Archive for May, 2009

Rachel Alexandra passes on Belmont Stakes

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Rachel Alexandra, the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness Stakes, will skip the $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 6, freeing jockey Calvin Borel to ride Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the 1½-mile race.

“After careful consideration, we have decided not to run Rachel Alexandra in the Belmont Stakes next weekend,” said owner Jess Jackson in a statement issued late Friday afternoon. “We have advised Calvin Borel, Chip Woolley (Mine That Bird’s trainer) and Belmont of our decision. We thank them, the media, and the fans for their many courtesies and patience while we pondered.

“We know the media and many fans would have liked to see her run in the Belmont Stakes — we feel the same. But all of us sincerely interested in the horse must agree that we only want to see her run when it is best for her. While she is in great shape, having strong works, and recovering well from her amazing performances, we feel Rachel deserves a well-earned vacation. Since March 14, Rachel has won four graded races with just two weeks rest between her last two victories. We will always put her long-term well being first. And, of course, we want to run her when she is fresh.”

While Jackson, who purchased Rachel Alexandra for a reputed $10 million, following her stunning victory in the Kentucky Oaks, declined to specify a date, he did say the celebrated filly would make a start at Belmont Park this season.

Borel, who rode Mine That Bird to a 50-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby, took himself off of the Derby winner to ride Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness, where Mine That Bird finished second under Mike Smith. Borel will now ride the Derby winner as he tries to become the first jockey in history to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in the same season aboard different horses.

Although he had received calls from a number of jockeys expressing interest in riding Mine That Bird in the Belmont, Chip Woolley said he wanted Borel to ride the gelding and was willing to wait until the last minute.

“Now that this decision is made, I am excited to come to New York and ride Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes,” said Borel. “I would like to thank Chip Woolley, and (owners) Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach for being so gracious and allowing us to wait for this decision. We also thank Mr. Jackson for letting everyone know earlier than anticipated about the decision whether to run Rachel Alexandra.”

Mine That Bird, currently training at Churchill Downs, is scheduled to breeze there on Monday, June 1 before flying to New York on Wednesday, as he attempts to become the 12th horse in history to win the Derby and the Belmont. Thunder Gulch in 1995 was the last horse to win both races.

Lining up to challenge the Derby winner in the Belmont will be Brave Victory, Charitable Man, Chocolate Candy, Dunkirk, Flying Private, Luv Gov, Miner’s Escape, Mr. Hot Stuff, Summer Bird and possibly Nowhere To Hide.

John Deere Open division a hit with NCHA competitors

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

The National Cutting Horse Association hit a home run with the John Deere Open division at its three major Fort Worth events in 2008, according to Lindy Burch, trainer and former NCHA president. “The response in number of entries was off the charts,” said Burch, comparing the “revolving door” concept of the  John Deere Open division with the old Open Limited division, which it replaced following a proposal from the Professional Trainers committee that emerged from the NCHA convention.

In 2006, entries in Limited Open classes at NCHA’s triple crown events had dwindled to 223. With the new concept, which allows veteran riders who have not earned $200,000 in the past five years to participate, entries skyrocketed to 501 in 2008. Purses more than doubled in the same time frame. And, allaying the fears of some who thought aging Hall of Fame riders would come back to take all the marbles, no Hall of Famer has won yet under the new format.  2009 Super Stakes John Deere champ Jaime Beamer (pictured) for instance, is the latest champ to qualify under both the old and new guidelines.

“In this class, you combine those young, athletic trainers with the older, and more experienced, trainers,” said Burch, of the successful, new format that has support from many members of both the Trainers and the Limited Aged Events committees. “The beauty of this is that the younger rider gets a second opportunity to compete with their mentors, and also allows those who have have not been as successful in recent years to have another chance for a final.”

Sires of 2009 NCHA money earners

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Leading sires of NCHA money earners for the 2009 calendar year are listed below. Stats are based on official NCHA earnings posted through May 22. They do not yet include the results of the 2009 Breeders Invitational. Compare to previous list.

HIGH BROW CAT $2,248,065
DUAL REY $1,007,204
DUAL PEP $399,636
PLAYGUN $238,661
CD OLENA $237,907
SMART MATE $228,102


Jet Black Patriot owners file suit regarding 2008 All American Futurity results

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Janelle and Richard Simon and Eric Curtis, the owners and trainer of Jet Black Patriot, respectively, have filed a suit against the New Mexico Racing Commission in New Mexico court.

Last year, Jet Black Patriot finished second to Stolis Winner in the G1 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. Stolis Winner tested positive for caffiene, a banned substance. The New Mexico Racing Commission ruled that the horse was disqualified from his victory, but the decision was appealed and is awaiting a subsequent hearing. Due to the appeal, the New Mexico Racing Commission still recognizes Stolis Winner as the winner of the race.

The Simons are seeking to gain a voice in an appeal over the suspension of the winning horse’s trainer, according to a report by the Associated Press. The lawsuit was filed May 14 at the state district court in Santa Fe, and is being presided over by judge Daniel Sanchez.

