Archive for November, 2010

219 ties Kyle Manion and James Hooper for lead

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Kyle Manion

Kyle Manion with Calm Cool Smooth

Calm Cool Smooth. His mount’s moniker pretty well summed up Kyle Manion’s 219-point performance on Monday – the first day of Non-Pro competition in the Borden Milk NCHA Futurtiy in Fort Worth.

Manion and Calm Cool Smooth tied with James Hooper, on Dox Sugar Blue, for the high score of the day.

“We bought her as a yearling out of the (Futurity) sales and my mother changed her name,” said Manion of his Smooth As A Cat daughter, out of Fruit Of The Boom, by Boomernic.

“She’s really soft and smart, and I haven’t really felt like I’ve been in trouble in any of my runs on her so far.”

Manion, marketing manager for his family’s Manion Ranch, in Aubrey, TX, qualified Calm Cool Smooth for the Open Semi-Finals with a cumulative score of 433.5. Matt Miller, who qualified two horses for the Open Semi-Finals, trained Calm Cool Smooth.

“Matt has done a great job,” said Manion. “She’s thoughtful and easy to ride, and smart and smooth.”

Tommy Manion, Kyle’s father, bred Smooth As A Cat, by High Brow Cat, out of his 1994 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro champion mount Shes Pretty Smooth.

Four of the top 11 high-scoring horses going into the Open Semi-Finals are sired by Smooth As A Cat, who was shown by Matt Gaines to win over $500,000 and

earn the title of 2005 NCHA Horse of the Year; Kyle Manion has owned the stallion since December 2004.

Dox Sugar Blue

James Hooper

James Hooper and Dox Sugar Blue

“You never know until you drop your hand at the show exactly what you’ve got. I think that’s what makes the Futurity what it is,” said James Hooper, a Decatur, Alabama business owner and past president of NCHA.

But Hooper, who tied Kyle Manion with 219 points to lead the first day’s action, had intimations of his gelding’s potential.

“He’s been solid for about three months,” said Hooper. He’s one of those colts that when you turn them loose in the last month or so, they get more comfortable and really start liking it.”

Hooper and his wife, Gail, who also shows in the Non-Pro go-round, purchased Dox Sugar Blue, by Mecom Blue, at the Rock Creek Dispersal Sale in September 2009.

The full brother to Blue Dox Com ($93,598) and half-brother to Dual N At Noon ($161,869), had been started by Roger Wagner. Brad Mitchell finished Dox Sugar Blue for the Hoopers.

“He feels like a four or five-year-old,” said Hooper. “And he kind of lets you ride him that way. I think we hit a home run with him.”

Hooper shows Mr Pib, by Dual Pep, on Wednesday.

Whata Stylish Badger

Kelle Earnheart, defending NCHA Futurity Non-Pro champion, returned this year with Whata Stylish Badger, by Reys Dual Badger, the sire of her 2009 champion,  Badgers Perscription.

“He’s a gelding and I think he might be a little bit stronger than my mare was last year at this time,” said Earnheart, who marked 217 points to tie with Megan Mowery as the second highest-scoring rider on Monday. “But they’re both really nice horses. The way they feel on a cow, they’re close to being the same.”

Earnheart acquired Whata Stylish Badger, a half-brother to Spoonfula Style ($54,366), from Darren Simpkins, who trained him, as well as Badgers Perscription, and owned and showed Reys Dual Badger. 2006 NCHA Horse of the Year.

Sweet Calico Cat

“I was a little nervous, but I’ve climbed on my dad’s horses for years and years,” said Megan Mowery, after her 217-point performance aboard Sweet Calico Cat, the last daughter of leading producer Sweet Lil Lena.

“She was easy. There was no jockeying. It was just get out of her way and let her do her thing.”

Megan’s father, Hall of Fame champion Mike Mowery, trained Sweet Calico Cat, a half-sister to Sweet Lil Pepto ($218,655); Pepto Taz ($130,174); and Sweet  Little CD ($106,085).

Smooth Peanutbutter tops the field with 437

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Tim Smith

Tim Smith and Smooth Peanutbutter

“I hate to wait until the last day,” said Tim Smith, following his 218.5-point performance last Friday, aboard Smooth Peanutbutter, by Smooth As A Cat. “I knew she was good, but when you’re sitting around waiting, you see so many bad things happen, you hope it doesn’t happen to you.”

