Archive for March, 2007

In spring, thoughts turn to . . . horse names

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

With the Kentucky Derby just around the bend, Sports Illustrated senior writer Frank DeFord invited National Public Radio listeners to suggest names for the younger siblings of 2006 Derby winner Barbaro. You can hear how he encouraged listeners to play off the names of Barbaro’s sire, Dynaformer, and dam, La Ville Rouge, and how he planned to pass along any good ideas to Barbaro’s owner, Gretchen Jackson.

Horse owners often point out how hard it is to win a major event in any discipline. Breeders know that it’s not much easier to come up with a good, original name, especially considering that more than 5 million Thoroughbreds and Quarter  Horses have been foaled in North America in the past half century.

DeFord announced his favorite names for Barbaro’s siblings – from more than 2,000 submissions — in a follow-up commentary. He received some good suggestions, but one of the best had to be one that stepped outside of DeFord’s guidelines: “Letmrsjacksondoit.”

1st Annual Super Stakes

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Journalistic purists often cringe when they see the words “1st Annual.” They take pains to point out that an event isn’t truly “annual” until the 2nd edition has been held a year later. And despite good intentions in the horse business, sometimes that 2nd annual event never happens.

That was definitely not the case with the “1st Annual NCHA Super Stakes” held in 1981. In six days of competition in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum, the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes paid out $513,346 to competitors in 4-year-old Open and Non-Pro divisions. This year’s renewal, in the same location, has stretched out to 20 days of competition with more than $3.1 million in the purse. Another measure of the growth is that 17 stallions were subscribed to that inaugural event. More than 130 are participating this year.

These days, there are 14 champions to be crowned, with divisions for 5/6-year-olds, for geldings, novice horses, limited open and non-pro riders and senior riders in the Ford NCHA Super Stakes and Super Stakes Classic.

Judges at the inaugural event were Ernie Beutenmiller Jr., Punk Carter, Bill Collins, Vince Cummings and Pat Patterson. The Open champion was Stylish Lynx, a Doc’s Lynx mare ridden by Don Parker, a former successful trainer of halter and pleasure horses who switched his emphasis to cutting as purses began to swell.

Here’s a look at the 17 stallions subscribed to the inaugural NCHA Super Stakes:

  • Boon Bar
  • Cal Bar
  • Doc Bar
  • Doc O’Lena
  • Doc Quixote
  • Doc Tari
  • Doc’s Lynx
  • Doc’s Mahogany
  • Doc’s Oak
  • Doc’s Solano
  • Dry Doc
  • Flite Oil
  • Jewel’s Leo Bars
  • Mr San Peppy
  • Pay Twentyone
  • Peppy San
  • Sonita’s Last

Long on PCCHA wins

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

One day after his wife Jill (pictured) won the Non-Pro division of the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Derby, Tom Long wrapped up the Open Derby Championship riding Purely Gorgeous, by Peptoboonsmal. “I knew this mare could make a run, and she did,” said Long. “It was a tough class.” The win was worth $13,336.00 for owner, Coy Sanders, Gardnerville, Nevada. Purely Gorgeous was a finalist earlier this year in the San Diego Winter Cutting.

Jill Long’s championship win came aboard Cats Gotta Diamond with a 217-point performance. The four-year-old High Brow Cat son, bred by the Longs and trained by Tom, is out of Diamond J Starlight, the Grays Starlight daughter that Jill rode as non-pro champion of the 2001 NCHA Super Stakes Classic and non-pro reserve champion of the NCHA Classic/Challenge.

“I was a little nervous,” Jill admitted. “This is the first time I haven’t warmed up my own horse before showing.”

During the preliminary competition, Jill suffered an injury that left her with five stitches and two black eyes. Right after competition, as she was removing Cats Gotta Diamond’s protective leg boots, he kicked out at another horse and Jill caught the blow between her eyes.

“It all turned out fine,” she emphasized. “He’s just a really, really good horse. I’ve waited a long time to show another really great horse like him.” Jill was also 1999 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Non-Pro reserve champion on Starlight N Diamonds, a full brother to Diamond J Starlight.

Open Classic Challenge
In a 16-horse Open Classic Challenge finals, Tim Smith rode four horses that had earned four of the top five highest cumulative scores in the preliminaries. It was Frosty Frostina, ridden by Smith for Tommy Manion, Aubrey, TX, who held the high score of 444 points going into the final round, and the Smart Little Lena daughter upped the amps to win the title with 227 points in the finals.

“This mare works really good in this arena and she’s better on tough cows, which these were,” noted Smith. “It was honestly one of the hardest runs I’ve ever had in my career, because of the tough cattle.” The win put Fancy Frostina’s lifetime earnings over the $100,000 mark.

Mr Lizzy, a son of Lizzys Gotta Player, ridden by Andrew Coates for owner Greg Reyes, Saratoga, CA, captured the reserve championship with 222 points.

