Archive for May, 2007

UC Davis releases HERDA test

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

In April, Nena Winand DVM. PhD of Cornell University released a test for the hereditary disease HERDA that is found predominantly in Quarter Horses. This week, the University of California-Davis also released a test for the disease.

UC Davis’ study of a control group suggested that 3.5 percent of Quarter Horses are HERDA carriers. But the disease most commonly affects certain lines of cutting horses and there is a much higher precentage of carriers among these animals. Because carriers do not show symptoms of the disease, which include loose skin, lesions and inability for wounds to heal, owners and breeders rarely know they have a carrier.

Most symptomatic horses diagnosed with HERDA are euthanized because they are not able to be ridden and have a low quality of life due to the condition of the skin, scarring and lesions along their backs. Horses don’t typically show symptoms until they are two years old.

The DNA test is available through the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at, as well as through Nena Winand, DVM, PhD, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 607-253-3608,

First foals the best?

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

“First foals are the best,” I remember hearing from an oldtime horsemen, years ago. I’d almost forgotten the adage until my curiosity was sparked by an article that I wrote on May 5 called Triple Crown Genes. It was about the offspring of dams of the three NCHA Triple Crown champions. Two of the three champions were first foals, so I wondered about the birth order of other outstanding performers.

Using National Cutting Horse Association Futurity open champions as a gauge, I found that 34 percent of the 44 champions were first foals (I did not include Rey Jay’s Pete because his dam was an unregistered Thoroughbred and records are unavailable).  In addition, seven champions were second foals.

Altogether, 50 percent of NCHA Futurity open champions were either first or second foals, and their dams have produced a total of 528 foals (12 average).

There are some other surprising facts buried in the pedigrees of these 44 champions that I will share with you in upcoming articles, so keep reading and send me your thoughts on these findings. I also plan to share readers’ imput on these findings.

Here are the first-born champions, along with the years of their Futurity wins, and the names and their dams:

  • Chickasha Glo (1963) – Chickasha Ann
  • Miss Ginger Dee (1964) – Ginger Berg
  • Doc O’Lena (1970) – Poco Lena
  • Colonel Freckles (1975) – Christy Jay
  • Docs Diablo (1979) – Poco Christa
  • Colonel Lil (1981) – Two Rocks Lil
  • Smart Little Lena (1982) – Smart Peppy
  • Docs Okie Quixote (1983) – Jimmette Too
  • The Gemnist (1985) – Miss Fancy Zan
  • Smart Date (1987) – Trip Date Bar
  • Bobs Smokin Joe (1993) – Taris Smokin Maria
  • CD Olena (1994) – CD Chica San Badger
  • Royal Fletch (2000) – Royal Blue Dually
  • San Tule Freckles (2001) – San Tule Lu
  • Spots Hot (2004) – Sweet Shorty Lena

Second foals:

  • Dry Doc (1971) – Poco Lena
  • Lenaette (1975) – Bar Socks Babe
  • Lynx Melody (1978) – Trona
  • Mis Royal Mahogany (1980) – Royal Mahogany
  • Doc Per (1984) – Nettie Buck
  • Some Kinda Memories (1997) – Some Kinda Playgirl
  • Oh Cay Felix (2006) – Oh Cay Shorty

Hat trick for Hansen

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Dan Hansen, Weatherford, TX, is leading the 2007 National Cutting Horse Association world championship standings in three divisions on three different horses, two of which Hansen raised and trained himself.

Eight-year-old Bobcorn and five-year-old Bobin Hood, ridden by Hansen in the $10,000 Novice Non-Pro and $3,000 Novice Non-Pro, respectively, are full siblings by Bob Acre Doc (deceased) and out of Mia Tiana, by Tiana Doc. Seven-year-old Woody Be Lucky, Hansen’s Non-Pro mount, is by Nitas Wood and was bred by Craig Crumpler. All three horses have impressive limited age event records, especially Woody Be Lucky, who earned more than $240,000 under trainer Don Crumpler, as well as both Dan and his wife Karen.

With the exception of the time that Phil Rapp rode him as a finalist in the Memphis Classic, Bobcorn earned all of his $91,600 under Dan in non-pro competition, including reserve championships in four major events. Bobin Hood won most of his $57,000 in 2006, finishing no less than fifth in six major events, with a championship title in the Breeder’s Invitational Senior Rider and reserve in the Bonanza 4-Year-Old Gelding class.

Hansen, who owns a general contracting business headquartered in Nampa, ID, was raised on a cattle ranch and met Karen in high school, where they both competed in rodeo events. While Karen excelled in barrel racing and eventually began training barrel futurity prospects, Dan turned to cutting and purchased his first limited age event horse, Tiana Bob, in 1995.

