Archive for March, 2011

Texas horsemen rally for legislation

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett tells reporters about the legislation.

Today was “Horsemen’s Day at the Capitol” in Austin, Texas, where over 1,000 horse owners, breeders and racetrack employees showed their support for proposed legislation that would authorize slot machines at the 13 licensed horse and greyhound racetracks in the state, and the three Indian reservations, subject to a state referendum in November 2011.

The legislation is supported by Texas HORSE, a coalition that includes the AQHA, APHA, NCHA and all the major Texas horse organizations.

The group held a rally on the south steps of the capitol and then broke into groups which visited the offices of each of the state legislators. Singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett (an avid horseman) spoke to the group and visited the Senators and House members.

NCHA is named in the legislation to administer 20% of a proposed Performance Horse Development Fund. The NCHA’s portion of the revenue is projected to be approximately $1.5 million per year in the first year of slot machines being authorized at racetracks, growing to possibly as much as over $5 million per year to help support NCHA events, programs, and the promotion of cutting.

Horses in the limelightAccording to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the legislation would generate a projected $500 million for the State of Texas in the next (2012-13) fiscal biennium, (growing to over $1.6 billion to the state in subsequent bienniums)…much needed funding as the State faces a budget shortfall of as much as $27 billion during the next two-year budget period.

Research indicates that 82% of Texans want the right to vote on this issue, and that Texans currently spend more than $2.5 billion annually on slot machines in other states. Furthermore, this legislation would create over 77,000 new jobs for Texans, and through the Performance Horse Development Fund, would have a positive economic impact on the equine agricultural sector in all 254 counties in the state of Texas.

Visit the Texas HORSE website to learn more about the proposed legislation.

Horsemen's Day at the Capitol

Horsemen's Day at the Capitol

Bet Hesa Cat tallies 439.5

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Bet Hesa Cat

Austin Shepard and Bet Hesa Cat.

Bet Hesa Cat, current leader in 2011 NCHA Open World Championship standings, and ridden by Austin Shepard for Bet Hesa Cat Syndicate, topped all Super Stakes Classic Open qualifiers with 439.5 cumulative points, following a 220.5-point performance in yesterday’s second go-round.

A Little Bossy and R.L. Chartier were within a nose of Bet Hesa Cat with 439 points (219.5 and 219.5) for Wrigley Ranches.

Chartier, who also qualified Smart Moria Boon for Wrigley Ranches, was one of three riders to gain the finals on two mounts. Shepard also qualified Spooked by A Cat for Buster Quirk, and Matt Budge qualfied Im Catman (438.5 points) for Reata Cutting Horses, and Play On Lizzy for Jackpot Ranch.

Im Catman is also up in today’s fourth set with non-pro rider Stephanie Haymes, while Lean On Rey, an open qualifier with Tag Rice, shows in the first set with owner Sam Good, and Smooth Asa Zee, open qualifier with John Mitchell, cuts in the seventh set with Glade Knight.

Spooky Smooth and Gary Gonsalves, for Iron Rose Ranch, won the second go-round with 222 points, while Prime Time Kat and Clint Allen claimed second place with 221, for Jerry and Vickie Durant.

Twenty-two horses with 434.5 points qualified for the 25-horse finals, with three slots to be determined by the outcome of the 20-plus Wildcard field on Friday, April 1.

Second go-round winner Spooky Smooth placed third in the 2010 NCHA Super Stakes Open Gelding finals, but Gary Gonzalves rated yesterday’s performance the Smooth As A Cat son’s best in Will Rogers Coliseum.

“I’ve never really gotten him shown well in this pen,” said Gonsalves. “I was really pleased today. We had a 215 (in the first go-round) and needed to come cut.”

R.L. Chartier and A Little Bossy, by CD Lights, made their mark in the first go-round with 219 points, then upped the ante with 219.5 in the second.

“I didn’t plan to go down there and do that,” said Chartier of yesterday’s performance. “But we cut some tough cows and the horse was good. He tries hard every time.

“He was injured at three and the first time we showed him was at the (2009) Super Stakes. He was green, but he’s come on strong this year.”

Reigning champs top Tuesday’s competition

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Lee Francois

Lee Francois and Reys Desire.

