Archive for June, 2007

Leading LAE Sires of 2007

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Here’s a look at the leading sires of National Cutting Horse Association limited age event finalists for the 2007 calendar year. These standings are based on Open, Non-Pro, Amateur, Limited, Novice and Senior classes for major events held January 1 through June 20. A total of 162 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 270 20 19 231
Dual Rey 105 5 7 93
Peptoboonsmal 74 10 5 59
CD Olena 72 6 14 52
Dual Pep 63 2 3 58
Smart Little Lena 62 3 5 54
Hes A Peptospoonful 44 3 5 36
Smart Mate 39 4 0 35
Docs Stylish Oak 39 3 2 34
Bodee Boonsmal 38 1 5 32
Smart Little Jerry 25 4 2 19
Smart Lil Ricochet 24 2 4 18
San Tule Freckles 24 1 2 21
Zack T Wood 23 1 2 20
Playin Stylish 21 1 0 20
Lenas Telesis 20 1 1 18
Kit Dual 20 0 2 18
Sr Instant Choice 19 0 1 18
Little Dyno 18 1 0 17
Shorty Lena 16 2 1 13
Soula Jule Star 16 1 3 12
Color Me Smart 16 1 0 15
Cattin 15 1 1 13
Smart Lil Scoot 13 0 0 13
Nitas Wood 12 3 0 9
Chula Dual 12 2 3 7
Playgun 12 0 0 12
Playboysalittlesmart 11 2 0 9
Playdox 11 0 1 10
Little Trona 10 2 0 8
Mister Dual Pep 10 0 0 10

2007 Racehorse Hall of Fame

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Racehorse owner and breeder Clarence Scharbauer Jr., 82, Midland, TX, was among four luminaries inducted into the Racehorse Hall of Fame at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico, on Saturday, June 23. World champion trainer Charles “Bubba” Cascio, G1 stakes winning jockey and trainer Danny Cardoza, and AQHA world champion Vandy’s Flash joined Scharbauer (pictured) as 2007 inductees.

A past president of the American Quarter Horse Association and member of the AQHA Hall of Fame, Scharbauer, raced five Quarter Horse champions, including Double Bid, Double Queen and Vim And Vigor, who was ridden by Danny Cardoza. In 1987, Alysheba, under the ownership of Scharbauer’s wife Dorothy and daughter Pam, won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and was named 1988 Horse of the Year, after claiming four Grade 1 stakes, highlighted by the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

In 1991, the Scharbauers built Valor Farm, near Pilot Point, Texas, home to some of the Southwest’s most prominent Thoroughbred stallions. Dorothy Scharbauer, whose father, Fred Turner, Jr., raced 1959 Kentucky Derby winner Tomy Lee, passed away in 2002.

Bubba Cascio, 75,  trained six AQHA champions, including two-time world champion Dash For Cash. Dash For Cash’s winning time of :21.17 for 440 yards in the 1976 Champion of Champions still stands as the track record at Los Alamitos Race Course in Southern California. Cascio also conditioned 1983 world champion Dashingly, who remains the all-time leading money-earning female Quarter Horse, with earnings of $1.7 million.

Cascio won the 1968 All American Futurity with Three Oh’s; the 1970 All American Futurity with Dash For Cash’s sire Rocket Wrangler; and the first running of the All American Derby, in 1974, with Pass Over. In 2006, Cascio, who lives near Granbury, TX, saddled Thoroughbred Breeders’ Cup sprint contender Gold Storm.

Danny Cardoza, of Pacines, CA, is the only person who has ridden the winner of a $1 million race and trained the winner of a $1 million race. Cardoza won the $1 million All American Futurity in 1979 aboard Pie In The Sky.

From the time that AQHA began compiling race statistics in 1970, until he retired as a jockey in 1993, Cardoza rode 3,212 winners with earnings of nearly $25 million. His numerous important wins include the All American Derby aboard world champion Dashs Dream; the Kindergarten Futurity on world champion First Down Dash; the Champion of Champions with world champion Gold Coast Express; and the Golden State Futurity on world champion Dashingly.

Vandy’s Flash’s career spanned the late 1950s into the mid-1960s. He set the Los Alamitos’ 440-yard track record of :21.7, while winning the 1960 Los Alamitos Championship, but is probably best known for setting the Los Alamitos 350-yard track record of :17.5 that stood for 18 years. The 1954 gelded son of Vandy, out of Miss Pawhuska, started 106 times, during eight seasons, with 28 (8 in stakes) wins, 15 (seven in stakes) seconds, and 11 (nine in stakes) thirds.

Wilson becomes first woman to win historic Canadian classic

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson (pictured with trainer Ian Black) became the first woman rider in 148 years to win Canada’s most famous horse race, the $1 million Queen’s Plate, when she steered 15 to 1 longshot Mike Fox to victory Sunday, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

Last year, Josie Carroll became the first female to train a Queen’s Plate winner, when Edenwold emerged victorious. On June 9, Rags to Riches became the first filly in over 100 years to win the famed Belmont Stakes in New York. But on June 24, it was 25-year-old Wilson’s turn to make history.

