Archive for September, 2007

Helzers create fund in memory of Refrigerator

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Jim and Marilyn Helzer have created a fund through the American Quarter Horse Foundation to support research for critically injured horses, in memory of their beloved champion Refrigerator, Quarter racing’s all-time leading money earner.

“Refrigerator was a horse that touched the heart of every American Quarter Horse owner, trainer, jockey and fan; he was America’s Quarter Horse,” said Jim Helzer. “A research program for head trauma will once again raise the bar to a new level that will assist veterinarians worldwide in treating all horses that suffer from a severe head injury.”

Since 1960, the American Quarter Horse Foundation has awarded more than $6 million to benefit the health, welfare and utility of the American Quarter Horse. “It is our hope that this comprehensive effort will provide horses with critical injuries a new hope for recovery and a possible return to function,” said Gary Carpenter, executive director of the Foundation. For more information on the equine research program, visit www.aqha.com/foundation. Here’s Refrigerator’s story, (more…)

Hard Spun spoils fun for Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

The first moments seemed like a rematch of the Kentucky Derby, when Hard Spun captured the early lead right out the gate with Street Sense behind him. But this time it was the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park, with just a four-horse field, and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense could not get past Hard Spun, who held for a wire-to-wire, 1 1/4-length win on Saturday, September 29.

Breaking from the rail, Hard Spun went to the lead along the inside under Mario Pino, and was stalked the entire 1 1/8-mile distance by Street Sense, just to his outside, under Calvin Borel.

In a virtual match race that lacked other early speed, Pino slowed the fractions to :24.45 for the quarter and :48.18 for the half. Although Street Sense never let Hard Spun get more than a length in front, and in mid-stretch closed to within a half-length under strong urging from Borel, that was as close as he would get. Hard Spun increased his margin to the wire, saving his largest lead of the race for the finish line. The final time was 1:48.48.

“I think our horse contained himself as long as he could,” said trainer Larry Jones, who conditions Hard Spun for Richard Porter’s Fox Hill Farms. “He was ready to go. We knew that with the pace scenario, we wanted to make Street Sense chase us.”

Hard Spun and Street Sense will meet next in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on October 27, at Monmouth Park.

“You can’t go that slow and catch a horse like that,” said Borel of Saturday’s race. “Don’t worry, my horse will show up in four weeks. He always struggles a bit on Polytrack (like Turfway’s surface), but that sets him up perfectly. I ain’t worried about it. In four weeks, he’ll be a different horse.”

Street Sense’s trainer Carl Nafzger took the loss in stride. “We ran a good race and we’re ready to go on,” he said. “It was up to him at the head of the lane to get by Hard Spun. I thought he could do it, but it was hard to get by anyone all day. He just ran a better race than we did. There’s a lot of excuses when you lose, but let’s put it this way – when you get beat you get beat.”

Hard Spun, who earned $280,000 in the Kentucky Cup Classic ($130,000 in purse money plus a $150,000 bonus), has won seven of 12 lifetime starts and $1,673,470 in purse money.

Bowmans Fancy prominent among Brazos Bash Classic finalists

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Zacks Little Bowman, a 6-year-old grandson of Bowmans Fancy, scored 222 points to win the Brazos Bash Open Cutting Classic in Weatherford, TX, on September 26. The son of Zack T Wood, ridden by Matt Gaines, was one of two Open Classic finalists out of the Bowmans Fancy daughter Bowmans Little Jewel. The Bowmans Fancy son Bowmans Cat Man was also a finalist.

GCH Land & Cattle Co., Weatherford, TX, bred and owns Zacks Little Bowman, as well as her dam’s full brother, Bowmans Smart Jewel, and her half-brother, Dualin Jewels, who was reserve champion of the 1997 NCHA Open Futurity. Ridden for GCH Land & Cattle Co. throughout her career by Paul Hansma, Bowmans Fancy (pictured) earned nearly $300,000; her offspring have won close to $450,000.

Zacks Little Bowman, with $109,000, and Bowmans Cat, also a Brazos Bash Classic finalist with $47,000 in winnings, are Bowmans Little Jewel’s oldest money earners.

In all, the Brazos Bash Classic field came out of the finals with more than $3.4 million in combined earnings. Here’s a look at them: (more…)

Copaspepto in elite company

Friday, September 28th, 2007

With his win in Thurdsay’s 4-year-old Open finals at the Brazos Bash in Weatherford, Texas, Copaspepto became only the 11th cutting horse to win four Open finals in a single calendar year. Copaspepto, a son of Peptoboonsmal ridden by Tag Rice for Marvine Ranch, is one of three geldings in the band of champions. Three stallions and five mares make up the rest of the list.

Dual Pep, represented by Dual Rey Me and Dualin Jewels, is the only sire with more than one of his offspring listed.

Tag Rice, who also rode Chiquita Pistol, and Russ Miller (Faith N Risk and Dualin Jewels) are the only trainers to have ridden more than one of these four-time champs.

Here’s a look at the horses that have taken four or more Open victories in a single year, and the events they won . . . (more…)

Brazos Bash Futurity

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Laney O Taz, a grandson of million-dollar producer Laney Doc, and Craig Thompson marked 219 to win the Brazos Bash 3-year-old Open finals in Weatherford, Texas Wednesday. The son of Pepto Taz was previously a finalist at the West Texas and Music City Futurities.

Here’s a look at the Brazos Bash finals: (more…)

John Scott’s S Ranch receives AQHA Best Remuda Award

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

John Scott Jr.’s father was raising “quarter” horses long before there was an American Quarter Horse Association. On September 25, Scott’s S Ranch, headquartered in Billings, MT, received the coveted AQHA/Bayer Best Remuda Award.

