Archive for June, 2008

Joe Blair got Joe Reed

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

There was an error in my previous post about Pan Zarita, where I referred to Joe Blair as the grandsire of Joe Reed. Joe Blair (TB) is actually the sire of Joe Reed. The post has been corrected for the record, but I wanted to point out the error to those who read the earlier post.

While on the subject of Joe Blair, Pan Zarita and Black Gold (previous post), it is interesting to note that Miss Blair, the dam of Joe Blair, was by Bowling Green, who also sired the dam of Useeit. Useeit was the dam of Beggar Boy, a full brother to Black Gold (pictured). Beggar Boy and his stablemate Oklahoma Star, both legendary among rodeo and working cowboys, were owned by Ronald Mason, Nowata, OK.

As happens with full siblings – even twins (something for the “clone-anxious” to ponder), Black Gold and Beggar Boy were different. Although both were black like their sire, Black Toney, who also got 1933 Kentucky Derby winner Brokers Tip, Black Gold proved to be a stayer, while Beggar Boy had speed, but little stamina. Also, Black Gold was sterile, while Beggar Boy, foaled in 1924, the year his big brother won the Kentucky Derby, was prolific.

Although many of his Thoroughbred progeny could go a mile or more, Beggar Boy earned his fame through the explosive speed of his offspring. He and Oklahoma Star were more or less no-miss sires of quarter horse performers for Ronald Mason, and their nick with each others’ daughters remains one of the most outstanding success stories in AQHA history.

Cutters will recognize the name Leo Bingo. Sired by Leo and out of the Beggar Boy daughter, Beggar Girl, Leo Bingo was one of a rare few Quarter Horses to earn a AAA rating on the racetrack, and qualify as an AQHA champion at halter and in cutting.

Quarter Horses come home to Fair Grounds

Friday, June 27th, 2008

 Fair Grounds, one of the oldest Thoroughbred tracks in the United States, will hold its first ever Quarter Horse meet August 20 through 24, 2008.

Ironically, the infield of the famous New Orleans track is the last resting place of Pan Zarita, a half-breed Quarter Horse who was one of the greatest sprinters of all time. Sired by the Thoroughbred Abe Frank and foaled in Texas in 1910, out of the “quarter” mare Caddie Griffith, Pan Zarita began her career as a 2-year-old in Juarez, Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution.

By the time she was five, Pan Zarita had won races at tracks as well known as Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Oaklawn, and Aqueduct, and in places as obscure as Butte, Montana and Salt Lake City. But her greatest accomplishment came at Juarez in 1915, when she set a 5-furlong world record that stayed on the books for 31 years. In so doing, she defeated Joe Blair (TB), sire of Joe Reed P-3, one of the original Quarter Horse foundation sires, as well as both paternal and maternal grandsire of the great Quarter Horse perfornance sire Leo.

In another strange twist of fate, Joe Blair’s sire, Bonnie Joe, was the paternal grandsire of Black Gold, winner of the 1924 Kentucky Derby, and the only horse besides Pan Zarita to be buried in the infield at Fair Grounds .

Named for the daughter of a Juarez city official, Pan Zarita became the winningest mare and the most accomplished distaff weight-carrier in the history of the American turf. From151 starts between 1912 and 1917, she won 76, finished second in 31, and placed third in 21. She carried more than 130 pounds in 28 races; more than 140 pounds in seven; and broke or equaled 11 track records.

Pan Zarita died of pneumonia at Fair Grounds on January 19, 1918. She was inducted into Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame in 1972.

Black Gold broke his foreleg just above the ankle in a race at Fair Grounds on January 18, 1928 and was humanely destroyed on site.

Foose cuts loose

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

A speedy 2-year-old colt with the unlikely name of Foose is stacking up to be the Quarter Horse equivalent of Big Brown.

On Saturday, June 21, Foose won the $1.2 million Ed Burke Million Futurity at Los Alamitos, just 5/100s of a second shy of the 350-yard track record. It was the Stel Corona colt’s third win in three starts. He made his debut on April 19 with a 3 1/2-length victory and the fastest 300-yard (15.19) by a 2-year-old first-time starter on record at Los Alamitos.

