Special hat trick at El Rancho

Sunday, September 13th, 2015
Special Nu Baby

Matt Gaines marked 234 on Special Nu Baby at El Rancho Futurity. Ted Petit photos.

Special Nu Baby and Matt Gaines completed the hat trick at El Rancho Futurity on September 12, winning their third Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting finals in a row. And they did it in a big way, marking 234 for a six-point lead over Mike Wood and Smart Stingrey.

Only one horse has won three Mercuria finals in a row before, Dont Look Twice. She swept the finals at Augusta, San Antonio and Houston in 2012.

And Special Nu Baby tied Dont Look Twice for another honor – Special Nu Baby’s 234 at El Rancho and Dont Look Twice’s 234 at Idaho in 2011 are the highest scores ever recorded in the Mercuria NCHA World Series.

Gaines is no stranger to high scores. He also holds the record for an NCHA Triple Crown finals in Will Rogers Coliseum. He marked 231 on Sunettes Dually in the 2001 Super Stakes. Coincidentally, that was the same year he won the NCHA Derby on Nu I Wood, the dam of Special Nu Baby.

Special Nu Baby, who also won the Mercuria finals at San Antonio earlier this year, is piling up a big lead in the 2015 World standings, pursued by Smart Stingrey. She’s also qualified for the NCHA Horse Hall of Fame this year, which gave owners Gary and Shannon Barker of Madill, Oklahoma another item to scratch off their “to-do” list.

Special Nu Baby was bred by Eddy Longley’s Crystal Creek Ranch, by Dual Rey out of Nu I Wood. Gaines showed Nu I Wood for Longley, earning over $400,000. The mare’s babies have earned more than $900,000 so far.

Stephanie Haymes

Non-Pro winner Stephanie Haymes on Card Trick.

Stephanie Haymes, the NCHA Non-Pro World Champion of 2008, marked 223.5 on Card Trick, to win the Non-Pro at El Rancho over Jeff Barnes on Spookys Cat Deville (222) and Bill Lacy on Melodys Pepto (221).

Her win should move her up a notch to third in the Non-Pro World standings, where the top four contenders are all previous World Champions: Joe Howard Williamson, Dan Hansen, Haymes and Mary Jo Milner. Two other World Champions, Constance Jaeggi and Paula Wood, are also ranked in the top 10.

Card Trick, who was also an Open Mercuria finalist with Matt Gaines twice last year, was bred by Drummond Land & Cattle Co. by Lizzys Gotta Player out of Moms Stylish Babe.

The 2008 gelding has earned more than $170,000.

Haymes, a Non-Pro Hall of Famer with earnings approaching $850,000, has also showed Mercedes Smoothe and Im Struck On You this year. This was her eighth Mercuria NCHA World Series finals, and her first win in the program.

Two in a row for Special Nu Baby

Monday, August 31st, 2015
Special Nu Baby

Matt Gaines and Special Nu Baby won the Mercuria Open finals at the Idaho Futurity. Suzanne Sylvester photos.

Matt Gaines on Barker Ranch’s Special Nu Baby and Constance Jaeggi on Saguaro Ichi scored runaway wins in the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting at the Idaho Futurity on August 30.

Special Nu Baby marked 229 in the Open finals for a seven-point win over Pure Redwhiteandblue, ridden by Eric Wisehart for Roger Booth. Jaeggi and Saguaro Ichi marked 225 for a seven-point margin over Bambi Gress on Sues So Smart in the Non-Pro finals.

It was the second Mercuria win  in a row and the third this year for 9-year-old Special Nu Baby. She also scored 229 when she won the Mercuria finals at Las Vegas earlier in the month, and she marked a 230 when she won at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo back in February.

Owned by Gary and Shannon Barker of Madill, Oklahoma, Special Nu Baby was bred by Eddy Longley’s Crystal Creek Ranch. She is by Dual Rey out of Nu I Wood, the mare that Gaines showed to win six major championships, including the NCHA Derby and NCHA Super Stakes Classic, earning $405,000. Nu I Wood has produced earners of more than $900,000, including Special Nu Kitty ($301,000) and Special Nu Cat ($127,000).

Special Nu Baby has a big lead in the 2015 NCHA World Standings as the point year enters the home stretch.

Saguaro Ichi

Constance Jaeggi and Saguaro Ichi won the Non-Pro finals.

