Archive for June, 2011

Buster and Bob on cattle and horses

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I recently came across an interview I conducted some years ago with Buster Welch and Bob Byrd. Buster won the first two NCHA Futurities (plus three more) and Bob won the third. The two men, close friends born and raised in West Texas, reminisced about their experiences as hired cowhands in the 1930s and 1940s, on ranches that still operated as they had in the days when beef on the hoof, rather than oil, was their most valuable commodity and their remuda a valued resource.

Here’s an excerpt:

The thing about those horses and how they were trained – they just had a lot of cattle to work. You can’t realize how much and how long people worked cattle. It was constant.

One time when the wagon was fixing to pull out, I stayed behind with a fella by the name of Joe Wolfe. He was kind of the segundo on the ranch and would do most of the cutting.

In that country, the cattle would walk maybe two days from grass to water and you couldn’t run them off of water too easy. They didn’t want to leave it.

So we’d go down to a big old flat in the water. He’d lead a horse and I’d lead a horse and ride one of those young ones that was kind of broncy.

He’d drive a cow out of there (away from the water) and hold her a little bit a few times. And he did that for three of four days, getting those horses ready to go to work. He trained a lot of ranch working horses, but that was about as much formal training as I ever saw. He just wanted to have them ready for the drive.

Back then they wouldn’t ride the cutting horses on the drive. They’d have somebody take (lead) those horses to the roundup ground where they were going to throw their cattle together and they’d tie those horses there. When they’d come in from the drive, those horses would be there for whoever was going to work the herd.

That (cutting) horse was trained pretty well in ranch work and would come to the fore. They used to talk about Foy Proctor having so many good cutting horses to ride. So I said to him, “You must be the best horseman in the world.” And he said, “No. I have over five hundred horses. I watched them and if one looked like it might work, I’d try it.

“I never did ride a horse a second time, if it wasn’t full of cow. Out of five hundred, I always kept eight or ten good horses.”

Horses were six or eight years old before they amounted to a whole lot back then.

Horses didn’t mature like they do now, particularly in dry years. A lot of times they wouldn’t break them until they were four. I broke a lot of horses at the X’s that were eight.

They just ran on the grass, no feed.

There wasn’t anybody then that trained horses for other people. You trained that horse working cattle (for the ranch) and if it was a good horse, you’d done your job.

We’d ride horses that had a little cow and we’d call them our herd horses. And if they got to watching a cow kind of outstanding, the boss might take them and try and make a cutting horse out of them.

The Non-Pro 2011

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Peptolistic wins The Non-Pro 4-Year-Old Open

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Shannon Hall

Peptolistic and rider Shannon Hall scored 223.5 points on Tuesday, June 21, in Oklahoma City to win the Non-Pro 4-Year-Old Open and $7,500. Nievas and her owner-breeder, Ed Dufurrena, claimed reserve and $5,000 with 221.5 points.

This was the first time either horse had competed in a limited age event finals. Nievas was, however, a finalist (12th) in the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro with Brandon Dufurrena on Sunday.

Peptolistic’s owner, Tim Drummond, Pawhuska, Okla, bred the Peptoboonsmal-sired colt out of Moms Stylish Socks, whose dam is a full sister to Freckles Merada, an all-time leading maternal grandsire of cutting horses. Drummond was also a 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro finalist on Stylish Lizzie, whose dam is a half-sister to Freckles Merada and whose sire, Lizzys Gotta Player, is out of Lizzielena, a full sister to the dam of Freckles Merada.

Nievas also connects to Freckles Merada through his sire, Cats Merada, who is out of the Freckles Merada daughter Merada Lena.

Dualin Puddy Tap, ridden by Steve Oehlhof for Gordon Sevig, won the 5/6-Year-Old Open and $7,500 with 222 points. Shimmerz and his owner-rider Casey Green scored 220.5 points for reserve. This was the first limited age event win for Dualin Puddy Tap, a 5-year-old Dual Pep son who had earned $41,180 in previous events.

