A new spin on Cats Twisted Whisker

May 23rd, 2007

With less than $600 in earnings, Cats Twisted Whisker was off the radar for 4-year-old show horses before the Breeder’s Invitational Cutting in Las Vegas, beginning May 16. But the High Brow Cat daughter made up for lost time with an $82,408 win in the Breeder’s Invitational Derby and $15,000 in additional prizes.

“We always thought the talent was there, it was just waiting for the opportunity to shine,” said all-time leading trainer Phil Rapp, who rides Cats Twisted Whisker for Waco Bend Ranch of Fort Worth, TX. “It was the best run I’ve had on her.”

Cats Twisted Whisker was bred by Jack and Susan Waggoner who sold her to Glen Evans and Ed Murphy of Arbuckle, CA as two-year-old, through the NCHA Futurity Sales. Murphy trained the mare and took her to the NCHA Futurity, where she didn’t advance past the go-rounds, but came to the attention of Rapp, who purchased her for Waco Bend Ranch.

“I knew she was a really good mare, but it was going to take her a little time to get adjusted to me and to the cattle that we have in Texas,” Rapp said. “I was her third training program, after the Waggoners and Ed Murphy, and it takes four to six months, sometimes a little longer, for a horse to adjust to a new program.”

Rapp entered Cats Twisted Whisker in both the Augusta Futurity and the Bonanza Cutting, with good results in the first go-rounds, but tough luck coming back. The pair by-passed the NCHA Super Stakes and Rapp prepared the mare for the Breeder’s Invitational at several weekend shows, where they picked up $543 in earnings. It was the Breeder’s Invitational $10,000 Limited Horse finals, however, that brought them up to par for the Open Derby.

“I’ll have to admit, she was not very good in the Novice finals,” Rapp said. “So I worked her immediately after that and made a few corrections to get her prepared. But if I had marked a 214 or 216 in the Novice (they scored 211.5), I wouldn’t have worked her back, and she wouldn’t have been as good in the Derby.”

Cats Twisted Whisker scored 224 in the Derby to win by six points over second-placed Ristos Fair Lady, ridden by Aaron Wheatley for Waggoner Ranch.

An interesting thread runs through Cats Twisted Whisker’s pedigree to connect Rapp and the mare’s dam’s sire. Cats Twisted Whisker is out of Spins Gay Lena, by Doc’s Spinifex (pictured), Australia’s all-time leading cutting sire. Rapp also placed as reserve champion of the Breeder’s Invitational Classic on the Robert Graves-owned mare Lil Pretty Richochet, who is out of a daughter of Docs Freckles Oak, who in turn is a daughter of Docs Spinifex. Like Docs Spinifex, Docs Freckles Oak was sired by Doc’s Oak and became a leading sire – second only to Doc’s Spinifex – in Australia.

“Cats Twisted Whisker and Lil Pretty Richochet have some similarities that I attribute to Doc’s Spinifex,” Rapp noted. “They both have an incredible desire to hold a cow and they’ve got a lot of play in the middle (of the pen). They don’t get tricked by a cow and when a cow puts it on them, they really try hard to hold it. They’re very tight and electric.”

“Those Doc’s Spinifex mares, I’m very impressed with them as broodmares.”