“His debut was the most impressive win that I had seen since Bunnys Bar Maid in the sixties,” said AQHA Hall of Fame owner Ed Allred, who purchased half-interest in Foose from trainer Paul Jones, after the colt’s debut. “I thought about it for about twenty seconds and then I decided to buy the horse. I remember watching (1961 champion 2-year-old filly) Bunnys Bar Maid run 18 flat, which back then was a very fast time, to win by four lengths. That’s what I was reminded of when I saw Foose win his debut.”

Foose got loose from his competition right from the start of the Ed Burke, opening up a 1/2-length advantage before sailing home to a length victory over Kindergarten Futurity runner-up Sixish. Ridden by Ramon Sanchez, Foose covered the 350-yard distance in 17.22.

With $474,350 in earnings, Foose is the nation’s leading Quarter Horse money earner by $2,183 over Jerry Windham’s Stolis Winner. He now has the chance to become the first horse ever to win the $1 million Los Alamitos Cash Bonanza bonus, if he goes on to win the Golden State Million, on November 1, and Los Alamitos Two Million, on December 12.

Jones, who saddled five of the 10 Ed Burke Million Futurity finalists and is a six-time AQHA champion trainer, bred Foose out of the Royal Quick Dash daughter Summertime Quickie. Foose is from the first crop of performers by Stel Corona, a graded stakes winner of $111,584, owned by the Stel Corona Partnership, Bosque, NM. Shortly after he purchased his interest in Foose, Allred moved quickly to obtain 25 percent interest in Stel Corona, who stood in New Mexico this year for $2,000.

Om on the range

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

What do horseback riding and yoga have in common? More than you might think.

Margaret Burns Vap turned to yoga ten years ago as a way to balance her hectic New York City lifestyle and corporate career. In 2007, Vap gave up the big city life and moved to Bozeman, MT, where she founded Big Sky Yoga Retreats, which combines yoga and outdoor fitness, including horseback riding. To find out more about Vap’s yoga connection and how yoga can improve horse and rider interaction, click here.

Highlights from the 2008 NRCHA Derby

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Days Zanolena displayed her true grit with a 222-point performance in the “cow work” phase of the NRCHA Open Derby, on June 22 in Paso Robles, CA, to win the event with a composite score of 653 (including 218 in herd work and 213 in reining). The 5-year-old Smart Zanolena daughter, ridden by Tucker Robinson for Matt and Leslie Day, Bend, OR, earned a total of $50,740, with $8,370 as champion of the Intermediate Open Derby, as well.

“She’s by far the best horse I’ve ever ridden, and I guarantee, she may be the best I’ll ever ride in my life,” said Robinson, 29, son of seven-time Snaffle Bit Futurity Open champion Ted Robinson. “There’s not enough words to say how great she is.” Days Zanolena was also champion of the 2008 NRCHA Stakes and the NRCHA Hackamore Classic under Robinson.

Doug Williamson, 66, tied for the Open Derby reserve title with composites of 650.5 on 2007 NRCHA Open Derby champion Docs Soula and Hes Wright On. Docs Soula, by Soula Jule Star, is owned D & S Quarter Horses, Terrebonne, OR; Hes Wright On, by Lenas Wright On, belongs to Gardiner Quarter Horses of Ashland, KS. Each earned $28,843.

Reminic Moon Shine and Corey Cushing claimed $30,800 with a 656.6 top composite in the $50,000-added Jack and Phoebe Cooke Open Bridle Spectacular. The 9-year-old gelded son of Reminic is owned by Kylie Knight, 19, Peoria, AZ, who will be riding him this year at the AQHYA Youth World Show in Oklahoma City.

Chics Magic Potion earned $25,300 as Open Bridle reserve champion with a composite of 656. The 8-year-old son of Smart Chic Olena was ridden for Kenneth Banks, Schulenburg, TX, by Bob Avila.

In the Non-Pro Derby, Mike Miller, Big Piney, WY, came out the winner on 4-year-old Bucks Genuine Fever, by Miller’s stallion Playboys Buck Fever. Jo Anne Carollo was reserve riding Repeat Plan, by A Master Plan.