Shimmerz, a 5-year-old Smart Lil Ricochet son with career earnings of $21,000, is a half-brother, out of the Dual Pep daughter Zee Dualy, to $225,000 earner Smooth Asa Zee.

For The Non-Pro complete results, including pedigree lines, click here.

Heiligbrodt race dispersal

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Bill Heiligbrodt

Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Houston, Tex., ranked among the nation’s leading Thoroughbred owners for nearly two decades, announced on Monday, June 20 that they will disperse their Heiligbrodt Racing Stables beginning with approximately 80 head slated for a July 12 session, immediately following the last session of the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearling Sale in Lexington, Ky.

The Heiligbrodts have owned or co-owned 118 stakes winners, including 1997 Arlington Million
winner Marlin with $2.4 million and, since 2005, have claimed over 650 wins and $21.5 million
in earnings.

Bill Heiligbrodt, 70, a retired financial services and banking executive, grew up in rural South Texas, where Quarter Horses prevailed and where he and Corrine established a ranch near Palacious to breed and compete with cutting horses. Between 1990 and 1999, they won five NCHA Open World championships with Cash Quixote Rio (1990 and 1992) and Meradas Little Sue (1995, 1997 and 1999), who retired as cutting’s all-time leading money earning mare with $670,000.

During the same time period, Bill formed a racing partnership with fellow Texans Ted Keefer and Buddy New. Their first purchase was a $5,200 yearling colt named Appealing Breeze that would run out $553,327.

In 2001, the Heiligbrodts sold Meradas Little Sue for a record $875,000 during the NCHA
Futurity Sales, and phased out of cutting competition.

The Phase I Heiligbrodt catalog, handled by Bluewater Sales, will include horses three and up currently racing, as well as two-year-olds in training; bred mares with 2011 foals at side; and yearlings. Catalogs and race performance records will be available online at, beginning June 22.

Ruidoso Racehorse Hall of Fame inductions

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Undefeated Peppers Pride; and (left to right in photo) trainer John Bassett; jockey Jerry Burgess; as well as owner/breeder Johnny T.L. Jones Jr. were inducted into the Racehorse Hall of Fame; and publisher Ben Hudson was honored with the first Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame Special Recognition Award at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico on Friday, June 17.

New Mexico-bred Peppers Pride, owned by Joe Allen and trained by Joel Marr, won each of her 19 starts, including 14 stakes races, to set a modern Thoroughbred record for consecutive wins. Retired in January 2009, with earnings of $1,066,085, the celebrated mare has a 2011 filly by Distorted Humor and is bred to Distorted Humor for 2012.

John Bassett has been a leading Quarter Horse trainer for two decades. His wins include the All American Futurity (two times); the Los Alamitos Million/Two Million (four times); the Rainbow Futurity (three times), the Golden State Futurity (three times); as well as wins in the All American Derby, the Los Alamitos Super Derby and the first running of the Texas Classic Futurity.

Jerry Burgess, currently a racing steward at Lone Star Park and Hialeah Park, is a former Quarter Horse jockey who won the All American Futurity aboard Bugs Alive In 75, the Rainbow Futurity on Mighty Deck Three and two stakes races on world champion Dash For Cash. He also rode Cinder Leo, Mr Hay Bug, Chicory Moon and Alamitos Feature to stakes wins.

Johnny T.L. Jones Jr. has been a force in both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. His Walmac Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, home to leading sires such as Nureyev, Alleged and Miswaki, is internationally renowned. He is also co-owner of 2-time AQHA running champion Noconi, as well as AQHA champions Brenda Beautiful and My Dashing Lady, and Champion Of Champions winner The Down Side.

Ben Hudson co-founder and publisher of TRACK Magazine for the past 35 years, was also active in promoting pari-mutuel racing in Texas. In addition to Track, he also publishes the Monday Report.

