Archive for October, 2006

Dont Let Down didn’t

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Dont Let Down, third on Labor Day in the $2 million All American Quarter Horse Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, powered home as the odds-on favorite to beat First Freeze by a half-length in the $426,375 Grade 1 Dash For Cash Futurity, at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on October 28.

Ridden by Juan Vazquez, Dont Let Down ran 400 yards in :19.713. The win, worth $170,550, was the fifth in nine starts for the gelded son of Stoli, who is trained by John Buchanan for Bobby Cox, Peaster, TX.

“After I bought (the stallion) Invisible Injun, I had to have some of his offspring to run so I bought a couple in the All American,” said Cox, who is the chairman of Schlotsky’s restaurants. “His mother happened to be one of them. She ran pretty well for us and this was her first baby. The ‘Don’t Let Down’ came from (the saying) ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ It’s been a tough road here – I’ve been trying to win this thing for 20 years. So it’s a great win.” 

“He’s just a natural 400 to 440-yard horse,” said Buchanan of  Dont Let Down, whose earnings now stand at $384,757. “He can run the other distances, but it’s just easier for him to run this. He handled Ruidoso, but he likes Texas better. He likes more oxygen.”

In June, Dont Let Down placed third in the Grade 1 Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park.

“In the Heritage Place, he stumbled a little bit, but came back and ran third,” noted Vazquez. “He had a good chance to win the All American, but he had a little trouble. He’s a hell of a baby with so much talent and I think he deserved to win a Grade 1.”

This was the second Dash For Cash Futurity for Buchanan and Vazquez, who won the 2000 renewal with Joshua Harner’s Pivotal Decision.

Hall of Fame trainer Jack Brooks claimed his fourth Dash For Cash Derby win, when Ima Ramblin Girl, under J.R. Carter, prevailed by a half-length over Adrians Jolla. The 440-yard victory was worth $77,320. The First Down Dash daughter, bred and owned by Walter and Pat Fletcher of Lakin, KS, is half-sister to Heza Ramblin Man, earner of $750,987, and two-time winner of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Invitational Championship.

Walter Fletcher is current president of the American Quarter Horse Association. He and Pat have raised the race earners of nearly $2 million.

Both Dont Let Down and Ima Ramblin Girl were the fastest qualifiers for their respective division trials.

Brooks and Carter also teamed to win the $47,375 Dash For Cash Juvenile Stakes with the two-year-old gelding Valiant Hero, by First Down Dash.

Pats Mate lookin’ great

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Pats Mate, ridden by Tracy Barton (pictured) for Ernie and Jean Causey, claimed the Southern Futurity championship with 220 points in Jackson, MS, on October 27. It was the fourth time the 3-year-old gelded son of Smart Mate has qualified for a futurity finals and the first big win for the Causeys, who live in Loris, SC.

Cetas Ahoy Mate, another Smart Mate son trained by Barton, won the Southern Futurity Non-Pro championship under Kirkland Gruber, Saint George, SC. Barton was also reserve champion at the recent All American Quarter Horse Congress on Gruber’s gelding.

“I felt really fortunate to win this year,” said Barton, who has now won the Southern Futurity three times (Playin Shorty in 2004 and Cats High Noon in 2003) and has been reserve champion twice. “There were a lot of well-trained horses that probably could have gone to the big (NCHA) Futurity. Steve Colclasure had an awesome horse. Austin (Shepard) drew up last, but he can show a stick horse and beat you.”

Steve Colclasure, riding Little Sa Lena, by Smart Little Lena, for Franklin and Tina Sapp, was reserve champion with 218.5 points in the 18-horse finals.

“They brought in 72 head of cattle,” noted Barton, who drew up second. “You had to drive a long way out because the herd was so big. I’ve never cut in a herd that big. I felt like I was at the King Ranch with walls.”

The Causeys purchased Pats Mate as a yearling, at the NCHA Futurity Sales. Steve Ginn started the horse and Barton took up the reins in January.

“He’s a big-stopping horse and one that you can use,” said Barton. “He’s really matured a lot in the last couple of shows. I trust him a lot. He just keeps getting better and better.”

Like Pats Mate, Cetas Ahoy Mate has been a finalist everywhere he’s been shown. Gruber purchased him this past April from trainer David Stewart on Barton’s recommendation.

“He’s a little more dynamic than Pats Mate in that he has that wild look and really splatters, but he’s not as mentally mature yet as Pats Mate,” noted Barton. “But Kirkland and I have both done really well with him.”

