Archive for May, 2011

Fly First Down tops Ruidoso Futurity qualifiers

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Francisco Colorado Cessa’s Fly First Down, a $300,000 yearling purchase, set the fastest-qualifying time of 17.502  to the Grade 1, $500,000 Ruidoso Futurity on Friday at Ruidoso Downs.

The 10 fastest 2-year-olds from the 21 trials are eligible for the 350-yard Ruidoso Futurity, the first leg of the All American Triple Crown, on June 12.

A First Down Dash son from the stable of 9-time national champion trainer Paul Jones, Fly First Down dominated the 11th trial. The 2010 Ruidoso Select Sale purchase sprinted to the lead from the outside post position and then drew out to a 3-length victory under jockey G.R. Carter.

Fly First Down

Fly First Down

“I’ve really like him since he arrived in our barn about three months ago,” said Lisa Saumell, who heads the Jones operation in New Mexico. “He’s built like (2-time champion) Noconi. He’s not too big, he’s not too small, and he’s smart. He’s built for this mountain and should like to run further (than 350 yards).”

Jones won last year’s Ruidoso Futurity with American Runaway, who went on to be named the 2010 champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old colt.

Jones also has the leading 2-year old at Los Alamitos this season with Separate Fire, winner of the Grade 1 Kindergarten last Sunday night in stakes-record time.

TMF Cash Dynasty, owned by Sunset Well Service and trained by Albert Franco, stepped up as 12-1 outsider to win the 19th trial with the second-fastest qualifying mark of :17.602. The FDD Dynasty-sired colt was overlooked after crossing the finish line in seventh place in his only other start. He pulled away for a one-and-one-quarter length Ruidoso Futurity trial victory.

Trainer John Stinebaugh has two solid prospects, Sure Shot B and Tex Cartel B, in the Ruidoso Futurity.

Charles Forbes Jr. and Tommy Hays’ Sure Shot B, a son of Stoli, raced to his second win from as many starts when he won his Ruidoso Futurity trial by a neck as the 3-5 favorite. Jacky Martin, who qualified four finalists, rode the gelding raced to the third-fastest qualifying mark of :17.605.

Sure Shot B made his debut in the West Texas Futurity trials and won his trial, but his time was not quick enough to reach the finals. “He was in the 10 hole and ran green,” said Stinebaugh. “It gave us more time to bring him up to this race.”

Tex Cartel B, also ridden by Martin, took the 15th division by three quarters of a length and his time of :17.670 is the eighth-fastest qualifying mark.

The Corona Cartel son also made his only other start in the West Texas Futurity trials and finished sixth in his heat. “He lost a shoe at the start and that caused him to drift out,” Stinebaugh said.

“These are each two big stout boys who look the part,” Stinebaugh said.

Silver For Me, the lone $15,000 supplemental nominee to the Ruidoso Futurity, reached the finals with a three-quarter length win in the 14th trial for trainer Jackie Riddle. He turned in a :17.629 mark for the fourth-fastest qualifying time under jockey Carlos Madeira.

The gelding by Corona For Me was second in the Sam Houston Juvenile at Sam Houston Race Park in his previous out.

West Texas Futurity fourth-place finisher Valiant Valor returns for the Ruidoso Futurity by winning his trial after bobbling at the start and bumping with a rival. The Valiant Hero gelding from the Blane Wood barn then rallied to win by one-half length in :17.674, the ninth-fastest qualifying time.

Unofficial qualifiers:

Horse/Trial # Trainer Jockey Wind Time
Fly First Down/11 Paul Jones GR Carter 14h 17.502
Tmf Cash Dynasty/19 Albert Franco Abdel Torres 8h 17.602
Sure Shot B/17 John Stinebaugh Jacky Martin 9h 17.605
Silver For Me/14 Jackie Riddle Carlos Madeira 11h 17.629
Ochoa/6 Dwayne Gibreath Jacky Martin 8h 17.630
Back in the Pack/17 Bradley Bolen Cody Wainscott 9h 17.634
Separate Cartel/6 Felipe Quintero Esgar Ramirez 8h 17.666
Tex Cartel B/15 John Stinebaugh Jacky Martin 15h 17.670
Valiant Valor/5 Blane Wood Ricky Ramirez 8h 17.674
Feature This Cold/16 Luis Villafranco Jacky Martin 10h 17.697

EHV-1 Update

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

In a news release dated May 27, 2011,  the Texas Animal Health Commission confirmed a case of the neurological form of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) in a Quarter racehorse stabled in Ector County, Texas. Preliminary investigation indicated no connection to the NCHA Western National Championships in Ogden Utah, April 29 to May 8, 2011, site of a recent outbreak.

All horses on the Ector County premises are under quarantine and will be managed according to USDA recommendations for confirmed cases.

