out of Peptos Fancy Jewel, by Peptoboonsmal. The 6-year-old mare has been a finalist in the NCHA Futurity, Super Stakes, Super Stakes Classic and Classic Challenge. She’s posted major wins at the Pacific Coast Futurity and West Texas Classic.

In second, Ichis My Choice, the 2016 NCHA Horse of the Year, is shown by Grant Setnicka for J Five Horse Ranch of Weatherford, Texas. The 6-year-old mare by Cat Ichi out of Sweet Abra was bred by EE Ranches. She was a $300,000 purchase at the 2014 Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales. Ichis My Choice has earned more than $386,000.

In third, Some Kinda Highbrow was shown by Gavin Jordan for Michelle LeMaster of Las Vegas. The 8-year-old gelding by High Brow CD out of NCHA Futurity champion Some Kinda Memories, has earned more than $385,000.

In the Non-Pro division, there was an unprecedented three-way tie for the win among Elizabeth Quirk of Denham Springs, Louisiana, Jill Roth of  Paso Robles, California and Bill Cowan of Ardmore, Oklahoma, all marking 224 to earn $8,219 each.

Elizabeth Quirk on Cat Sheree.

Quirk, who was the top qualifier with a 227, showed Cat Sheree, an 8-year-old mare bred by Bill Paxton by High Brow CD out of Nurse Sheree. Quirk was inducted into the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame last year. She is currently leading the NCHA Non-Pro World Standings. She was also co-champion of the previous Mercuria NCHA World Series show at The Mane Event.

Jill Roth on Bea Pure Cat.

Jill Roth, a former Amateur and Novice Non-Pro World Champion, showed Bea Pure Cat, a 9-year-old bred by Jim Crawford by High Brow Cat out of Mae Bea Marie. The gelding is a full brother to NCHA Futurity champion He Bea Cat. It was Roth’s second trip to the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting finals. She and Bea Pure Cat were also contenders in last year’s event at the Pacific Coast Derby.

Bill Cowan on Billies Catty.

Non-Pro Hall of Famer Bill Cowan showed Billies Catty, a home-bred 7-year-old mare by Catty Hawk out of Little Bonnie Blue. Cowan is now 2-for-2 in Mercuria finals: He was co-champion with Quirk in the show at The Mane Event earlier this year.



PCCHA Derby and Classic Non-Pro Champions

June 17th, 2018

Cougars Diesel, a finalist in Friday’s PCCHA Core Balance Derby Open under Adan Banuelos, won the Derby Non-Pro on Saturday with 219 points for Bill Lacy, Crested Butte, Colo. Megan Miller, Poolville, Tex., claimed reserve with 216 points aboard Spur That Spot, as well as third-place with 213 points on Carolena Reyn, the PCCHA Core Balance Derby Open reserve champion on Friday with Matt Miller.

Bill Lacy

Bill Lacy, an NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame member with career earnings of $833,501, won the 2016 PCCHA Futurity Non-Pro with This Blonds Not Easy, who he also qualified for Saturday’s PCCHA Mercuria World Series of Cutting. Cougars Diesel LTE $30,181, by High Brow Cougar, made his career debut as an NCHA Futurity Open semi-finalist with Tatum Rice. He also carried Lacy as a finalist in the NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro and ranked fifth in the Super Stakes Non-Pro Gelding division.

Megan Miller is the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame earner of $1,110,809. Among her numerous championships, the 2018 NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro win with Dual Smart Rey daughter Carolena Reyn LTE $124,784 counts as her most recent. She also showed Spur That Spot, by Spots Hot, as a Super Stakes Non-Pro semi-finalist.

Emily Clark, Bend, Ore., scored 222 points riding Cool Cat In Shades LTE $58,714 on Saturday to claim the PCCHA Core Balance 5/6 Classic Non-Pro championship. Cameron Thompson, Poolville, Tex., and This Isa Third LTE $148,372, by Third Cutting, earned reserve with 219 points, and Kate Banuelos, Las Vegas, Nev., placed third with 216 points on Bella Do LTE $10,563, by WR This Cats Smart.