The Non-Pro Classic Challenge Championship was won by Dana Heinrich, Fresno, California on Precious Lil Pearl with a 224-point finals performance.

“She’s a really good mare,” said Heinrich. “I didn’t get to show her as a three-year-old, but when I brought her from Texas to California, in the middle of her four-year-old year, we really started to come together.” The now five-year-old mare was raised by Heinrich, who named her after her late mother-in-law.

“She was really a special person and this is a very special horse to me,” said Heinrich, who placed third on Precious Lil Pearl in the non-pro division San Diego Classic and seventh in the South Point Classic.

It’s a Bonanza for Pounds

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

NCHA Futurity finalist Cats Quixote Jack, ridden by Kory Pounds (pictured), claimed the Bonanza Cutting 4-year-old championship by a wide margin over co-reserve champions CD Peptofilly and Starcat Merada. Owned by for Andy and Karen Beckstein, Uniondale, IN, the High Brow Cat son scored 224.5 points for $25,000. The win boosts his earnings to $70,924.43.

It was the first major unrestricted title for Pounds, who won the NCHA Super Stakes Limited Open on Double Durn Smart in 2004. He also placed third in the 4-year-old Bonanza in 2004 aboard Haidas Tachita, and earned $63,978 as a finalist in the 2006 NCHA Super Stakes riding A Special Color. In addition to his 22nd-place finish in the NCHA Futurity, Cats Quixote Jack was also a finalist in the 2006 South Point Cutting in Las Vegas.

Mark Pearson, Spearman, TX, and Skip Queen, Lipan, TX, shared the Non-Pro 4-year-old championship title with matching 218-point scores in the finals. Pearson rode Clifford Rey, by Dual Rey; Queen, who ranked third among non-pro money earners in 2006, was aboard Dual Badge, by Playboys Badge. Queen also placed sixth on Bronzed Feather, by Cats Red Feather.

Im Countin Checks, most recently reserve champion of the South Point Cutting, captured the Bonanza 5 & 6-year-old title with 222 points under Matt Gaines. Im Countin Checks was sired by Smart Lil Ricochet, the 13-year-old stallion who was euthanized on February 28, 2007, as the result of a long-standing injury. Im Countin Checks is owned by Tommy Manion, who also owned and bred Smart Lil Ricochet, who was sired by cutting’s all-time leading sire Smart Little Lena. Smart Little Lena, owned by a syndicate that includes Manion, stands at Manion’s ranch in Aubrey, Texas.

Paula Wood, Stephenville, TX, scored 223 points on Donas Cool Cat to win the 5 & 6-year-old Bonanza Non-Pro. Mary Ann Rapp, Weatherford, Texas, placed second with 222 points on Reytilda and split fourth and fifth on Lil Lena Long Legs.

Leading LAE Sires of 2007

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Here’s a look at the leading sires of NCHA limited age event finalists for the 2007 calendar year. These standings are based on Open, Non-Pro, Amateur, Limited and Novice classes from Abilene, San Diego Winter Classic, Augusta, Western Horseman Cup, Memphis, SouthPoint Winter Championship, the MillionHeir, PCCHA Derby and the Bonanza. A total of 147 sires have been represented by finalists in those events. The top 30 sires by number of finalists (plus ties) are listed.

The listing will be updated periodically through the year.

Sire Total Finalists Champions Reserves 3rd +
High Brow Cat 138 11 11 116
Dual Rey 62 3 4 55
CD Olena 41 4 7 30
Peptoboonsmal 39 4 4 31
Smart Little Lena 32 1 3 28
*Bodee Boonsmal 31 0 2 29
Dual Pep 30 0 2 28
Docs Stylish Oak 24 2 1 21
Smart Little Jerry 20 2 1 17
Hes A Peptospoonful 20 1 3 16
Smart Mate 16 2 0 14
Smart Lil Ricochet 16 1 2 13
*Little Dyno 16 1 0 15
*San Tule Freckles 14 1 2 11
Lenas Telesis 13 1 1 11
Playin Stylish 13 1 0 12
SR Instant Choice 13 0 1 12
Zack T Wood 13 0 1 12
Soula Jule Star 11 1 2 8
Playboysalittlesmart 9 2 0 7
Mister Dual Pep 9 0 0 9
Cattin 8 1 0 7
Color Me Smart 8 1 0 7
Playgun 8 0 0 8
Little Trona 7 2 0 5
Smart Lil Paradign 6 0 1 5
Bob Acre Doc 6 0 0 6
Doc O Wena 6 0 0 6
Grays Starlight 6 0 0 6
Kit Dual 6 0 0 6
Playdox 6 0 0 6
Smart Lil Scoot 6 0 0 6
Somebody Smart 6 0 0 6

* indicates a MillionHeir stallion.