As of May 26, 2011, according to USDA, APHIS, Veterinary Services, a total of 75 confirmed EHV-1 or EHM cases have been reported in nine states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Of the 75 confirmed cases, 58 are horses that were at the NCHA event in Ogden, Utah.

The USDA further confirms that 11 horses have died from the virus or have been euthanized because of it – nine of which were exposed at the Ogden event and two which had secondary or tertiary contact with horses that had been exposed at Ogden. Of the 75 confirmed cases, the largest number (31) are from Colorado.

The Texas Animal Health Commission references the USDA report in its own May 27, 2011 news release, but also reports: “Regarding the Ogden, UT event, there are currently 12 known horses in Texas that attended the event and 174 cohorts (stablemates) remaining under movement restrictions.

According to the USDA report, Table 2., Status of Primary Exposed Horses, 26 horses from Texas were exposed at Ogden.

New in 2011: Western Bloodstock HeadQuarters Sale

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Western Bloodstock recently announced that it will conduct a sale in Amarillo, Texas during the 16th annual Working Ranch Cowboys Association (WRCA) World Championship Ranch Rodeo, November 10-13, 2011. The sale will offer cutting, ranch, working cow, roping, and reining horses of all ages.

“To be able to create a sale where there is already an event such as the WRCA Finals is an incredible boost,” said Jim Ware, a partner in Western Bloodstock, the company that produces three annual sales in Fort Worth for the National Cutting Horse Association.

The WRCA is dedicated to preserving the heritage and lifestyle of the Working Ranch Cowboy, and the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo draws more than 50,000 competitors and western enthusiasts to Amarillo, home of the American Quarter Horse Association world headquarters.

The WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo and the HeadQuarters Sale will be held at the Tri-State Fairgrounds in Amarillo.

“The facility and the hospitality alone will make you want to be included in the HeadQuarters Sale,” said Western Bloodstock partner Ben Emison. “This is going to be a great, new venture and we will manage and promote it with the same level of professionalism people have come to expect from Western Bloodstock.”

Bar H Ranche owner to disperse horses

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Paul Hansma and Dual Pep at Bar H Ranche in 2004

Western Bloodstock will conduct an absolute dispersal for Bobby Pidgeon’s Bar H Ranche during its NCHA Summer Spectacular Sale, held on NCHA Derby Finals Weekend in Fort Worth, July 29 and 30.

Bar H Ranche, established by Memphis beverage distributor Bobby Pidgeon in the 1980s, is ranked #2 among all-time leading breeders of cutting horses with $8.8 million earned.

Last year, Pidgeon, who is in his 70s and no longer competes, leased the Bar H Ranche facilities in Weatherford, Tex. to long-time Bar H Ranche trainer Paul Hansma. Hansma now operates his own training operation from the place where he developed so many champions sired by Bar H Ranche stallions Dual Pep and CD Olena.

Horses in the dispersal include broodmares and weanlings, as well as 13 yearlings; 10 two-year-olds; 12 three-year-olds; and two four-year-olds. Sires and covering sires include Dual Pep, CD Olena, High Brow Cat, Dual Rey, Smart Little Scoot, Hes A Peptospoonful and Third Cutting.

One of the highlights of the offering is Little Baby Sister and her weanling filly by Third Cutting. Little Baby Sister, a 16-year-old daughter of Dual Pep, is the dam of Sister CD, cutting’s #3 all-time leading money earner with $820,574, as well as the dam of five other substantial money earners.

Check back here tomorrow for more details and a complete listing for the Bar H Ranche Dispersal.

Shackleford shakes off Animal Kingdom in Preakness

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Shackleford, pace setter in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, held off Derby winner and 5-2 favorite Animal Kingdom to win the $1 million Preakness Stakes by three-quarters of a length, at 12-1. The time for the 1 1/16-mile race was 1:56.4. Astrology placed third. Dialed In, beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby, finished fourth.

“I knew that (Animal Kingdom) was the only horse able to come get me,” said Shackleford’s rider, Jesus Castanon. But my horse was able to hold him off.”

“He ran a huge race, but it looked like he needed another sixteenth of a mile,” said Animal Kingdom’s trainer, Graham Motion, referring to the one-sixteenth of a mile difference between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Shackleford’s trainer, Dale Romans, and Animal Kingdom’s rider, John Valezquez, each had concerns as the leaders approached the quarter pole.

“I worried whether he could hang on to the fast pace,” said Romans of Shackleford, who got nailed by a head, at 60-1, by Dialed In, in the stretch of the Florida Derby.

“He didn’t leave the gate very good today,” said Valezquez of Animal Kingdom. “But at the quarter pole, I thought he had a chance. It was just a little too late.”