Jaeggi, the 2014 NCHA Non-Pro World Champion, will move up from 9th to the top five in the 2015 standings with her win at the Idaho Futurity.

This is Jaeggi’s fourth Mercuria win, and her third with Saguaro Ichi. The team won at Las Vegas last year, and at this year’s Pacific Coast Derby.

Saguaro Ichi was bred by EE Ranches by Cat Ichi out of Playboys Heidi, an NCHA Futurity finalist that earned $104,000. Saguaro Ichi has earned over $240,000 now. He was NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year in 2014.

Lady Joe is a keeper

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Lady JoeRead the first paragraph of Lady Joe, then try to put it down.

I love good fiction, but from experience I am leery of books that cross my desk with horses’ names in the titles and horse trainers as main characters. So I was not prepared when Lady Joe, by Mark Saha, grabbed me on the first page and held me until the buzzer.

It was quite a ride – no less than 78 points on my scorecard.

Aspiring young trainer Lee Estes never has to look for trouble because it always seems to show up like a stray hound. This time it finds him in charge of a Quarter Horse ranch while the owner is in Europe on business. One misadventure follows another, as Estes enlists the help of his hapless buddy Jim Harrison.

Lady Joe’s broad appeal lies in the charm of her characters and the resolution of Lee Estes’ dilemma. But cutting veterans will relish Saha’s portrayal of their sport:

“The brindle had more tricks than a gambler with a crooked deck and played every card.”

“The following week, Lady Joe took on a cow from some other planet to win at South Point with a 231.”

“They wanted to know what it feels like on the hurricane deck of a cutting horse when she gets down in front of a cow.”

Mark Saha grew up in cotton country along the Texas Gulf Coast. He earned a BA at the University of Notre Dame; attended film school at UCLA, where a collection of his short stories won a Samuel Goldwyn Creative Writing Award; and for many years wrote scripts for film and television. He currently lives in Santa Monica, Calif.

Mercuria widens Special Nu Baby’s lead

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
Special Nu Baby

Special Nu Baby and Matt Gaines marked 229 to win the Mercuria World Series at Las Vegas. Midge Ames photos.

Matt Gaines and Barker Ranch’s Special Nu Baby marked 229 to win the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Open finals at the South Point Equestrian Center’s “Mane Event” on August 22. The $10,407 paycheck will extend their substantial lead in the 2015 World Champion’s race.

It was the second Mercuria win this year for the 9-year-old mare, who marked a 230 when she won at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo back in February.

Todd Bimat placed second at Las Vegas with a 224 on Lauren McIntire’s Peptos Chic Olena. Boyd Rice and Morgan Cromer split third and fourth with a 220.5 on Center Ranch’s CR Sun Reys and Clarke Butte Ranch’s Pounce, respectively.

Owned by Gary and Shannon Barker of Madill, Oklahoma, Special Nu Baby was bred by Eddy Longley’s Crystal Creek Ranch. She is by Dual Rey out of Nu I Wood, the mare that Gaines showed to win six major championships, including the NCHA Derby and NCHA Super Stakes Classic, earning $405,000. Nu I Wood has produced earners of more than $900,000, including Special Nu Kitty ($301,000) and Special Nu Cat ($127,000).

Special Nu Baby’s Las Vegas jackpot will take her earnings over $415,000. In her limited age event career, she was an NCHA Futurity finalist, Super Stakes Classic reserve champion, and winner of the Bonanza Classic and the Pacific Coast Stakes. Since “aging out,” she has earned more than $80,000. Her first foal to earn an NCHA paycheck, Special Nu Metallic, by Metallic Cat, was a finalist at the Ike Hamilton Futurity this year.

Special Nu Baby arrived in Las Vegas with 2015 earnings of $64,149 as the leader in the World standings. When her Mercuria earnings and weekend earnings at the show are added in, she’ll have nearly double the 2015 earnings of her closest rival.

See results.

Brandon Westfall

Non-Pro champion Brandon Westfall on Gentle Ben. Midge Ames photo.

Fifteen-year-old Brandon Westfall of Los Olivos, California, marked 228 on Gentle Ben to win the Mercuria Non-Pro finals, earning $6,541. Brandon Dufurrena of Gainesville, Texas was second with a 223 on Purple Reyn, whil Madalyn Colgrove was third with a 220 on Smart Whittle Margie.