Khemosabi’s last son named Horse of Year

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Artesan, a 9-year-old Arabian gelding, sired by the great show horse and sire Khemosabi (pictured), has topped a field of more than 3,000 Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians to become the Arabian Horse Association’s High Point Horse for 2006. To reach this pinnacle, Artesan earned 457.5 points, competing for owner Susie McArthur, Kentfield, CA, in dressage, sport horse in-hand and under saddle, and show hack

McArthur, who had not ridden since the 1960’s, decided to get back into showing in 2003 .

“I hadn’t shown Arabians for 35 years, so I didn’t recognize any of the (current) bloodlines,” she said. “Then an ad caught my eye, something like ‘last son of Khemosabi.'”

Bred, raised and later syndicated by Bert and Ruth Husband, Salem, OR, Khemosabi, by Amerigo out of Jurneeka, was a show ring superstar and the leading sire of Arabian champions for most of his lifetime. Foaled in 1967, he maintained his status during a period when imported stallions began to dominate the Arabian industry in this country.

Khemosabi’s classic Arabian “type” combined with a flashy bay coat, blazed face, and four white stockings for a stunning package. He also had a special charisma that appealed not only to the judges, but to the general public, as well.

Susie McArthur drove to San Diego to have a look at the Khemosabi son from the ad. “When I got out of the car and saw his kind eye, I knew he was mine,” she said.

McArthur rode Artesan by herself for a year, concentrating on dressage. But her goal was to become good enough to compete at Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, so she contacted trainer Patience Prine-Carr, Castroville, CA.

“We didn’t have a goal to campaign him,” noted Prine-Carr. “We only go to shows that we enjoy. His show schedule just evolved, and he kept winning. Finally, he had done so well, we had no choice but to take him to Sport Horse Nationals.

“Artesan is elegant and marked just like his sire,” she added. “He is a beautifully moving horse, very correct, fluid and elastic. He has the same showy bay coat and four high white stockings as his sire, plus his legendary show ring panache and sweet disposition.”

Khemosabi died in 2001, having sired more than 1,200 purebred Arabian horses that have competed successfully in the show arena, racing, competitive trail riding and endurance. Khemosabi Day at Cal-Poly has been preserved online.

Lukas comes full circle

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

On March 4, 2007, D. Wayne Lukas was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame, during the AQHA Convention in Houston, Texas.

Born in Antigo, Wisconsin in 1935, Lukas gave up his high school coaching career in 1968, to train and race horses, something he had already been doing summers, in South Dakota. He won his first stakes race on July 19, 1964 with a 25 to 1 longshot in the South Dakota Quarter Horse Futurity.

Over the next decade, Lukas (pictured in 1975 with Spencer Childers) rose to the top ranks among Quarter Horse trainers with 23 champions before shifting to Thoroughbred racing in the late 1970s. In one transitional week in July 1978, he won three Quarter Horse stakes at Los Alamitos and two Thoroughbred stakes as Hollywood Park.

But his Quarter Horse credentials did not carry much weight in Kentucky, where he felt too self conscious to ask to be shown a Secretariat filly during the Keeneland Sale. He did purchase Terlingua, however, after watching her being walked out for other interested buyers. She went on to earn more than $420,000, and Lukas was on his way.

Lukas became the first Thoroughbred trainer to earn $100 million and later was the first to reach the $250,000 mark. He is the most successful trainer in the history of the Breeders Cup with 18 wins and has also won 13 Triple Crown races, including four Kentucky Derbys – the first in 1988 with a filly, Winning Colors.

Lady’s Secret, another Secretariat daughter, was bred by Robert Spreen and owned during her career by Eugene Klein, former owner of the San Diego Chargers. Lukas saw Lady’s Secret through a career that included 22 stakes wins and $3,012,325. In 1986, she defeated the nation’s best males four times and won eight Grade 1 stakes races, a one-season record that still stands. She ended the 1986 season by winning the Breeder’s Cup Distaff and garnered an Eclipse Award as Outstanding Older Female Horse, as well as the coveted Horse of the Year Award, a rarity for a female.

Nicknamed “The Iron Lady” as much for her heart and grit as her gray coat, Lady’s Secret was the first female to win the Whitney Stakes since Gallorette in 1948. Retired at five, she sold to Fares Farm for $3.8 million in 1989 at the Keeneland November Sale, and died on March 4, 2003.

Lady’s Secret was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1992; Lukas in 1999. He is the only person to ever be inducted into the the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame and the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

Lukas still has a hand in the Quarter Horse World – he raised a yearling that was a sale topper at the Ruidoso Quarter Horse Sales in 2006, and is proud of his Quarter Horse heritage.

“When we were dispersing Mr. Klein’s horses before his death, Wayne had several of the most prominent Thoroughbred people surrounding him,” remembered Bruce Hill, who worked for Lukas at the time. “And Walter Merrick walked up and wanted to look at some horses.

“Wayne stopped right in the middle of it and said, ‘I want you guys to meet the John Wayne of the Quarter Horse world. I still have a bronze of Easy Jet on my desk, just to remind me what a really good horse looks like.’

“Wayne hasn’t forgotten where he came from.”