Emily Clark and Cool Cat In Shades, a 2012 gelding by WR This Cats Smart, have been earning finalist checks since 2015, when they placed second in both the PCCHA Futurity Amateur Unlimited and the PCCHA Futurity Amateur finals.

Clark earned her first limited aged event checks in 2014 with LHR Who Dat Cat LTE $68,164, by High Brow Cat, who carried her to win the PCCHA Cutting Stakes Amateur, Amateur Gelding, Amateur Unlimited Gelding, and $25,000 Amateur divisions.

Cameron Thompson, the NCHA earner of $176,606, showed This Isa Third to win the 2017 Cotton Stakes 5/6 Amateur Unlimited and earlier this year to place in the NCHA Super Stakes 5/6 Classic Non-Pro. Thompson, who placed in the 2017 NCHA Non-Pro Top 15 World Standings and the 2017 NCHA Non-Pro World Finals, won the 2013 NCHA Eastern Nationals Senior Youth on Tracker Jones, the same year that he was reserve in the Southern Futurity Amateur Unlimited aboard SF Smart And Smooth.

This Isa Third made his career debut as 2015 NCHA Futurity Open Limited champion and place third in the NCHA Futurity Open with Kody Porterfield.

Kate Banuelos, the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame earner of $633,190, has been a Mercuria NCHA World Finals winner in multiple divisions, as a Non-Pro and Amateur limited age event champion in numerous events. In 2003, she rode High Dollar Trix to claim the NCHA Futurity Amateur reserve championship, and in 2005, she earned $53,354, as reserve champion of the MillionHeir Classic on MH MillionHeir Oak.

Six-year-old Bella Do previously carried Kate Banuelos to place seventh in the Pacific Coast Winter Roundup.

June Bug Jam claims Open PCCHA Derby

June 16th, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018, Las Vegas, Nev.

Darren Simpkins

Darren Simpkins

June Bug Jam came into the PCCHA Core Balance Derby Open unheralded, with just $578 in earnings. But the 4-year-old Kit Kat Sugar daughter, shown by Darren Simpkins for Carol Ward, Rancho Murieta, Calif., took control with 223 points in the first go-round. She followed with 222 points in the second round, and on Friday, scored 224 points for the championship and an $18,000 paycheck.

Carolena Reyn, by Dual Smart Rey, bred and owned by Megan and Matt Miller, and shown by Matt, scored 223.5 points for the reserve championship and $15,000; while Nikes Lil Sue, by Boon Too Suen, placed third with 220 points, for $13,000, under R.L. Chartier for breeder and owner and Theresa Gillock, Las Vegas, Nev.

June Bug Dually, bred by Jeff and Margaret McCoy, is out of the Dual Pep daughter June Bug Dually LTE $222,860, shown by Simpkins to place third in the 2007 NCHA Futurity. Her half-sister, One Time In June, by One Time Pepto, is the earner of $71,032.

Carolena Reyn LTE $124,784 had earned money as a 2018 finalist in five limited age events before the PCCHA Derby, including the NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro championship win with Megan Miller and the Arbuckle Mountain Open championship with Matt. She also gained this Saturday’s PCCHA Derby Non-Pro finals with Megan, who qualified with Spur That Spot, by Spots Hot, as well.

Matt Miller

Matt Miller.

Matt Miller also won Friday’s PCCHA Core Balance 5/6 Classic and $12,500 with 226 points on Mistresssis LTE $165,625, sired by Metallic Cat and owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses.

Carolena Reyn is out of Carolena Moon LTE $76,150, producer of the 16 earners of over $800,000, including A Smooth Criminal LTE $137,656, by Smooth As A Cat; Stylish Swagger LTE $122,996, by Stylish Rey; and Reylena Moon LTE $118,075, by Dual Rey.

