Archive for April, 2011

When Texas-breds outpaced the nation

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Texas-breds were hot items at horse sales in New York and Chicago during the early 1900s, and they didn’t have an ounce of quarter horse breeding.

These Texas blue-bloods were trotters from the famous Electrite line, bred by Col. Henry Exall on his Lomo Alto Stock Farm, now the site of North Dallas’ affluent Highland Park residential area.

Exall, a native Virginian, who at 15 was one of the youngest soldiers to serve in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, came to Texas in 1876  and by the mid-1880s, he had become a prominent North Texas real estate broker and banker.

In 1889, with the backing of a group of investors from Philadelphia, Exall purchased land along Turtle Creek, four miles north of downtown Dallas, with the intention of turning it into an exclusive residential development patterned after a similar one in Philadelphia. He had already built roads and dammed Turtle Creek to create a lake, when the Panic of 1893 brought a halt to his plans.

Instead of Philadelphia Place, Exall used the 1,400 acres as Lomo Alto Stock Farm, where he bred trotting horses sired by Electrite, a son of the Standardbred stallion Electioneer, owned by nineteenth century industrialist Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University and Palo Alto Stock Farm, Santa Clara County, Calif.

Virtually every top Standardbred today traces to Electioneer in his male line.

In 1906, Exall sold Lomo Alto Farm to John Armstrong, who proceeded to develop it under the name of Highland Park. Wilbur David Cook, the landscape designer who had planned Beverly Hills, Calif., and George Kessler, who had planned Fair Park and most of downtown Dallas, were hired to design the overall layout.

Highland Park quickly became one of the wealthiest communities per capita in America. In December 2010, the average price of a home on the market in Highland Park was $1.2 million.

It was Leland Stanford, by the way, who commissioned Eadweard Muybridge, in 1872, to use newly invented photographic technology to establish whether a galloping horse ever has all four feet off the ground at the same time. The project, which illustrated motion through a series of still images viewed together, was a forerunner of motion picture technology.

Dialed in for Kentucky Derby

Monday, April 25th, 2011


Dialed In

Uncle Mo has thrown a shoe into the mix of early wagering for the Kentucky Derby.

The 2-year-old champion of 2010 and impressive winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November, is being treated for a gastrointestinal infection, on the heels of his upset on April 9, in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

It was his first defeat in five career starts, and according to owner, Mike Repole, if Uncle Mo is not “one hundred percent” in time for the Kentucky Derby, he will skip the race and be pointed for the Preakness, instead.

In the meantime, trainer Todd Pletcher, winner of last year’s Derby with Super Saver, has scheduled Uncle Mo for a workout at Churchill on Tuesday, April 26.

“His appetite is the best its been since the Wood and we’re really, really pleased with the progress we’re making at the moment,” Pletcher told the Times Union of Albany, NY. “We haven’t had to adjust his training much at all.”

Uncle Mo, sired by Indian Charlie, won the one-mile Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 12, in his 3-year-old debut. It was his only other start this year.

Recent 2-year-old champions to come back at three and win the Kentucky Derby include Canadian champion Mine That Bird in 2009 and Street Sense in 2007.

With or without Uncle Mo, Florida Derby winner Dialed In will be a Derby favorite off of his come-from-behind win on April 3 at Gulfstream.

Two of the last five Kentucky Derby winners also won the Florida Derby as their final prep for the Run for the Roses: Big Brown in 2008 and Barbaro in 2006.

Nick Zito, Dialed In’s trainer, won the 2010 Florida Derby with Ice Box, who was runnerup to Super Saver in last year’s Kentucky Derby.

Dialed In’s only loss in four starts came when he finished second against older horses in a Gulfstream allowance in March. But the Mineshaft son won his only start at two, at Churchill Downs, despite a slow start in a 12-horse field, and he nailed his 3-year-old debut going away in the G3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream.

Hall of Fame trainer Zito, who won the Kentucky Derby with Go For Gin in 1994 and Strike The Gold in 1991, conditions Dialed in for Robert LaPenta, the owner of 2010 runnerup Ice Box.

Thanks to his win over Uncle Mo in the Wood Memorial, Toby’s Corner, with a 4-win record from 6 starts, also ranks among early Derby favorites.