California-based Smith, in town to catch-ride for Smooth Peanutbutter’s trainer, Gary Gonsalves, had also scored 218.5 points on the Smooth As A Cat daughter in the first go-round. Their cumulative score of 437 points leads 80 qualifiers to the Open Semi-Finals on Friday, December 10.

Spookystimetoshine, ridden by Steve Oehlhof for Darol and Karen Rodrock, was second with 436.5 points, followed by First Lookin and Tyler Merrill with 436 points, for Danny Miller.

“She’s a wonderful little mare,” said Smith of Smooth Peanutbutter. “She’s very smart and easy to get along with. The mare that Chris Bates shows has the same dam.”

Chris Bates, also catch-riding for Gary Gonsalves, scored 219 points in the first go-round. and also advanced to the Semi-Finals, on Iron Rose Ranch-bred Grit And Grace, by One Time Pepto. Justa Smart Peanut, 2001 NCHA Horse of the Year and lifetime earner of $353,414, is dam of both horses. Gonsalves qualified for the Open
Semi-Finals with a cumulative score of 433.5 points riding DMAC Big Casino for David and Stacie McDavid of Fort Worth.

Cat Man Blue, shown by Sean Flynn for Lazy M Cattle Company, tallied the fourth-highest cumulative of 435.5 points. The High Brow Cat son, out of major NCHA money earner Quintan Blue, also tied Tazs Dreamgirl and rider Lloyd Cox with the high score — 218.5 points — from Sunday’s final day of second go-round competition.

“We had a decent score (217 points) from the first go-round, but I tried not to safety up on him,” said Flynn. “I don’t seem to do well trying to be safe.”

Cat Man Blue’s half-brother, Blue One Time, also qualified for the Semi-Finals with 433.5 points under Clint Allen.

“He’s tough, but he’s got a good look about him and he’s smart about a cow,” said Allen of Blue One Time. “This last month he’s really come on.”

First Down Dash 1984-2010

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

First Down Dash

First Down Dash, the AQHA running champion who has dominated the leading sire standings for the past two decades, was laid to rest at Vessels Stallion Farms on November 26. He was 26.

Bonnie Vessels, widow of Frank “Scoop” Vessels III, who died in a private plane crash last summer, said that First Down Dash was quietly eating hay in his stall, when observed by ranch manager Kevin Dickson at 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Three hours later, the night watchman saw First Down Dash take his last breath.

“The entire family is here and First Down Dash is resting with a set of Vessels Stallion Farms silks and an ample supply of sunflower seeds in the place which Scoop selected some time ago,” Vessels said. The ranch crew joined the family at the ceremony.

The AQHA running champion of 1987, First Down Dash sired the earners of nearly $74 million, through November 25, 2010. He is currently the only sire in 2010 with eight $100,000-plus earners, and the only stallion with five $200,000-plus earners.

His single best year as a sire was in 2006, when his runners included 16 stakes winners; the earners of $6,560,242; and No Secrets Here, his sixth All American Futurity winner.

First Down Dash bred a full book of mares in 2010 and was expected to do so again in 2011. But with a crop of 86 foals eligible to race as two-year-olds of 2011 and a $35 million margin as all-time leading sire over his own sire, #2-ranked Dash For Cash, First Down Dash’s status should be secure for years to come.

First Down Dash was bred by the late A.F. “Sonny” Stanley out of First Prize Rose, a granddaughter of Lady’s Bug Moon, and was purchased as a yearling by Scoop Vessels’ mother, the late Mildred Vessels.

Ms Peppy Cat 2 for 2 in World Finals

Sunday, November 28th, 2010
Ms Peppy Cat

Pete Branch marked 225.5 on Ms Peppy Cat last night.

Ms Peppy Cat made it two in a row last night in the second round of the Mercuria Energy NCHA World Finals in Fort Worth. After winning the first round with a 229, Pete Branch rode her to a 225.5-point win in Round 2. Thomas E Hughes, ridden by Austin Shepard for Don and Kathy Boone, marked 224 for second place last night.