Reys Desire, winner of last year’s XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes, with a payout of $112,599, topped Tuesday’s Super Stakes Classic Open competition with 221 points, under Lee Francois.

Third Cutting, winner of the 2009 Super Stakes and the 2010 Super Stakes Classic, posted 220.5 points, the second-highest score of the day, with Boyd Rice.

“She’s one of those that anybody could get along with,” said Francois of 5-year-old Reys Desire, owned by her breeder, H.B. “Woody” Bartlett. “She just tries to help you so much. It is all her.”

Reys Desire, sired by Dual Rey, is from the family of NCHA World Champions Peppy’s Desire and Genuine Desire, as well as Desires Little Rex, $287,519; Desire Some Freckles, $188,990; and a stout female lineage of outstanding money earners and producers.

“Her mother (Playguns Desire) was Woody Bartlett’s first NCHA Futurity finalist and his first aged event champion,” said Francois.

“We call her ‘Radar’ because she has long ears,” he added. “You don’t have to try very hard to make her work. You just put her on auto pilot.”

Reys Desire has official NCHA earnings of $239,041.

Third Cutting, closing in on the $500,000 benchmark in lifetime NCHA earnings (currently he has $489,125), gave his hallmark gritty performance under Boyd Rice, as the first to work in the fourth set.

“You’re pretty excited when you get down there on him,” said Rice, who won the 2010 Super Stakes Classic with 226 points, and the 2010 NCHA Classic Challenge with 230 points.

“He’s just real smart and strong. I can ask him for his life, right there in the finals, and he’ll give it to me every time.”

Bred by Polo Ranch and sired by Boonlight Dancer, Third Cutting is owned by Carl and Shawnea Smith, who purchased him at three (James Payne had started him for Polo Ranch) on the advice of Rice. His first show was the 2008 NCHA Futurity, where he placed eighth. Since then, he and Rice have won every other major NCHA event held in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum.

Shepard double 219

Bet Hesa Cat

Austin Shepard on Bet Hesa Cat.

Austin Shepard, winner of the 2008 NCHA Super Stakes aboard High Brow CD, and most recently NCHA Eastern Nationals Open champion on Playin At The Mall, earned 219 points on two of the top 17 horses, from 124, that advanced to today’s second go-round, including Bet Hesa Cat, owned by the Bet Hesa Cat Syndicate.

“We’ve always had a lot of luck at other places, but it sure would be nice to get him shown to the finals here,” said Shepard of the 5-year-old High Brow Cat son, who was reserve champion of this year’s Tunica Classic and reserve at the 2010 Breeders Invitational.

“I’ve been showing him in the open on weekends and he’s matured a lot because of it,” Shepard added. “He goes down there and works what I put in front of him. It doesn’t have to be a perfect situation. Whatever we have to do, he’s there for me.”

Bet Hesa Cat is currently leading the NCHA World Championship standings; his dam, Bet Yer Blue Boons, was 2000 NCHA World Champion.

“I’ve been showing him a lot and he’s been breeding eight or nine mares every week,” said Shepard. “He’s collected three times a week (at the Four Sixes Ranch, where he is standing) and it doesn’t seem to bother him.

Shepard also qualified three other horses, including Spooked By A Cat, by Cat Ichi, with 219 points.

Pounce to the lead

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Phil Hanson and Pounce

Phil Hanson (right) and Pounce led the first day of XTO Energy Super Stakes Classic competition.

Pounce, who last year at four claimed three major reserve championships, including the NCHA Derby, which was won by her stablemate and 2010 NCHA Horse of the Year LHR Smooth Jamie May, took the lead  on the first day of XTO Energy Super Stakes Classic Open competition with 222 points in Fort Worth.

“She is good in this arena and she was really good today,” said Hanson, who had lost a cow on LHR Smooth Jamie May, owned by South Lazy H Ranch, just seconds before the buzzer in the first set of the day.

Pounce, a 5-year-old daughter of High Brow Cat owned by Julie Clarke, worked midway through the third set.

Fiesta Zack marked 221 points, yesterday’s second-highest score, under Casey Morris, as the first horse in the sixth set. The 6-year-old son of Zack T Wood is owned by Bobby and Francie Butler.