It was Bobs Tiana, full brother to Bobcorn and Bobin Hood, that inspired Hansen to seek out and purchase his full brother Tiana Bob, and eventually the dam Mia Tiana, who was unshown due to an injury.

“We sold Tiana Bob as a five-year-old and regretted it,” Hansen said. “It worked out that we had a breeding to Bob Acre Doc because the mare we were going to breed died. So we ended up buying (Mia Tiana) to use that breeding. Bobin Hood is from Bob Acre Doc’s last crop.

“Bobs Tiana was really my first young horse,” he added. “He was always a hard stopper and real honest, with a lot of try. That seems to be consistent with all of them – they have a lot of try.

“They make it pretty easy to train. I’ve tried some others that aren’t as easy for a non-pro like me.”

A new spin on Cats Twisted Whisker

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

With less than $600 in earnings, Cats Twisted Whisker was off the radar for 4-year-old show horses before the Breeder’s Invitational Cutting in Las Vegas, beginning May 16. But the High Brow Cat daughter made up for lost time with an $82,408 win in the Breeder’s Invitational Derby and $15,000 in additional prizes.

“We always thought the talent was there, it was just waiting for the opportunity to shine,” said all-time leading trainer Phil Rapp, who rides Cats Twisted Whisker for Waco Bend Ranch of Fort Worth, TX. “It was the best run I’ve had on her.”

Cats Twisted Whisker was bred by Jack and Susan Waggoner who sold her to Glen Evans and Ed Murphy of Arbuckle, CA as two-year-old, through the NCHA Futurity Sales. Murphy trained the mare and took her to the NCHA Futurity, where she didn’t advance past the go-rounds, but came to the attention of Rapp, who purchased her for Waco Bend Ranch.

“I knew she was a really good mare, but it was going to take her a little time to get adjusted to me and to the cattle that we have in Texas,” Rapp said. “I was her third training program, after the Waggoners and Ed Murphy, and it takes four to six months, sometimes a little longer, for a horse to adjust to a new program.”

Rapp entered Cats Twisted Whisker in both the Augusta Futurity and the Bonanza Cutting, with good results in the first go-rounds, but tough luck coming back. The pair by-passed the NCHA Super Stakes and Rapp prepared the mare for the Breeder’s Invitational at several weekend shows, where they picked up $543 in earnings. It was the Breeder’s Invitational $10,000 Limited Horse finals, however, that brought them up to par for the Open Derby.

“I’ll have to admit, she was not very good in the Novice finals,” Rapp said. “So I worked her immediately after that and made a few corrections to get her prepared. But if I had marked a 214 or 216 in the Novice (they scored 211.5), I wouldn’t have worked her back, and she wouldn’t have been as good in the Derby.”

Cats Twisted Whisker scored 224 in the Derby to win by six points over second-placed Ristos Fair Lady, ridden by Aaron Wheatley for Waggoner Ranch.

An interesting thread runs through Cats Twisted Whisker’s pedigree to connect Rapp and the mare’s dam’s sire. Cats Twisted Whisker is out of Spins Gay Lena, by Doc’s Spinifex (pictured), Australia’s all-time leading cutting sire. Rapp also placed as reserve champion of the Breeder’s Invitational Classic on the Robert Graves-owned mare Lil Pretty Richochet, who is out of a daughter of Docs Freckles Oak, who in turn is a daughter of Docs Spinifex. Like Docs Spinifex, Docs Freckles Oak was sired by Doc’s Oak and became a leading sire – second only to Doc’s Spinifex – in Australia.

“Cats Twisted Whisker and Lil Pretty Richochet have some similarities that I attribute to Doc’s Spinifex,” Rapp noted. “They both have an incredible desire to hold a cow and they’ve got a lot of play in the middle (of the pen). They don’t get tricked by a cow and when a cow puts it on them, they really try hard to hold it. They’re very tight and electric.”

“Those Doc’s Spinifex mares, I’m very impressed with them as broodmares.”

Cats Twisted Whisker wins Breeder’s Invitational Derby

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Cats Twisted Whisker came to Las Vegas with a stake of $500 and left with nearly $100,000. Ridden by Phil Rapp for Waco Bend Ranch, the 4-year-old son of High Brow Cat won the Breeder’s Invitational Derby with 224 points, on May 21 at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas. He also took first in the BI Sale division and was a finalist in the Open Limited.

Ristos Fair Lady, ridden by Aaron Wheatley for Jack and Susan Waggoner, placed second with $55,270. Both Cats Twisted Whisker and Ristos Fair Lady, by Smart Aristocrat, were bred by the Waggoners.