Bill Cowan (pictured with Michelle), who is also an NCHA champion, won the Intermediate Non-Pro Derby on his wife Michelle’s horse Wheres My Shine, by Shining Spark. Michelle, who won the 2007 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non-Pro championship on the mare, is expecting the couple’s second child in November and bowed out of the competition.

“Everybody has been kidding that I got her pregnant just so I could ride her horses,” said Cowan. “But it’s working out pretty well and this mare is just great.”

Heading in the right direction

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Membership, shows, entries, added money, purses: all of the trends an equine organization might watch are heading in the right direction with the National Cutting Horse Association, said NCHA’s finance committee chairman Terry Strange (pictured) at the association’s annual convention in Grapevine, Texas this weekend. He showed NCHA directors figures that from 2000 to 2007 to illustrate that NCHA

  • Membership increased 31%
  • Weekend show purses were up 40%
  • Limited age event purses were up 121%
  • Purses at NCHA’s six shows were up 69%
  • Purses at all NCHA shows were up 76% (from $24.6 million to $43.4 million)
  • Purses per member were up 34%
  • The appraised value of NCHA’s headquarters building, purchased in 2002, has risen by 76% over the cost of purchase and renovation

The main business of the convention is for the NCHA’s 13 standing committees to develop proposals for the executive committee to review for action later this year. The front-and-center topic was changes to the standards applied to Amateur and Non-Pro eligibility, with statistics gathered, proposals circulated and surveys taken well in advance of the convention. Most committee chairs reported opposition to a major overhaul of the current standards, but invited ongoing review of money limits and other requirements for Amateur vs. Non-Pro eligibility.

Other topics that sparked widespread interest included:

  • Wider recognition of Hall of Fame, Horse of the Year, Non-Pro and Youth horses and riders
  • Gather data for setting time limits for settling herds in Triple Crown events

Re-elected to the Executive Committee are Jerry Black and Ernie Beutenmiller Jr. Joining them are newly elected members Edley Hixson Jr. and Don Bussey. Bronc Willoughby was installed as president; Chris Benedict is the newly elected vice president.

G.R. Carter surpasses Jacky Martin in all-time earnings

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

G.R.Carter became Quarter racing’s all-time leading jockey in spectacular fashion on June 1 at Remington Park. Entering the final weekend of the Oklahoma City track’s Quarter Horse meet, Carter needed a little more than $162,000 to match Jacky Martin’s record of $41,405,207.

Carter, 40, a former gymnast known to perform a celebratory back-flip dismount in the winner’s circle, won the Land Run Stakes and just missed the 350-yard track record on Duck Mea Running, the meet’s champion Oklahoma-bred. He then piloted Coronas Fast Dash to a second-place finish in the G1 Heritage Place Derby, and in the final race, the $1.1 million Heritage Place Futurity, rode Jess Zoomin to place second. Carter had qualified the winner, 24-1 longshot Stolis Winner, but had picked the mount on Jess Zoomin, who he had ridden to qualify for the race with a track record-setting 17.320 seconds.

In addition to finishing the meet with a new Quarter Horse world earnings record of $41,601,052, Carter scored a record 98 wins, breaking his own previous record of 93 for a season at Remington Park (with 25% wins and 56% in-the-money finishes), and earned his eleventh championship title at the track.

In the past, Carter, a Pawhuska, OK native, has also topped the charts in wins and/or earnings at other major Quarter tracks, including Ruidoso Downs. But while Jacky Martin, now retired, won the All American Futurity, a race that pays $1 million to the winner, seven times, Carter has won that race just once, which makes his earnings record all the more significant.

“To pass someone like Jacky is pretty special,” Carter said. “It’s kind of humbling because when I first started riding, I studied people like him. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of years.”

Carter’s $41 million record does not include money earned in Paint and Appaloosa races, where he is also a leader. On May 31 at Remington Park, he won the $190,000 Graham Paint Futurity on Flash N B Gone. On April 19, he rode Bust N Moves to beat 16-time undefeated Got Country Grip by a nod in the Mister Lewie Handicap and foil the Paint champion’s hopes for a world record of 17 consecutive wins.