It was Westfall’s second Mercuria World Series win with Gentle Ben. The team also won at the Pacific Coast Derby in 2014.

Bred by Mark and Eva Gardiner, Gentle Ben is a 6-year-old gelding by the Westfall family’s stallion, CD Royal, out of PG Selena, a Playgun mare that has produced earners of $210,000. Gentle Ben’s earnings will go over $98,000 with his Las Vegas paychecks.

Kay Floyd 1948-2015

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

By Sally Harrison

Kay Floyd

Kay Floyd with Mia Freckles.

Kay Floyd, who in 1976 became the first woman to ever win a championship title in the NCHA Futurity, passed away on Monday, August 17. Floyd, a resident of Stephenville, Tex., had been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack on August 5.

In addition to her ground-breaking win on Mia Freckles in the Non-Pro division of the 1976 NCHA Futurity, Floyd won the 1987 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro title riding Playfulena, making her the first woman to ever win two NCHA Futurity championships.

A member of the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame, Floyd also won the 1988 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship on Playboys Madera. Playfulena and Playboys Madera were both sired by Freckles Playboy, the influential cutting stallion bred by the late Marion Flynt, Midland, Tex., and acquired by Floyd, after Flynt’s death.

Born in Fort Wayne, Ind., Floyd came to Texas in the mid-1960s with Delight Lee, who owned the famous cutting stallion Rey Jay. Floyd stayed in Texas to work at Marion Flynt’s Square Top Three Ranch, home to NCHA world champion Marion’s Girl; Rey Jay, who Flynt had acquired from Delight and Tom Lee; Jewel’s Leo Bars; and Freckles Playboy.

“Kay worked for me for fifteen years,” Flynt told me in 1987. “She didn’t know anything about a cutting horse, but I started her off and she made a good hand. When I sold out, I gave her fifteen or twenty of those horses. (Now) she’s as good a judge of horse flesh as any man.”

It was Floyd, joined by a coalition of other prominent cutting horse breeders, who initiated a lawsuit against the American Quarter Horse Association for limiting the number of foals that could be registered every year from one mare. In June 2002, an out-of-court settlement was reached and AQHA lifted its one foal per year restriction, making it possible for breeders to register all foals produced in the same year from one mare, whether they were conceived by live cover or through embryo transfer.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, or to the faith-based charity of one’s choice.

Metallic Cat leads Triple Crown sires

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Beau and Ashley Galyean's Pedaltothemedal was Metallic Cat's top money earner of the 2014/2015 NCHA Triple Crown.

The 2014/2015 NCHA Triple Crown calendar concluded with the NCHA Summer Spectacular on August 1. Within the course of all age divisions and classes during the that eight-month time span, the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Summer Spectacular, paid out a grand total of $9,694,784 in purse money.

Metallic Cat was the leading sire of the three shows, with offspring earnings of $1,665,312. Eighty-four of his sons and daughters contributed to his total, with nine individuals earning $50,000 or more: Pedaltothemedal ($108,430), Metallic Mandy ($97,860), Metallic Little Cat ($77,613), Pedel To The Metall ($75,000), Playin Heavy Metal ($68,352), Metallic Autumn ($68,088), Stars Freckled Girl ($65,973), Metalic Man ($57,389), and Metallic Manziel ($50,643).

Here’s a look at the Top 50 sires of the 2014/2015 NCHA Triple Crown season:

Triple Crown Sires

1 Metallic Cat $1,665,312
2 High Brow Cat $1,222,610
3 Dual Rey $1,158,443
4 Smooth As A Cat $740,910
5 One Time Pepto $688,420
6 High Brow CD $524,191
7 Im Countin Checks $260,598
8 Hydrive Cat $215,106
9 Woody Be Tuff $198,651
10 Halreycious $179,572
11 Third Cutting $176,933
12 Hes A Peptospoonful $153,173
13 Nitas Wood $141,056
14 Cat T Masterson $130,936
15 Peptoboonsmal $122,810
16 Athena Puddy Cat $114,387
17 Sweet Lil Pepto $114,275
18 Cats Merada $107,231
19 Boon Too Suen $102,641
20 CD Lights $80,302
21 CD Olena $75,454
22 Reys Dual Badger $75,194
23 Boon San $72,144
24 Light N Lena $67,240
25 Catty Hawk $67,113
26 WR This Cats Smart $64,592
27 Thomas E Hughes $63,540
28 Cat Ichi $61,927
29 Dual Smart Rey $61,827
30 Cats Moonshine $53,724
31 Cats Quixote Jack $52,701
32 Sophisticated Catt $50,202
33 Lizzys Gotta Player $45,451
34 Dualin Boon $43,981
35 Smart Royal Rey $39,071
36 CD Royal $35,867
37 Spots Hot $35,827
38 Palo Duro Cat $33,001
39 Stylin Cat $31,205
40 That Sly Cat $28,220
41 Peeka Pep $28,087
42 Peptotime $26,824
43 TR Dual Rey $25,555
44 Dual Pep $24,870
45 Fantastic Cat $24,523
46 San Tule Freckles $19,496
47 Vaca Rey $19,311
48 Wilds My Thing $18,126
49 Scootin Boon $17,899
50 Dealnwithacoolcat $16,946

The title fits: NCHA Summer ‘Spectacular Sale’

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Miss Aristolcrat. Jim Arnold photo

The 2015 NCHA Summer Spectacular Sale, produced by Western Bloodstock Ltd., lived up to its name on Saturday, August 1, at Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, when 135 horses sold for $1,359,350.

The average of $10,069 represented a 14% increase over that of the 2014 sale, with a healthy market indicator of 86% completed sales from the 158 head offered. The Top Five sellers averaged $52,600 – a 36% increase over 2014, while a total of 18 horses sold for $20,000 or more.

“We had more consignments for this sale than last year and it was strong from beginning to end,” said Western Bloodstock Ltd.‘s Jeremy Barwick. “Buyers were really pleased with the quality of horses they had to choose from. Trained horses were in high demand, as well as broodmares and yearlings.”

Three-year-old Miss Aristolcrat, a gray mare sired by Boon A Little and in training with Jaime Beamer, was the sale topper at $85,000. The gray mare was consigned by Brad Benson and purchased by non-pro competitor Robert and Carrie Tiemann, Pflugerville, Tex.

The 6-year-old Dual Smart Rey daughter Scooters Daisy Dukes LTE $77,478 was the high-selling show horse at $60,000. Consigned by Taylor Carbo, who showed her to win the 2015 Bonanza Unlimited Amateur championship, she was purchased by Aaron Cook, Burleson, Tex. Carbo also sold 5-year-old Who Dat Kitty LTE $28,404 for $37,000 to Brenda Pieper, Marietta, Okla.

At $40,000, 7-year-old Casey Catt LTE $105,192 was the NCHA Summer Spectacular Sale’s high-selling male, as well as the high-selling gelding. Consigned by CJ Performance Horses, the Sophisticated Catt son was purchased by Keith McMahan, Mounds, Okla.

That Kotn Pikn Pepto, also at $40,000, was the sale’s high-selling 4-year-old. Consigned by Woolf Ranch, the red roan One Time Pepto daughter, earner of $9,343 and in training with Andy Sherrerd, sold to Kenneth Warner, McConnells, S.C.

High-selling 5-year-old That Smarts Cat was consigned by Brad Benson and purchased for $38,000 by Crown Ranch, Weatherford, Tex. The High Brow Cat daughter, earner of $3,252, is a full sister, out of That Smarts, to five earners each of $100,000 or more, including Pappion Cat LTE $364,783 and That Cool Cat LTE $234,174.

Panolas Sugar Boon, with an ET for 2016 by Highbrow Cat, was the sales high-selling broodmare at $30,000. The 12-year-old Peptoboonsmal daughter, dam of three NCHA money earners, was consigned by Brad Benson and purchased by Troy Stewart, May. Tex.

“I was pleased with the crowd we had throughout the sale,” noted Barwick. “And I am also grateful for all the support we get from consignors and buyers.”

Visit to view complete results and the catalog of the NCHA Summer Spectacular Sale, as well as information and listings for upcoming Western Bloodstock Ltd. Sales, including Walton’s Rocking W Ranch Absolute Dispersal, September 21 and 22, at Walton’s Rocking W Ranch, Millsap, Tex.; The Center Ranch Production Sale, October 9 and 10, at Center Ranch, Centerville, Tex; and the NCHA Futurity Sales, December 7 through December 12, Will Rogers Equestrian Center, Fort Worth, Tex.


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