Ms Peppy Cat, the 2008 NCHA World Champion owned by Lonnie and Barbara Allsup of Clovis, New Mexico, collected another $6,410 last night for a 2010 total of $92,251. The 8-year-old High Brow Cat mare will be retired after the World Finals concludes next week, and will carry a foal next year.

“The first cow wasn’t all that great, but the second cow was outstanding,” Branch said. “I turned around for my third cow, but I couldn’t locate the one I wanted. I saw the yellow cow and stepped to it. It wasn’t a great cow, but it got me through it and we made it work.”

Branch credits Ms Peppy Cat’s intelligence and heart for her success, along with formidable physical tools.

“What has always amazed me about this mare is she can be going and be stopped and sucking back as fast as any horse I’ve ever ridden,” he said. “She’ll be going wide open and then be heading the other direction just as quick. When she hits that stop, she just stays down all the way through the turn. She never has to raise up. That comes from just being powerful.”

Tachitas Cat, ridden by Gavin Jordan for Margot Hazell, is currently second in the standings with$45,260.

The Mercuria NCHA World Finals resume Thursday, December 2 in the Watt Arena, and conclude on Saturday, December 4.

Tara Gaines takes second round with a 229

Sunday, November 28th, 2010
Tara Gaines

Tara Gaines marked 229 on Patrick La Dual.

After marking 227 Friday on Patrick La Dual to win the first round of the Non-Pro Mercuria Energy NCHA World Finals, Tara Gaines thought she would play it safe in last night’s second round in Fort Worth. That’s not quite how it worked out.

“I thought, okay I had my big run (Friday), so my game plan was just to be clean, maybe mark a 219 and get a check and I’d be happy,” she said. “But it all just came together.

“My horse was incredible again. I swear that he knows what’s at stake. He has just been phenomenal.”

Gaines’ 7.5-point win over Julie Hansma on Al Poocino was worth $6,410 and it gave her a 2010 total of $62,075, not quite $5,000 ahead of seven-time World Champion Mary Jo Milner.

Her run built momentum until the crowd overwhelmed the final buzzer.

“I had quite a bit of time after my first cow,” she said. “You want to go dig and find the right cow and make sure you finish your run right, not cut something too quickly. Sometimes I try to pull the trigger a little quick, and you end up where your cow dies off and doesn’t finish the run as strong as you’d want.”

While Gaines has only been showing a few years, she was introduced to cutting horses ten years ago while working for Lindy Burch during Burch’s World Championship season with Bet Yer Blue Boons. She was never interested in showing herself until her husband, Matt, bought her Patrick La Dual from Christy Leeth.

“I’d always loved Patrick since Paul Hansma showed him at the Futurity,” she said. “There’s something about his demeanor. He’s just this big, soft, kind horse who gets at your heart.”

The 9-year-old son of CD Olena already had six-figure aged event earnings under Hansma and Leeth, and Gaines credits him with much of her success.

“He had that foundation and he’s taught me so much,” she said. “Matt works him and keeps him right, and I step on and go show. I think it’s really important for people to get with a good trainer and buy a good horse.”

The Mercuria NCHA World Finals resume with Round 3 on Thursday, December 2 in the Watt Arena.

Wiley Cat leads first day of Round 2

Sunday, November 28th, 2010
Dirk Blakesley

Dirk Blakesley and Wiley Cat.

Wiley Cat and Dirk Blakesley, with 212 points from the first go-round, “came a’cluckin” yesterday, in the second round of Open competition in the Borden Milk NCHA Futurity, and left the arena with something to crow about.

“You never know in this deal. You just show with all you’ve got and hope you cut good cows,” said Blakesley, who scored 221 points on the High Brow Cat son, owned by the Wiley Cat Partnership.

“I feel bad for Michael (Cooper), but I’m glad he let me show him. He’s a super horse and I think there’s still more there.”

Wiley Cat was trained by Michael Cooper, who is recuperating from surgery for a knee injury sustained two months ago. His full brother, Woodys Wildest Cat, ridden by Darren Simpkins for breeder/owner Cinder Lakes Ranch, is also a top contender with a cumulative score of 434.5 points.

“He was really good in the first go-round, but I think I held him too long on my first cut and had to drag him back,” Blakesley added. “Then I had a miss, when the first cow threw him a ‘bad-dirty.’ Even though he covered it well, it was still a miss.”