Shackleford, by Forestry, was bred by his owners Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge. Lauffer paid $500,000 in 2008 for 2-year-old Rachel Alexander, who would win the 2009 Preakness for Jess Jackson, after Jackson paid Lauffer and his partner a reported $10 million for the mare.

Track burner Separate Fire favored in Kindergarten Futurity

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Ten days ago, on May 8, Separate Fire set a new 300-yard track record for 2-year-olds at Los Alamitos Racecourse, when she posted the fastest qualifying time for the Kindergarten Futurity. This Sunday, May 22, she goes to post as the overwhelming favorite in the $339,600 GI Kindergarten, the year’s first major test for 2-year-olds on the West Coast.

Ridden by Ramon Sanchez for trainer Paul Jones, Separate Fire pulled away to win her trial by more than 2 lengths. Her time of :15.10 eclipsed the previous 2-year-old record held by stablemate Blues Girls Choice, who posted :15.14 in a maiden race, on May 9, 2010. The track record of 14.96 was set by 7-year-old Go Love A Lark Go in 2010.

Tremor Enterprises, Separate Fire’s owner, raced 2009 champion 2-year-old colt Tempting Dash and last summer’s All American Futurity (G1) winner Mr Piloto. Separate Fire’s sire, Walk Thru Fire, is also represented by second-fastest qualifier Fixin To Fly and third-fastest qualifier This Boogie Fires.

“We wanted a Walk Thru Fire baby and that’s why we bought her at the Heritage Place Sale,” said Jose Trevino, owner of Tremor Enterprises. “Walk Thru Fire is an outstanding sire and a lot of his horses seem to hit it big.”

Separate Fire broke her maiden in :15.40, at Los Alamitos. Prior to that, on March 19, she set what is believed to be the fastest 220-yard gate work (:11.80) by an unraced 2-year-old.  The Kindergarten trial win was her second in two starts.

“When she drilled in :11.80, Ramon Sanchez had to straighten her out during the first fifty yards,” said Jones, who won the 2009 Kindergarten with Revv It Up. “Once he got her head going straight, that’s when he started riding her. When we saw that her time was an eleven-eight, we knew we had a super fast filly.”

Never say never: writing, racing, cutting

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

6-year-old Doc Bar


Not that long ago, I vowed I would never write another book. Now here I am, deep into a history of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity.

The appeal of this project is not just putting 50 years of cutting horses and cutting competition into perspective – the 50th NCHA Futurity will be held this year – but in delving into decades of my interviews, research and records and finding interesting bits of information that, if ever previously noted, have long been forgotten.

Doc’s Yuba Lea, the 1974 NCHA Futurity champion, for instance, was out of a daughter of Leo that sold for $5,700, at the 1964 California Mid-Winter Race Sale in Pomona. The sale topper at $40,000 was the stallion Mr. Bruce, by Three Bars.

My Dinah Lea, in foal to Rocket Bar (TB), was purchased by Mrs. Stephen Jensen. Jensen and her husband owned the Quarter race-bred stallion Doc Bar, who was by Lightning Bar by Three Bars.

The Jensens had purchased 6-year-old Doc Bar in 1962 to promote as a halter horse sire. But My Dinah Lea helped usher in a new direction for Doc Bar and a new era for the cutting world.

Following the birth of the Rocket Bar filly, Little Laser in 1965, the Jensens bred My Dinah Lea to Doc Bar. The next year, they got a sorrel colt that they named Doc’s Leo Lad.

In 1969, riding for Len Perry, Carol Rose would show Doc’s Leo Lad to fourth place in the NCHA Futurity – the same year that Shorty Freeman claimed the Futurity reserve championship on Doc’s Kitty, and Buster Welch placed third place on Doc’s Luck Bar.

Doc’s Kitty, Doc’s Luck Bar and Doc’s Leo Lad were Doc Bar’s first offspring to place in the NCHA Futurity finals. Today, it would be impossible to find an NCHA Futurity champion or finalist without Doc Bar in their pedigree.

Of course, Doc’s Leo Lad was not My Dinah Lea’s last Futurity finalist, either. In addition to champion Doc’s Yuba Lea, she also produced 1972 finalist Doc’s Nanaimo, and 1973 finalist Doc’s Leopard.

Leon Harrel, who showed Doc’s Yuba Lea, as well as 1987 NCHA Futurity champion Smart Date, got his start on the Turnbow Ranch in Calif., working with Quarter race horses sired by the Three Bars son Barred. In 1968, Harrel began training cutting horses.

“I think the trainers could see, when the first three Doc Bar horses came to the Futurity in 1969, that they had exceptional style in the way they moved and the way they accepted that challenge from a cow,” said Harrel. “They were just so much more stylish moving than what we had on the scene at the time that people thought, boy, I’ve got to have one.”

My book, “Cutting Horse Gold: A 50-Year History of the NCHA Futurity,” will be published and available this fall.