“When I get it done on him, he’s really good,” said Morris. “He has a unique way of moving – it’s soft and easy, yet he’s very powerful.”

Fiesta Zack, who has been a finalist in four limited age events with Morris, was trained by Sean Flynn; the Butlers purchased him prior to the 2008 NCHA Futurity.

Play On Lizzy and Matt Budge tallied 220.5 points – yesterday’s third highest score – in the third set, just one slot after Budge’s ride on ARC Ruby Playgunia, owned, as is Play On Lizzy, by Jackpot Ranch.
“The other horse is one of my favorites, but it was a complete wreck,” said Budge of his run aboard ARC Ruby Playgunia.

“It kind of rattled me, but my buddy Jason Clark saved me. He told me to settle down and get back in the game.”

“Six-year-old Play On Lizzy, by Lizzys Gotta Player, has placed in 9 limited age events under Budge. Five-year-old ARC Ruby Playgunia, by Playgun, placed third with Budge in the 2010 Bonanza.
Budge also scored 218 points in the seventh set riding 5-year-old High Brow Cat gelding Im Catman, the NCHA earner of $175,000 for Reata Cutting Horses.

XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes offers $2.7 million

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

LHR Smooth Jamie May and Phil Hanson

The 2011 XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes begins a 20-day run on Monday, March 28, at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, with the first go-round of Super Stakes Classic open competition, for 5 & 6-year-olds sired by subscribed stallions. The total purse for all divisions is $2.7 million.

Monday’s first set of cattle will be put to the test by several top competitors, including 2010 NCHA Horse of the Year LHR Smooth Jamie May. South Lazy H Ranch’s 5-year-old Smooth As A Cat daughter, trained and ridden by Phil Hanson, has won four major championships and earned more than $250,000.

Also up in the first set is Desires Katrina with Matt Miller. Carol and Don Dewrell’s 6-year-old High Brow Cat daughter placed third this year in both the Tunica Futurity Classic and the Abilene Spectacular with Miller, who also rode her as champion of the 2010 Music City Futurity.

Dees Mr Charles, winner of the 2011 Augusta Classic under Sam Shepard, and most recently reserve open champion of the NCHA Eastern National Championships, shows with Shepard in the second set. The 6-year-old gelded son of Its Just About Me is owned by Edley and Sue Hixson.

Dont Look Twice, shown by her breeder Phil Rapp for Waco Bend Ranch, in the fourth set, ranks as the #2 leading NCHA money earner among foals of 2005 with $492,497 (Metallic Cat is #1 with $574,494). An additional $7,504 will push the High Brow Cat daughter’s earnings past the $500,000 mark.

Matt Miller is back again in the third set riding Tommy Manion’s 5-year-old Holly Is Smooth. The Smooth As A Cat daughter and Miller won this year’s Abilene Spectacular Classic championship.

Phil Hanson is also back in the fourth set, this time aboard Pounce, owned by Julie Clark. Pounce, a 5-year-old daughter of High Brow Cat, was reserve open champion of three major events in 2010, including the NCHA Derby, which was won by Hanson and LHR Smooth Jamie May.

Hangem Cat stands out in the fifth set with nearly $200,000 in NCHA lifetime earnings. The 6-year-old gelded son of High Brow Cat, ridden for Penny Carpenter by Jeremy Barwick, was reserve champion of the 2011 Bonanza Classic with Barwick; he also won the 2009 Tunica Futurity and claimed reserve in the 2009 Breeders Invitational with Wesley Galyean.

Reigning Super Stakes and Super Stakes Classic open champion Third Cutting has drawn the first slot in the fourth set on Tuesday, March 29, the second and last day of first-round Classic open competition. Trained and shown by Boyd Rice for Carl and Shawnea Smith, 6-year-old Third Cutting has earned over $490,000. Most recently, he won the 2011 Bonanza Classic, was reserve champion of the Arbuckle Mountain Classic, and has been fulfilling a full breeding schedule at ESMS on the Brazos.

XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes competition concludes on Saturday, April 16 with the 4-year-old non-pro and open finals, beginning at 3:00 p.m., preceded at 9:00 a.m. by the NCHA Super Stakes Sale.