Wiley Cat made his bid deep in the first set of cattle. The day’s second-highest score came late in the second set, where Spookystimetoshine marked 220.5 points with Steve Oehlhof.

Spookystimetoshine also had the second-highest cumulative score — 436.5 points.

“He always has his ears up and he’s always bright,” said Oehlhof, who is catch-riding the One Time Pepto son, owned by Darol and Karen Rodrock, for Gary Gonsalves.

“He can be standing still in front of a cow and still have that presence. But he’s also a big, pretty stopper.”

Spookystimetoshine, consigned by Jeff Barnes’ McGlaughlin Ranch, was the high-selling 2-year-old, at $125,000, during last year’s NCHA Futurity Sales.

His dam, San Starlight, has produced 12 NCHA money earners of $977,292, for an average of $81,444, including Spookys Cash, Spookys Smarty Pants, Spookys Catmando and Spookys Cat Deville, all with $100,000 or more, and all trained and ridden in open competition by Gary Gonsalves.

Spookystimetoshine’s yearling full brother, Spookys Roan Rolex, is consigned to the Invitational Yearling Sale on December 7, in John Justin Arena.

Wiley Cat, out of Miss Echo Wood, has a half-brother by One Time Pepto consigned to the Invitational Yearling Sale, and a full sister consigned to the NCHA 2-Year-Old Sale.

2010 NCHA World Finals Open Round 2

Saturday, November 27th, 2010
225.5 MS PEPPY CAT R: Pete Branch O: Lonnie & Barbara Allsup
m (High Brow Cat x Ms Peppy Doc, by Peppy San Badger)
Earned: $6,410
224.0 THOMAS E HUGHES R: Austin Shepard O: Don & Kathy Boone
s (High Brow Cat x Smart Letha, by Smart Little Lena)
Earned: $5,128
221.0 TACHITAS CAT R: Gavin Jordan O: Margot Hazell
g (High Brow Cat x Tachitas Last, by Peppy San Badger)
Earned: $3,846
220.5 STYLISH CURLY R: Curly Tully O: Katherine Macmillan Tanner
s (Docs Stylish Oak x Smart Little Curly, by Smart Little Lena)
Earned: $3,077
220.0 SISTER CD R: Skip Queen O: Skip Queen
g (Cd Olena x Little Baby Sister, by Dual Pep)
Earned: $2,564
219.5 FAITH IN MY CAT R: Tom Lyons O: Tom & Jenifer Lyons
g (High Brow Cat x Faith In Your Mate, by Smart Mate)
Earned: $2,051
219.0 JUST PLAYIN SMART R: Matt Gaines O: Ralph Gray
s (Freckles Playboy x Smart Little Pet, by Doc O’lena)
Earned: $1,538
218.5 FRECKLED LEO LENA R: Raymond Shumate O: Felicia Mancuso
s (Smart Little Lena x Freckled Leo Girl, by Freckles Playboy)
Earned: $1,026
218.0 JUSTA LIL FRECK R: Steve Oehlhof O: Missy Oehlhof
m (Bobs Freckle x Justa Lil Tomboy, by Freckles Playboy)
Earned: $0
217.0 CD APRIL FOOL R: Jeremy Barwick O: Andy & Doogie Wilson
g (Cd Olena x Attractions First, by Bob Acre Doc)
Earned: $0
216.0 HIGH BARBIE R: Robert Rust O: Robert Thigpen Jr
m (Smart Lil Highbrow x Gloria Bar, by Doc O Glo)
Earned: $0
213.0 COLONEL FUZZY TRONA R: Casey Moore O: Les Ammons
g (Little Trona x Freckles Lady Hill, by Arawans Freckles)
Earned: $0
194.0 MH SAN TULES DUALLY R: Austin Shepard O: Austin & Stacy Shepard
m (San Tule Freckles x Joses Dually, by Dual Pep)
Earned: $0
188.0 BOON TOO SUEN R: Kobie Wood O: Gary Rosenbach
s (Peptoboonsmal x Meradas Little Sue, by Freckles Merada)
Earned: $0
180.0 DUAL R SMOKIN R: Chubby Turner O: Daniel Jaeggi
s (Dual Rey x Smokin Pepto, by Peptoboonsmal)
Earned: $0