Phil Rapp also finished second and third in the  Breeder’s Invitational Classic with Lil Pretty Richochet for Robert Graves and Autumn Acre for Autumn Alliance, respectively.

Quintan Blue, owned by Marvine Ranch, Meeker, CO, surpassed $500,000 in earnings with her win under Roger Wagner in the Breeder’s Invitational Classic. The 6-year-old daughter of Mecom Blue was formerly owned by Jim Vangilder, who placed second in the Breeder’s Invitational Non-Pro Classic aboard Pet Squirrel.

Sister CD, last year’s  Breeder’s Invitational Open champion, claimed the Non-Pro Classic with 226 points under Skip Queen, Lipan, TX.

Breeder’s Invitational competition continues through May 26. Listen to announcer Tom Holt’s Cuttin’ Edge News mid-day and evening wrap ups of the event through

Walla Walla Whiz goes from veterinary hospital to NRHA Derby win

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Walla Walla Whiz won the National Reining Horse Association Derby with 231.5 points on Saturday, May 19, just days after he was released from a veterinary hospital near Oklahoma City.

“He’s tough,” said Shawn Flarida (pictured), who rides the 4-year-old son of Topsail Whiz for Arcese Quarter Horses, Weatherford, TX. “He’s got more heart than most horses you ever dream of having.”

On Monday, May 14, Walla Walla Whiz was rushed to Oakridge Equine Hospital in Edmond, OK with colic symptoms. “By the time we left the barn, it took three men to carry him to the trailer,” said Flarida. “He was really, really sick. They told me it could be life threatening.”

For the next 24 hours, the stallion received intravenous fluids and medication, and was released from the hospital on Tuesday evening, May 15, the day before Derby first go-round competition. Attending veterinarians Kevin Kersh and Alan Donnell assured Flarida it would be safe for Walla Walla Whiz to compete, although he might not be up to form.

“I told Shawn to prepare himself because Walla Walla Whiz might not perform to the usual level, but there was no risk of long-term damage,” Kersh said. “For him to bounce back and go from looking as bad as he did to performing that well is remarkable. He’s an incredibly tough horse.”

The Derby win was worth $50,000 for Flarida and Walla Walla Whiz. Big Chex To Cash, sired by Nu Chex To Cash and ridden by Andrea Fappani for 23 Partnership, San Marcos, CA, claimed the reserve championship and $40,293 with 225.5 points.

Curlin by a hair in the Preakness

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Curlin, who finished third to Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby, out-dueled the Derby champ in the final strides of the Preakness Stakes to win by a nose and tie Tank’s Prospect (1985) and Louis Quatorze (1996) for the fastest winning time of 1:53 2/5.

“He started a 2-year-old and finished a 5-year-old,” said rider Robby Albarado following the victory, the first Preakness win for Albarado, as well as for trainer Steve Asmussen.

 “We’re trying to win the Preakness,” Asmussen said before the race. “We’re not taking a shot at anybody. We’ve got an outstanding 3-year-old that’s very healthy at an extremely important time of the year, with an opportunity of winning a classic. That’s the focus.”

Although this is his first win in a Triple Crown event, Asmussen has been the nation’s leading trainer in terms of wins for three years in a row and in 2004, broke the record for most wins in one season with 555.

Calvin Borel, who skillfully guided Street Sense to a 2 1/4-length win in the Kentucky Derby, thought he had another victory, when he cleared the field coming into the stretch. “I thought I was home free,” he admitted. “He came and got me. No excuses.”

It was a difficult day for Pimlico Downs, the nation’s second oldest racetrack, where 100,000 spectators witnessed the breakdown of 5-year-old Mending Fences in the Dixie Stakes, immediately following the inaugural Barbaro Stakes, which preceded the Preakness. The Barbaro Stakes was named to honor last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, who broke down in the Preakness and eventually had to be euthanized as a result of his injury.

Mending Fences, who suffered a compound fracture to his right front leg, was euthanized on the course, shielded from spectators by a screen. Robby Albarado was thrown from his mount Einstein, as he tried to avoid the fallen Mending Fences, but came back to win the Preakness. Eddie Castro, Mending Fences’ rider, also walked away uninjured following the spill.

Curlin is owned by a group that includes Jess Jackson of Kendall-Jackson Wines and Satish Sanan’s Padua Stables. He was purchased for a reported $3.5 million following his first race, won by12 3/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park.

Although he was undefeated going into the Kentucky Derby, with wins in both the Arkansas Derby and Rebel Stakes, some handicappers dismissed Curlin in the Derby because he had not raced as a 2-year-old. The Preakness win, worth $650,000, increased the Smart Strike-sired colt’s career earnings to $1,652,800.