“The Quarter Horse is noted for its Western Heritage and preserving that heritage is what the John Scott Ranch is all about,” said Scott (pictured), who has registered more than 1,500 horses with AQHA. “Our goals are to raise quality horses to be used in competition, including cutting, rodeo, barrel racing, reining and, of course, for use on the ranch.”

Cattle and horses far outnumbered people when Scott’s great great-grandfather, a friend of Davy Crockett and a Mississippi Supreme Court judge, settled in the Republic of Texas.

“At that time, they didn’t work the country with a (chuck) wagon,” Scott pointed out. “They’d just take a pack horse and three or four of them would gather cattle. They called that a cow hunt.”

In 1925, John Scott Sr. purchased 10 daughters by the Hickory Bill son called San Antonio Sorrel to supply his Texas remuda with mounts. By the 1930’s he was raising his first crops by the Harmon Baker son Jazz.

After serving in World War II, John Scott Jr. moved to Montana to expand the family’s ranch holdings by 120,000 acres, in partnership with his brothers and father. In 1959, Scott acquired his own ranch and by the late 1960s employed 25 cowboys; owned a feedlot that held 30,000 head – 50 percent of which were S Ranch cattle; and ran 10,000 mother cows. In 1969, he held what was at the time the largest one-brand, one-owner cattle sale in U.S. history with 5,300 head selling for $1,001,035.

Today, the S Ranch is still owned and operated by the Scott family – John Scott Jr., John Scott III, Maggie Scott Brown and Sissy Scott Croft are all general partners of the 227,000-acre ranch operation. The Billings ranch has 58 mares, three stallions and 78 geldings; the 23,000-acre S Ranch keeps 4,000 head of cattle in its feedlot, runs 4,000 head in their cow/calf operation, and feeds about 1,600 head of stocker cattle.

“We always broke and rode the fillies and geldings,” said Scott of the S Ranch Quarter Horse program. “For years, we rode mares only on the Powder River ranch and geldings on the Billings ranches. We drew our replacements for the broodmare band from the better mares, as we needed them. We tried to breed the best of the mares to the best studs and over the years, I have added a few mares from the Burnett Ranches in Texas, the Ronald Mason (Cross J) Ranch in Nowata, Oklahoma, and the Gill Cattle Co. in Arizona and Montana.”

The S Ranch’s current remuda has been greatly influenced by Doc O Dynamite, who has sired the earners of more than $650,000 in NCHA competition, and Paddys Irish Whiskey, a Peppy San Badger son whose offspring have earned $800,000 in NCHA, NRHA and NRCHA events. Earlier sires of importance included One Eyed Hippy, Bill Van Vactor, Texas Gill, Desecho, and Eddie 40.

“I really feel that the Eddie 40 horses were the best that we ever raised,” noted Scott. “They had everything a cowboy could want – lots of cow, easy to ride, good balance, soft mouth, and heart that would not quit.”

S Ranch will be presented with the Best Remuda Award in November, at the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo, TX.

“Ranches such as S Ranch have contributed to our nation’s greatness and helped build the American Quarter Horse Association into what it is today,” said AQHA executive director Bill Brewer. “With this Award, we honor American Quarter Horse ranches that continue the traditions of the past.”

Near record Keeneland Yearling Sale

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Keeneland’s 16-day September Yearling Sale, which concluded on Tuesday, September 25, ranks as the second-highest grossing September sale with just over $385 million, down only 3.7 percent from last year’s 14-day record of $399,791,800. While the average price of $101,347 dropped 9.9 percent from the record $112,427 in 2006, the sale established an industry record for number of horses sold – 3,799 from 5,553 cataloged, compared to 3,556 from 5,161, a year ago.

“The September Sale remains the world’s barometer of the Thoroughbred yearling market,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “This year’s sale was exceptionally strong, and its performance even more impressive than last year’s record sale … with keen competition among buyers into the last days of the sale; strong domestic interest; greater spending by the Europeans; active buying from pinhookers; and a good mix of horsemen from around the world. We sold 32 million-dollar yearlings, the same number as last year, but more individual buyers bought those yearlings.”

Buyers from 29 countries participated in this year’s sale. “The international market is very comfortable here because of the transparency of our transactions,” Russell noted. “They feel they get a proper shake because we disclose more information to potential buyers.”

Despite the strength of the September Sale, however, Russell had a word of caution.

“I don’t think the industry should look at the results of this sale and feel there is no concern for the long-term health of the market,” he said. “The breeding industry as a whole must take a long, hard look at its practices, particularly regarding stud fees and the oversupply of horses. The industry needs to address these issues and encourage more participation in racing before we suffer a painful reality check.”

Demi O’Byrne, on behalf of John Magnier and Coolmore Stud, signed the ticket for seven million-dollar purchases, outlasting Texan Clarence Scharbauer, Jr., to acquire the sale topper, a colt by Unbridled’s Song for $3.7 million. Consigned by Lane’s End, agent, the colt is out of Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Secret Status, by A.P Indy.

Last year’s sale topper, a Kingmambo colt, brought $11.7 million from John Ferguson, outbidding representatives of Coolmore Stud, on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed. O’Byrne also signed the ticket for the sale’s highest-priced filly, paying $1.6 million for a daughter of Seeking the Gold out of the stakes-winning Crystal Crossing (Ire), by Royal Academy, consigned by Eaton Sales, agent. O’Byrne was the sale’s leading buyer, purchasing 13 yearlings for $17,920,000.