Gruber also was reserve champion in the Southern Futurity Non-Pro Classic with 217.5 points riding High Brow Doll.

Barton lives in Union Hall, VA, where he trains for the public out of a facility owned by his longtime clients Eddie and Debbie Shelton. Barton, 42, and his wife, Sue, have two children – Travis, 11, and Emma Ray, 7.

State of New Jersey quarantines horses

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine on Oct. 26 for more than 1,000 horses at Monmouth Park Racetrack, in the wake of positive test results for the neuropathogenic strain of the equine herpes virus.  

At least four horses have been tested over the past several days after they began exhibiting fevers. Those four, and other horses at Monmouth Park that have had contact with those horses, have been separated from the rest of the equine population there and are in designated quarantine barns. All horses in the quarantined barns at the park will not be permitted to move to other facilities, until they have shown no indications of the disease for at least 21 days.

The horses which are not exhibiting signs of the disease and which have not had contact with horses that are sick will be permitted to move only to the Meadowlands for racing there, but are not allowed to move to other facilities. All movement must be conducted using strict biosecurity measures, such as cleaning and disinfecting transport vehicles both before and after movement of a horse and prohibiting the sharing of equipment between horses unless absolutely necessary.

“Although not harmful to humans, the neuropathogenic form of equine herpes is a very serious and often fatal disease for horses, so we must take these cases very seriously,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus said. “We are in continual contact with personnel from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, and are working cooperatively with them to address this situation. The equine sector is a very important part of our agricultural landscape. While we understand this may be an inconvenience to the owners of these horses, we must take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of this disease.”

State veterinarian Dr. Nancy Halpern said her office has received verbal confirmation from a laboratory in Kentucky of the positive results.

“This is a very contagious equine disease and we must be extremely careful in allowing possibly infected horses to come into contact with healthy horses,” Dr. Halpern said. “We must control the spread of this disease for the health of the horses at the track and in the state and country. That is why we have instituted the quarantine. We are doing everything we can, within the bounds of what science tells us is appropriate, to allow for movement as soon as possible.”

The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause respiratory problems especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurological form of the virus can reach high morbidity and mortality rates. The incubation period of EHV-1 is typically two to 10 days.

Thompson is Southern star

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Craig Thompson won the Southern Open Cutting Horse Derby with 219 points on his own horse, Smartys Playgirl Annie, tied for fourth and fifth on Randy Clark’s stallion Vicarious Thrill, and finished as a finalist with Stylish Stuff and Cats Good Intentions, both owned by Don and Carol Dewrell.

Jerries Dual Legacy, ridden by Grant Simon for John and Hope Mitchell, and Jazzs Little Joy, under Brad Mitchell for Don Bussey, tied for second and third. The Southern Cutting Horse Futurity, held in Jackson, MS, runs through Saturday, October 28.

“My family’s here (Mississippi), so it’s always nice to get my horses shown when I come back,” said Thompson, who owns a training facility in Buffalo, TX, where he lives with his wife Sasha, and sons, Chase, 5, and Catch, 2.

Thompson purchased Smartys Playgirl Annie, by Smart Lil Scoot, a few months ago on the recommendation of trainer J.B. McLamb. The mare had been started at two by Wayne Robinson, who tied for ninth in the Southern Derby on Natalie Rey. Just days after the purchase, Smartys Playgirl Annie was kicked by another horse and had to be laid off. Thompson was able to get just two weekend shows under his new mare before the Southern Derby.

“She’s still a little green, but we sure like her,” said Thompson. “She tries really hard, is smart on a cow, and is a big, strong-moving mare.”

Today, Thompson is back in the second go-round of the Southern Futurity 3-year-old division with two horses – Bowmans Little Lena, owned by St Nicks Pines, and Spoonfullopep, owned by Neil Anderson.

Zeke Entz (left), who recently won the All American Quarter Horse Congress Open Cutting Futurity on his gelding Smart Lil Paragon, claimed the Southern Cutting Classic with 222 points on Smart Lil Jewel, owned by Brad Spence. Entz trains out of Spence’s cutting horse facility in Collierville, TN.

“I wanted to cut something that would push up off of me,” noted Entz, who had fallen victim to a fresh heifer in the first bunch of the finals with Alittle Street Smart, owned by Joe Wright. “The first cow was good, but my second cow was great. It was one of the best cows cut here this week and my horse did a bunch. He can really sit on his hocks and control a cow.”