In November, the Simons filed a federal lawsuit in Austin, Texas, seeking to have a judge declare their horse the rightful winner of the race. The Simons also seek $2 million, which includes the $1 million winner’s purse, along with what they allege are lost stud fees and marketing and licensing agreements.

High Brow Cat surpasses Smart Little Lena as all-time leading sire

Monday, May 25th, 2009

A 1-2-3 finish in the Breeders Invitational Open Derby on Memorial Day weekend, clinched High Brow Cat’s new title as the all-time leading sire of NCHA money earners. He overtakes long-standing leader Smart Little Lena. Prior to the show, which concluded in Tulsa on Saturday, High Brow Cat’s offspring had earned $32,941,213 in NCHA competition, compared to Smart Little Lena’s $33,119,981.

High Brow Cat-sired competitors dominated the Breeder’s Invitational, earning $400,000 (not including stallion bonus money) in divisional finals and go-rounds, while Smart Little Lena offspring made about $37,000 at the show.

NCHA Futurity champion and Super Stakes reserve champ Metallic Cat, with 228 points under Beau Galyean, collected $76,163 in NCHA earnings as winner of the Breeder’s Invitational Derby, moving him within just a few thousand dollars of an elite group of performers with over $500,000 in official NCHA earnings.

Hangem Cat, with Wes Galyean, placed as reserve with 224 points to earn $45,8134 (NCHA), and Desires Katrina and Darren Simpkins finished third with 221.5.

High Brow Cat has been a dominant force in cutting arenas for more than a decade, most recently with a record $6 million in NCHA offspring earnings in 2008.

Together, High Brow Cat and Smart Little Lena offspring have earned more than 10% of the $628 million in purses paid out in NCHA-sanctioned competition since the association was formed in 1946.

Dustin Adams won the BI Non-Pro Derby with 219 on Marmolaker by Laker Doc, while Kelle Earnheart was reserve with 218 on Smooth An Boon, by Smooth As A Cat.

Click here for full results and pedigrees on all Breeders Invitational divisions.

Fields set for first leg of Quarter racing’s Triple Crown

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Running Brook Gal, from the first crop of Brookstone Bay, stopped the clock at 17.638 seconds on Friday, May 22, as the fastest qualifier for the 350-yard $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity, the first leg of Quarter racing’s Triple Crown, to be run at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, June 7.

The 1½ length win over a sloppy track with Kenny Muntz in the saddle, was a career debut for Albert and Chad Richard’s home-bred filly, trained by Paul Jones.

First Klas Fred had the second-fastest time from 17 trials with 17.691 seconds. The son of first crop sire Fredricksburg had previously finished fifth in the Grade 1, $300,000 West Texas Futurity. He is trained by Mike Joiner for Denis and Julie Schoenhofer, who purchased the gelding, bred by Jim & Marilyn Helzer, for $20,000 at the Eclipse Select Yearling Sale on August 8, 2008, at Lone Star Park.

Horses with the 10 fastest times from the trials became eligible to race in the finals on June 7. The winner’s share of the Ruidoso Futurity is $250,000.

The top money earner in the field, GBH Steppin Johnny, scored the biggest trial victory in the 11th trial with a 2¼ length win in :17.809 seconds. It was the Southern Cartel colt’s fourth consecutive win. The Jackie Riddle-trained gelding was ridden by Joe Martinez for Gary and Bonnie Harstack.

Ruidoso Futurity qualifiers are: Running Brook Gal (:17.638), First Klas Fred (:17.691), Sir Seth (:17.696), Jess So Sixy (:17.728), Shake Em Money Pop (:17.747), Swingin Daddyo (:17.764), Effortless Jessie (:17.784), Eyes On My Corona (:17.804), GBH Steppin Johnny (:17.809) and Jessy Jane (:17.847).

Paul Jones capped two successful trials days at Ruidoso Downs, when Brenda Beautiful (photo) topped all qualifiers to the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby in 19.465 seconds. It was the fourth consecutive win for the Feature Mr Jess daughter owned by R.D. Hubbard and Johnny T.L. Jones Jr.

The second-fastest Ruidoso Derby qualifier, Time For A Cigar, is owned by Mark Allen’s Double Eagle Farm, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

Ruidoso Derby qualifiers are Brenda Beautiful (:19.465), Time For A Cigar (:19.474), Lake View Dreams (:19.488), Fasten Your Cuflinks (:19.538), Zoomin For Cash (:19.540), Cashinginmydreams (:19.540), Takeela Sunrise (:19.579), Little Rebas Corona (:19.654), Shaboomator (:19.690) and Mightys Last Call (:19.698).

2009 NCHA Riders

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Following are the leading NCHA riders of the 2009 calendar year, based on official NCHA results posted through May 22. The list includes both Open and Non-Pro riders. (Compare to previous listing).

Rider 2009 Earnings
PHILIP RAPP $266,451
BOYD RICE $176,830
MATT GAINES $138,116
CLINT ALLEN $133,026
BILL RIDDLE $116,782
ED FLYNN $116,432
CHAD BUSHAW $114,724