Silver For Me shines in Ruidoso Futurity

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Supplemental entry Silver For Me, at 9-1, overcame a rough start to win the $500,000 G1 Ruidoso Futurity at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, June 12. The $250,000 winner’s payout validated the decision of trainer Jackie Riddle and owners G.W. Hartstack and B and B Electric to pay gelding Silver For Me’s $15,000 late entry fee.

“We didn’t get away the best,” said rider Carlos Madeira. “At about fifty yards he just kicked it in.” The 350-yard dash was the richest Quarter Horse victory for Madeira, a top-ranked New Mexico Thoroughbred rider, who piloted undefeated Peppers Pride to all 19 of her wins.

Back In The Pack, a $9,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale and the only filly in the field, finished a neck behind Silver For Me for second, at 22-1; Ochoa, at 9-1, was third. Both Silver For me and Back In The Back are sired by Corona For Me.

Silver For Me, runnerup in the Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes, qualified for the Ruidoso Futurity with the fourth fastest time (:17.629) from 195 entrants in 21 trials. His winning time in the Ruidoso Futurity was :17.481.

Fastest qualifier (:17.502) Fly First Down, a $300,000 purchase at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, finished seventh.

Llano Teller takes Ruidoso Derby
Llano Teller parlayed a sharp start and a game finish into a $308,267 win in the G1 Ruidoso Derby on Saturday, June 11, at Ruidoso Downs. The race’s record purse of $702,896 was more than double the amount of the 2009 Ruidoso Derby.

Trained by Heath Reed for Wootan Racing and Reed Land and Cattle, Llano Teller covered 400 yards in :19.553 to win by a neck over Dominyun.

“He broke about a neck in front and Dominyun may have gotten his head in front about halfway down there,” said rider G.R. Carter Jr. “But he took on the challenge and got the win.”

It was the second start of the year for the gelded son of Teller Cartel, whose win boosted his career earnings to $837,987.

Ruler On Ice reigns in Belmont Stakes

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Ruler On Ice, who didn’t make the grade for the Kentucky Derby, showed his class with a huge upset win in the $1 million G1 Belmont Stakes.

Sent off at 24-1 in a 12-horse field that included Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Ruler On Ice rated second off of Preakness winner Shackleford for the first mile, when rider Jose Valdivia saw his chance.

“The last half-mile, I felt like a had a lot of horse left,” said Valdivia, who had never won a Triple Crown race. “The last eighth, I couldn’t believe I was going to win the Belmont Stakes.”

Trainer Kelly Breen, who saddled his first Triple Crown contenders, West Side Bernie and Atomic Rain, in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, also savored his first Triple Crown win. “When you’re running against the top horses, it’s tough to say that he’ll run a phenomenal race,” said Breen, before the race. “But at this distance (1 1/2 miles), he never seems to recede in the stretch.”

Ruler On Ice, a gelded son of Roman Ruler, had two wins from six starts coming into the Belmont, but his only previous graded stakes race was the G3 Sunland Derby, in New Mexico on March 27, where he finished third. On May 7, he finished second by two lengths in the seven-horse field of the $65,000 Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

Described by Breen as “a little nutty,” Ruler On Ice was a $100,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale and is owned by New Jerseyites George and Lori Hall.

“He didn’t mature as fast as we wanted to,” said Breen. “He’s already a gelding so we can’t castrate him again, so we put blinkers on. Last week, he broke right and it’s like sometimes, the bulb just goes on. It was a perfect storm of things going right, and that’s how we got here.”

Animal Kingdom, the favorite at 2-1, clipped heels with a horse to his inside at the start of the race and nearly unseated his rider, John Velazquez, as he stumbled and struggled to steady himself. “I knew it was done right then,” said Velazquez, who piloted Animal Kingdom to a sixth-place finish despite the mishap.

Stay Thirsty, another longshot at 20-1 on the morning line, finished second, with Brilliant Speed, at 15-1, third. Preakness winner Shackleford was fifth.