Entz purchased Smart Lil Jewel, by Lenas Jewel Bars, as a yearling at the NCHA Futurity Sales and sold him to Spence at three. The 6-year-old gelding has earned more than $85,000, and carried Entz’s daughter, Katlyn, 14, to win the 2005 NCHA Eastern National Junior Youth Championship in Jackson.

World-class field for Breeders’ Cup Classic

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

With a total purse of $20 million, the 2006 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, to be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, will feature the world’s top thoroughbreds competing in eight divisions, including 2006 Epsom Derby winner George Washington, a contender in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

This year’s Classic has attracted three of the four highest rated race horses in the world. George Washington, bred by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, owners of ill-fated Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, and owned by Coolmore Stud, won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot this year, and also beat Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy in the 2000 Guineas Stakes.

The 3-year-old son of Danehill, out of an Alysheba daughter, is trained by Aiden O’Brien and will be ridden by Michael Kinane, his pilot in the Queen Elizabeth. The Classic will be George Washington’s first start on the dirt.

Bernardini (pictured), the expected favorite for the Classic and the winner of this year’s Preakness Stakes, has won six of seven starts this year and earned more than $2 million. The 3-year-old A.P. Indy son is trained by Thomas Albertrani for Darley Stable of the United Arab Emirates, and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.

With victories in the Preakness, Jim Dandy, and Travers Stakes, as well as the Jockey Club Gold Cup, if Bernardini wins the Classic, he should be a shoe-in for the title of Horse of the Year.

Lava Man is a top Classic contender based on his perfect seven-for-seven record in 2006, including wins in the Santa Anita Handicap and the Breeders Cup Handicap. The 5-year-old gelding, sired by Slew City Slew and owned by STD Racing, has earned $2.7 million racing primarily in California. He is trained by Doug O’Neill and will be ridden by Corey Nakatani.

Flarida $2 million master

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Competing against reiners from 18 countries, trainer Shawn Flarida, Springfield, OH, broke the $2 million barrier on October 21, when he won the gold medal at the FEI World Reining Masters Open Finals in Denver, Colorado. Just the second rider in National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) history to top $2 million in earnings, Flarida scored 223.5 riding Tinsel Nic, a 7-year-old stallion by Bueno Chexinic and owned by Rosanne Sternberg, East Sussex, England, for a winner’s purse of $17,906.25. Tim McQuay became the very first 2 million dollar rider during the 2005 NRHA Futurity.

Following his milestone, Flarida said, “It’s an awesome feeling to win, especially when you know that you’re competing against the best horsemen from around the world.”

Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas, took home the silver medal in the Masters Finals riding Smartest Chic Olena, by Smart Chic Olena, who he pulled out of a three-year retirement to compete. The bronze medal went to Shawna Sapergia of Canada, who rode  BL Whiz Kid, by Topsail Whiz. Smartest Chic Olena is owned by Terry Owens, Weimer, TX; BL Whiz Kid belongs to Gilbert and Rhonda Thompson, Ardrossan, AB, CAN.

Walton Production Sale

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Alice Walton, who has sold her ranch in Mineral Wells, Texas and begun construction on a new facility in Weatherford, is reducing her herd of cutting horses and selling 23 of them in a special “Production Sale” during the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Sales. The Walton consignments, featuring All Boon, the first filly out of NCHA Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty and a fourth generation Walton-bred, will sell on Wednesday afternoon, December 13, immediately following the NCHA Select Seasoned Cutting Horse Sale.

“As you know, it takes careful planning and a good deal of time to make a new cutting horse facility work right,” said Walton, the daughter of Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton. “In order to do this correctly, I am selling a select few of my best broodmares and most of my young prospects in the Western Bloodstock Futurity Sale.”

In addition to All Boon, a red roan weanling filly, Walton’s consignment includes 7-year-old Instant Sally, a half-sister to Boon San Kitty. Boon San Sally, the dam of Boon San Kitty and Instant Sally, died this past spring; her offspring have earned more than $1 million.

Several high profile money earners currently being shown under Eddie Flynn, who left Walton Ranch’s employ this year to open his own training operation, will also sell. Among them is 5-year-old Mary Has Freckles, a Freckles Playboy daughter and the earner of more than $53,000. Her dam, Little Proud Mary, by Smart Little Lena, will also go under the hammer, as will three half-siblings out of Little Proud Mary.

For a complete list of consignments, see