Nikes Lil Sue LTE $24,948 was a 2017 NCHA Futurity Open semi-finalist and placed seventh in the 2018 Breeders Invitational Open with R.L. Chartier. She is the first performer out of Cat In White Nikes LTE $53,026, by High Brow Cat.

R.L. Chartier also claimed the PCCHA Core Balance 5/6 Classic reserve championship and $10,500 with 225.5 points on Crafty With Cows LTE $256,430, sired by High Brow CD and bred and owned by Carol Ward. Ward also qualified for Saturday’s Non-Pro Classic finals with Crafty With Cows and is in the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Non-Pro finals with Spooked By A Cat.

Moms Stylish Player LTE $301,939, sired by Lizzys Gotta Player and owned by Robert Tregemba, Lawrence, Kan., scored 223.5 points for third place and $8,500 in the PCCHA Core Balance 5/6 Classic.

Blue Corazon wins $1 million Ruidoso Futurity

June 11th, 2018

Blue Corazon winning the Ruidoso Futurity.

Ruidoso Downs, NM, June 10, 2018

Blue Corazon won the first leg of Quarter racing’s Triple Crown, the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity, on Sunday, June 10, in his second start. The Coronado Cartel-sired gelding, trained by Rodolfo “Rudy” Valles for Newman Cattle Co, claimed the one-half-length, 350 yard victory in 17.783 seconds, under Raul Ramirez Jr.

Second-placed Suze Returns, trained by Juan Carlos Gonzalez for Joe Rios, had been the 3-1 morning line favorite. It was the High Rate Of Return daughter’s fourth start. She began her career with an overpowering two-and-one-quarter-length win in her West Texas Futurity trial and claimed the West Texas Futurity victory, before winning her Ruidoso Futurity trial.

Before the $759,000 Ruidoso Derby, which he won on Saturday, June 9, with Jess Move You, trainer Rudy Valles had never won a stakes race. But following Sunday’s $1 million Ruidoso Futurity with Blue Corazon,  the 24-year-old trainer had earned two Grade 1 stakes victories in the one weekend. The only other two trainers to win the Ruidoso Derby and the Ruidoso Futurity in the same year are hall of famers Sleepy Gilbreath (1998) and Russell Harris (2000).

Blue Corazon, a gelding by Coronado Cartel, showed his potential in the Ruidoso Futurity trials when he won his trial by one-and-one-half lengths. His time of :17.985 was the second-fastest time on the first of two days of trials. “He’s always been a pro and he acted ready,” said Valles. “This whole weekend has been a dream. It’s impossible to put into words. After the trials, (both) horses came back well, but you still don’t ever think that this can happen.”

Jess Move You will now be pointed at the trials to the $750,000 Rainbow Derby on July 8, while Blue Corazon will be entered for the trials of the $1 million Rainbow Futurity on July 6-7.

Justify? No more arguments

June 9th, 2018

Justify wins the Triple Crown.

Saturday, June 9, Belmont Park, NY

“He left there like he was going 440 at Ruidoso,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who had just won the 1-1/2-mile Belmont Stakes aboard Justify to claim the Triple Crown. Justify is one of only 13 horses to have won the Triple Crown since 1919, when Sir Barton took the first.

Justify is also the only other Triple Crown winner besides Seattle Slew to come into the Belmont Stakes undefeated. However, Seattle Slew began his career as a 2-year-old; Justify did not make his debut until February 18, 2018, when he was three.

“It was almost like getting a Quarter Horse ready to run,” said Justify’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, referring to the short time span between the stallion’s first start and the Kentucky Derby.

Baffert won the Triple Crown in 2015 with American Pharoah and is now tied with James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons (Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935) for most winners in the 99-year history of the Triple Crown.

“Bob made my dream come true,” said Mike Smith, who at 52 became the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Early in their careers, Baffert and Smith both raced at New Mexico’s Ruidoso Downs, where the first leg of Quarter racing’s Triple Crown, the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity takes place on Sunday, June 10.