Last year, she rode in the Queen’s Plate for the first time, finishing 12th aboard Bridgecut. But she won back-to-back Sovereign Awards in 2005 and 2006 as Canada’s top apprentice, as well as a 2005 Eclipse Award for North America honors.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Ian Black, in just his second year as a trainer, after being farm manager for Kinghaven Farms, home of five former Queen’s Plate champions. “I’m just very honoured to be part of Emma’s great day.”

It was the biggest payday yet for Mike Fox, as he took home $600,000 for the win, his fourth victory in eight career starts. After dropping back behind the leaders in early in the stretch, the Morgan Firestone-owned colt got his second wind and nailed pacesetter Alezzandro in the closing strides to post a half-length victory in 2:05.45 for the mile and one-quarter classic.

The Queen’s Plate, inaugurated in 1860, during the reign of Queen Victoria, is North America’s oldest continuously run stakes race and the first leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-foaled three-year-olds. Next up is the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 15, at 1 1/16 miles; with the 1 1/2-mile turf Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine, on August 5, as the third and final leg.

Woodbine is the only racetrack in North America capable of conducting Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing on the same day. It has a 7/8-mile harness racing surface; a one-mile dirt track; and, encircling both dirt tracks, a 1 1/2-mile turf course, that many consider the best in North America. The Grade I Canadian International, run  in the fall on Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor Turf Course, carries a $1.5 million purse and is a part of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship.

Hall of Fame rider Ron Turcotte, who rode Secretariat for his American Triple Crown victories, got his start at Woodbine, and Secretariat made the last start of his career at the Canadian track.

Docs Soula wins NRCHA Derby

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Docs Soula, by Soula Jule Star (pictured), won the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby under veteran rider Doug Williamson, last weekend in Paso Robles, CA. It was a special victory for Williamson, 65, who won the 2002 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity championship on Docs Soula’s half-brother Doc At Night, and the 1992 edition of the same event on Doc At Night’s sire, Mr San Olena.

“He finally got his major win,” said Williamson, who piloted the 4-year-old stallion for a total score of 660.5 points, eight more than reserve champion Olena Oak, ridden by Ron Emmons for Mel Smith and Nichole Scott of Paso Robles. Docs Soula, owned by D&S Quarter Horses of Terrebonne, OR, and had been reserve champion in several events before his $40,000 coup on Sunday.

Williamson has earned top awards in stock horse, reining, roping, western pleasure and cutting competition, and was inducted in to the NRCHA Hall of Fame in 2006. In 1992, he was NCHA Futurity Open Limited reserve champion on Mr Smoked Sugar, a blue-eyed sorrel and white Paint gelding. At that time, he trained for California’s historic Tejon Ranch, but he now operates from his own Triangle D Ranch in Bakersfield, CA.

Soula Jule Star, sire of Docs Soula, earned $130,000, as well as seven championships and reserves in cutting with leading non-pro rider Sandy Bonelli. Bonelli bred the Grays Starlight son out of Bella Coquette, her 1989 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro champion, and stands him at Polo Ranch, Marietta, OK.

Kentucky Derby winner at Cutting Convention

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Eclipse Award winner Carl Nafzger (pictured on the left), trainer of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, was the guest speaker at the National Cutting Horse Association Convention in Lexington, KY, on June 22. Nafzger, a former rodeo bull rider and three-time National Rodeo finalist (1963-1968), took out his trainer’s license in 1968 and saddled his first stakes winner, Speedy Karen, in 1971. In 1990, he won his first Kentucky Derby with Unbridled, who went on to win the Breeders Cup Classic.

Nafzger was introduced by out-going NCHA president Bill Riddle (pictured with Nafzger), an all-time leading cutting horse trainer, who at one time was race trainer for internationally renowned Fares Farm in Lexington.

Following Nafzger’s talk, he held a brief question and answer session. Here is an excerpt:

Q: Explain how you go about looking at yearlings.
Nafzger: I look at what I can afford. Then, the thing that I am really critical on is the rear end of a horse because that’s where the power comes from. I look more on the rear end than anywhere. Without an engine, I do not have a shot.

Q: Why did you stick with Calvin Borel (Street Sense’s jockey) in the Derby?
Nafzger: Calvin Borel is a horseman. We thought we had a good horse and we wanted a jockey that would stay with him. We didn’t want a jockey that would just go out there and try to win horse races.

My first out on a horse I never worry about much except a good experience. I want him to come back happy. So we had Calvin ride the horse and he came in second in his first out. So when we got to Arlington (Park for his second start), I said, “Okay Calvin, put this horse in there. Make them beat you. Let’s see what we’ve got – if he’s really a runner.” Nobody really knows until you get in competition.

After the race, when we’d won it, I told Mr. Tafel (owner of Street Sense), “That’s the last race we will ask this horse to win. From now on, we’ll let the horse win races.”

