High Brow Cat 1988 – 2019

November 1st, 2019

High Brow Cat, cutting’s all-time leading sire, was humanely euthanized earlier this week at the age of 31.

It is hard to imagine a time when “Cat” was not part of the cutting vernacular. The title “All-time Leading Sire” seems meager in light of High Brow Cat’s impact on the sport. At the time of his death, his offspring had earned over $79 million in NCHA competition, twice the amount of his closest rivals Smart Little Lena and Dual Rey, and he held an unassailable record with average earnings of $44,392 for 1,784 performers. In addition, his sons have sired earners of over $140 million, and his daughters have produced earners of $39 million.

Bred by Hanes Chatham and Stewart Sewell, High Brow Cat was sired by High Brow Hickory and out of the Smart Little Lena daughter Smart Little Kitty, who Jack Waggoner purchased in 1988 with the suckling High Brow Cat at her side.

Smart Little Kitty had lost the sight in one of her eyes as a young filly and was never shown. But Waggoner had loved her dam, Doc’s Kitty, the 1969 NCHA Futurity Open reserve champion and 1970 NCHA Derby champion.

“When I bought Smart Little Kitty, I bought her for her son (High Brow Cat), who looked just like Doc’s Kitty. She had short, thick cannon bones and a big rear end. She could rock back on her rear and hold her front off the ground, just like High Brow Cat.  

“When he was a baby, he’d play with me and hide behind his mother, and ran around and moved like a cat. So I named him High Brow Cat.”

High Brow Cat scored his first championship at five, under Faron Hightower in the 1993 Augusta Futurity Classic. It was the same year his first crop – seven foals – was born. By the time High Brow Cat was retired from showing, in 1995 with career earnings of $110,102, he had produced two more crops, for a total of 36 foals. From the first crop came Cats Summertime, a gelding who placed sixth in the 1996 NCHA Futurity under Bill Freeman and would go on to earn $347,360.

With the exception of 2000, from his first crop in 1996, through 2002, High Brow Cat was represented by at least one or two offspring in every NCHA Futurity Open finals, including his son A Hocus Pocus Cat, who was reserve champion of the 1999 Futurity. When One Smart Lookin Cat won the Futurity in 2003, he was one of seven High Brow Cat Futurity finalists that year; in 2004 there were ten Futurity finalists, and in 2006, there were a record 12.

In the 16-year span from 2003 through 2018, eight of the NCHA Futurity Open champions were sired by High Brow Cat, in addition to four other Futurity champions produced by High Brow Cat daughters and one champion sired  by his son Metallic Cat, who won the Futurity in 2008. At 14, Metallic Cat is the youngest stallion among cutting’s Top 10 all-time leading sires, while High Brow Cat son Smooth As A Cat, 20, is the second youngest sire on the list.

In 2013, High Brow Cat was purchased by Colt Ventures, owned by Darren Blanton, and has been laid to rest on Blanton’s ranch south of Fort Worth, Texas.