Trained by Graham Motion, Toby’s Corner won his first two races this year, including the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct, before he disappointed backers with a third-place finish in the G3 Gotham on March 11.

Toby’s Corner is owned by his breeder, Dianne Cotter, who also bred his sire, Bellamy Road, the beaten favorite in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, after equaling the track record to win the Wood Memorial.

Toby’s Corner is named after a pony that Cotter and her husband kept for their granddaughter.

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby will be telecast live from Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7.

Leading sires of the Super Stakes

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

The offspring of 66 different cutting horse sires earned money at the 2011 XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes and Super Stakes Classic. The $1 million-added show paid out $2.75 million in purses. Detailed results of the Super Stakes and Super Stakes Classic are online.

The show marked a milestone for the National Cutting Horse Association in that it pushed total money paid out in all NCHA-produced and approved shows since 1946 over the $700 million mark.

High Brow Cat was the leading sire of the show, but Dual Rey’s earnings of more than $400,000 took him over $1 million in progeny earnings for the calendar year. You can see the top 100 sires of 2011 here.

Following are the top 25 sires of the 2011 XTO EnergyNCHA Super Stakes and Super Stakes Classic.

Rank Sire Earnings
1 HIGH BROW CAT $548,504
2 DUAL REY $401,661
3 SMOOTH AS A CAT $260,712
6 SPOTS HOT $130,207
7 CD LIGHTS $88,152
8 ONE TIME PEPTO $76,781
11 CATS MERADA $53,822
13 NITAS WOOD $37,047
14 SMART LIL SCOOT $35,281
15 CAT ICHI $34,375
16 SMART MATE $33,577
17 MECOM BLUE $32,161
18 LIGHT N LENA $32,063
19 TR DUAL REY $29,651
20 DUALS BLUE BOON $29,382
22 THAT SLY CAT $24,925
25 BET ON ME 498 $21,535

NCHA Super Stakes Sale soars

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The 2011 NCHA Super Stakes Sale, held April 16, on the final day of the XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes, saw a 57 percent increase in average price over the 2010 sale, as well as a 22 percent increase in completed sales.

“We were really pleased with the results,” said Western Bloodstock spokesman and pedigree expert Jim Ware. “The cutting industry continues to surpass all others in performance horse sale markets.”

The sale topper at $60,000 was Somekinda Shiney, a yearling filly and the first foal sired by Metallic Cat to sell at auction. She was consigned by the Shrontz Family Partnership and purchased by trainer Jeremy Barwick, Stephenville, Tex.

Penny Youngblood, Aubrey, Tex., purchased the second-highest seller, Amanda Lena Boon, a nine-year-old Peptoboonsmal daughter, consigned by Carmel Cutting Horses, for $50,000. Youngblood also paid $32,500 for Miss Pepto Rey, a six-year-old Dual Rey daughter, also consigned by Carmel Cutting Horses.

Bet On Nurse, a six-year-old daughter of Bet On Me 498, consigned by Round Mountain Ranch, sold to Gail Homes, Fort Worth, Tex., for $35,000.

Net sales on 75 head averaged $12,300; 18 head of RNAs average $10,940.

The top five sellers averaged $41,800; top 10 sellers averaged $33,900; and the top 20 average $25,925.

For a complete list of the sale results, go to

Olenasduallyfeather dusts the competition

Sunday, April 17th, 2011


Darren Simpkins on Olenasduallyfeather.

Teamwork — the story in a nutshell of Olenasduallyfeather’s $100,000 championship win in the 2011 XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes yesterday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Shown by Darren Simpkins for her Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals rider, Lisa Hewitt, the Cats Red Feather daughter scored 220.5 points, as the first horse in the second set of the 20-horse Open Finals and gave Simpkins his first NCHA Triple Crown event win.

The score to beat was 217 points, marked by Sticky Spot and Mackie Hursh in the first set, a score that would be duplicated, after Olenasduallyfeather’s run, by SVR Reyl Smart, with Beau Galyean, and Moms Stilish Cat, with Clint Allen — a reserve championship triumverate.

“From the first round to the  second round and then in the semis, she felt really good,” said Simpkins, who was catch-riding Olenasduallyfeather for co-reserve champion Clint Allen.