That’s what we did and he’s taken us everywhere. I don’t train horses. Horses train me. I watch a horse. The horse tells me what it’s happy doing. A horse will take you as high as it can take you. But if you can’t watch a $5,000 claimer give one hundred and ten percent, then you shouldn’t be in horse racing.

Graham to unveil PBR bronze

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Sculptor Kelly Graham, best known for his life-size bronzes of horses, is in Dallas this weekend to unveil his most recent work – a statue of Professional Bull Riders legends Little Yellow Jacket and Adriano Moraes. The unveiling will take place during the PBR Dickies Invitational on Sunday, June 24 at the American Airlines Center, and will be televised on the Versus Sports Channel, formerly the Outdoor Life Network.

Defending PBR world champion Adriano Moraes, the first rider to earn three PBR world titles, tops the list of competitors for the event. Little Yellow Jacket, three times Bucking Bull of the Year, was retired in 2005, having been ridden just 14 times in 90 attempts.

The statue was commissioned by Professional Bull Riders, Inc. for their new headquarters in Pueblo, CO, which will be dedicated later this summer; PBR is also offering a limited edition table top model of the statue for $5,000.

Like a lot of kids who grew up on a ranch in West Texas, Graham rodeoed when he was young. But his stepbrother Bill Freeman, the National Cutting Horse Association’s formerall-time leading money earner, inspired him to try his hand at training cutting horses. Ten years later, Graham, who is now 49, followed his father Lex Graham’s path and turned to art.

Lex Graham, well known for his syndicated “Back Forty” cartoons, also occasionally sculpts and introduced his son to the medium. Kelly got his break in 1996, when he was awarded a contract to design the NCHA championship trophy. In 1998, he was commissioned to create a life-size bronze for his hometown of Weatherford, TX. Since then he’s created more than 20 other life-size works for horse owners like Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton; George and Sue Hearst; and Michael and Paula Gaughan, Las Vegas casino owners, who commissioned a wagon wheel chandelier with a life-size cowboy swinging from the rim to hang in her South Point Hotel and Casino.

“It has worked out really well for me to be able to tie my cutting in with my art,” said Graham, who lives with his wife Donna on a ranch in Weatherford and owns his own cutting horses. “I get to use both of the things that were bred into me – horses and art.”

Open at the Non Pro

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Pretty Boy Rachet, ridden by Michael Cooper (shown with sons Lane and Lance), nailed the championship of the 4-year-old Open in The Non Pro Cutting by one-half point over Better Sue, by Bet On Me 498, under Lindy Burch.

Owned by Larry and Liz Stacy, Ardmore, OK, the gelded son of Pretty Boy Cat scored 217 points for the win and $5,476.

“I had a good draw and my cattle were on top and cut good,” said Cooper, who also tied for sixth place on Chars Skyrunner, owned by James and Gail Hooper, Decatur, AL, and marked 214.5 on Herb Merada in the 5/6-year-old Open to share a four-way tie for second place. Dualsnap, by Dual Rey, ridden by Mark Michaels for John McClaren, won the 5/6-year-old Open championship with 217 points.

Cooper purchased Pretty Boy Rachet for the Stacys last summer through Tim Barry, Byron, IL.

“He was behind, but I saw some things that I really liked,” said Cooper, 30, who maintains a training operation on his 500-acre farm in south central Missouri. “He was a little weak when we first started him, but he’s gotten a lot stronger since then, and he’s got a lot of intensity and style on a cow. ”

Pretty Boy Rachet made his debut at the NCHA Futurity last December, where his third cow in the second go-round ran behind the judges’ stands. Cooper was disappointed, but finally got his chance to show the gelding this past February at the Memphis Futurity, where he won the first go-round with 220 points and qualified for the finals.

Herb Merada, by Meradas Money Talks, is owned by Joe Wes Davis Jr., New Franklin, MO, and tied Sky Canyon under Steve Colclasure; Cow Cattin with Kobie Wood; and Outlaw Cat AKA Jack ridden by Todd Gann, for second through fifth-place. He also carried Davis as a finalist (13th) in the non-pro finals.

“We struggled a little on the first cow, but finished real strong,” noted Cooper. “I had 20 seconds left when I cut my second cow and I knew I had to make up some ground.

“He’s such a nice horse,” he added. “He tries hard for you. If you ask for one hundred and ten percent, he’ll give you one hundred and twenty.”

Cooper acquired the gelding as a late 3-year-old, after Dirk Blakesly had started and trained him He qualified for the finals of several open futurities, and Davis rode the horse as reserve non-pro champion in the Kansas Futurity. Herb Merada was an open finalist in the 2007 Cotton Classic, as well.

It was Cooper’s grandfather, Emmett Bradford, who taught him how to break horses, but trainer Donnie O’Brien, Pineville, MO, has been his greatest mentor. “He taught me horsemanship and things about a horse that I would never have recognized, if it hadn’t been for him,” said Cooper. “I tried to work with him a lot and watch everything that he did.”

“I really love this horse deal,” he added. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a great way of life.”

Cooper and his wife, Jennifer, who also run a cow-calf operation, have two sons, Lane, 8, and Lance, 6.