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

National Velvet, the 1944 movie about a young girl who claims a rogue horse in a raffle and turns it into steeplechase champion, was the film that first brought fame to Elizabeth Taylor, who died on Wednesday, March 23 at the age of 79.

Another classic that put Taylor in a saddle was Giant, with Rock Hudson and James Dean. Based on a novel by Edna Ferber and released in 1956, Giant was the epic story of a Texas ranching family, drawn from the history of the famous King Ranch and the lives of Robert Kleberg Jr. and his wife, Helen.

The movie Giant, released in 1956 was a huge hit, but according to Robert and Helen’s daughter, Helen Groves, Ferber was anathema to the Klebergs.

“Ms. Ferber told my father that she was going to write a novel based on him, my mother, and King Ranch,” Groves recounted in her book Bob & Helen Kleberg of King Ranch.

“After listening patiently, Daddy said that sometime in the future there would be an accurate history written which she and others could reference, but he did not have the time at the present to devote to it, Furthermore, he added, he did not want an inaccurate book written.

“Ms. Ferber insisted that she would write the book anyway and became rude.

“Daddy turned to me and and said, ‘Helenita, please call for Ms. Ferber’s driver. He’s in the kitchen. She wants to leave now and won’t be coming back.”

In 1967, Taylor was horseback once more, this time on a fiery stallion called Firebird, opposite Marlon Brando in John Huston’s Reflections in a Golden Eye, based on the Carson McCullers novel of the same name. Definitely not a family film, Reflections In A Golden Eye deals with repressed sexuality, a theme also central to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Taylor in an Oscar-winning performance opposite Paul Newman..

While Maggie, Taylor’s character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, tries to kindle intimacy with her husband, Brick, Taylor’s character, Leonora, in Reflections in a Golden Eye, taunts her husband, Army Major Weldon Pendleton, played by Brando, with veiled comments about her virile mount, Firebird, and Lt. Col. Morris Langdon, with whom she is having an affair.

When Brando sneaks Firebird out for a gallop late one night, things really get interesting.


Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Wes, Beau and Jody Galyean

It’s the age old question and one we are constantly reminded of in sports, politics, and the arts. Is it heredity or environment? Or both, as Martin Sheen would have us believe in regard to his son, Charlie’s, aberrant behavior.

The question is compounded in horse sports (there could be a thesis here), but a list of fathers and sons who have excelled as professionals in cutting competition gives credence to the prepotency of family connections, while NCHA Futurity wins serve as a good measure.

The stellar example is the Gaylean family. Jody Galyean, 56, and his sons, Beau, 31, and Wesley, 28, have together earned more than $7 million. They can also claim distinction as cutting’s first triumvirate with individual NCHA Futurity Open championship titles.

Winston and Paula Hansma are the only other siblings besides the Galyeans to have claimed cutting’s most prestigious title, but there are other father-son winners:

Buster Welch – Greg Welch
Buster won the first edition of the NCHA Futurity, in 1962, and holds the record with five NCHA Futurity titles. Greg won the 1991 NCHA Futurity on Little Tenina.

Shorty Freeman – Bill Freeman
Shorty won the NCHA Futurity on Doc O’Lena in 1970 and on Lenaette in 1975. Bill won the event in 1979, on Docs Diablo; in 1982, on Smart Little Lena; and in 1988, on Smart Little Senor.

Ronnie Rice – Tag Rice
Ronnie won the NCHA Futurity in 1998 on Dainty Playgirl and again in 2001 aboard San Tule Freckles. Tag won the NCHA Futurity, as well as the Super Stakes and Derby in 2002/2003 on Chiquita Pistol.

Father and son Olan and Faron Hightower just missed inclusion in this elite group. Olan won the NCHA Futurity in 1976 on Colonel Freckles; Faron was reserve champion in 2000 on Justa Smart Peanut.

Jody Galyean won the 1986 NCHA Futurity on Royal Silver King; Wesley Galyean earned the title in 2004 on Spots Hot; and Beau won in 2008 aboard Metallic Cat.

Winston Hansma was NCHA Futurity champion in 1994 with CD Lights; Paul Hansma won in 1996 riding Playboy McCrae.