“After Lisa’s run in the Non-Pro Finals, we just worked her on the flag a little bit.”

Olenasduallyfeather prevailed through eight performances between Friday, April 8 and the Non-Pro and Open Finals on April 16.

Bred by Jon Cates, Weatherford, Texas, Olenasduallyfeather was three and in training with Sean Flynn, when Hewitt first spotted her.

“She was quite green at the time, but you could just see her talent through and through,” said Hewitt, who had come to the States from Australia to learn to show as a non-pro and was working for Flynn.

“She really had an impressive move even then. She goes into a stop and crouches and waits to see what a cow is going to do before she does it.

“She has a big move, but she can control it at the same time, and that’s what I saw the first day.”

Hewitt’s family owns cattle ranches in Australia, where they compete in the demanding sport of camp drafting, which requires that a contestant cut a cow; run it through a course that includes figure eight turns; and finally drive it through a gate, all within 40 seconds.

“I remember the first time I ever showed a cutting horse, Sean asked me when I got done, if I was nervous,” said Hewitt. “I wasn’t at first because when you campdraft you use a snaffle bit with two hands. Then I got in the (cutting) herd and realized that I had to get one of those out with no hands.”

Simpkins, resident trainer for Slate River Ranch, is also from Australia, but met Hewitt for the first time in the States. Clint Allen is a former New Zealander.

Cody Hedlund wins Non-Pro championship

Sunday, April 17th, 2011
Teles Bout This Cat

Cody Hedlund on Teles Bout This Cat.

A “big three” win in Will Rogers Coliseum was something that Cody Hedlund, 21, had dreamed about. He just didn’t expect his 217-point score, first crack out of the herd, to stand up through 19 other competitors in the XTO Energy NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro finals yesterday.

“I just went out there and tried to cut for the biggest check I could,” said Hedlund, who rode Teles Bout This Cat. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, but those cows got tough (as the event progressed) and kind of helped me out.”

Kade Smith, winner of the Super Stakes Non-Pro Limited on Spork, claimed the Super Stakes Non-Pro reserve championship, as well, on his gelded son of Hes A Peptospoonful.

Teles Bout This Cat, by WR This Cats Smart, is a family legacy for Hedlund, whose father, Rock Hedlund, trained the mare and her dam, Teles Lies.

“I was the last one to show her mother before we retired her,” said Cody. “This mare looks so much like her mom when she runs and stops. She’ll just bury her butt in the ground. And she has some of her dad, too, the way she is up into a cow. It’s a good match.”

Hedlund moved from California to Texas three years ago to be closer to major cutting events and has been staying with all-time open and non-pro money earners Phil and Mary Ann Rapp in Weatherford, Texas.

“Phil and Mary Ann are like my second parents,” said Hedlund. “They do everything they can for me and more. I appreciate their help so much. They’re two very great people.”

Cheers to Stylish Martini with 220.5-point Semis win

Saturday, April 16th, 2011
Roger Wagner

Roger Wagner.

Stylish Martini, who tied NCHA Futurity champion One Time Royalty with the high cumulative Super Stakes go-round score of 436.5 points, ccme back on Firday, to win the Super Stakes Semi-Finals with 220.5 points, under Roger Wagner for Marvine Ranch, Meeker, Colorado.

One Time Royalty, shown by Lloyd Cox for Matthews Cutting Horses, Weatherford, Texas, scored 220 points to tie with Sticky Spot, ridden by Mackie Hursh for Kyle Hooper, Andrews, Texas.

Moms Stilish Cat, with Clint Allen for Jerry and Vickie Durant, Weatherford, Texas, placed fourth with 219 points.

Stylish Martini, bred by Marvine Ranch, is by Docs Stylish Oak (deceased), while One Time Royalty is by freshman sire One Time Pepto.

Sticky Spot’s sire is Spots Hot, whose oldest foals are 5-year-olds of 2011.

“She’s a great little mare — tough and gritty — and she tries all the time,” said Hursh of Sticky Spot, who he showed for her owner and trainer, Kyle Hooper.

Hursh also showed Sticky Spot,out of Bowmans Fancy Mate, as a finalist in the Abilene Spectacualar Futurity.