VIP oversees sale consignments

August 30th, 2007

Tammy is a Very Important Pup at Hawn-Holt Ranch, home of Quarter racing’s Broodmare of the Year Corona Chick. The two-year-old Jack Russell terrier belongs to Bennie Greathouse, manager of Hawn-Holt Ranch’s breeding operation. For more than a decade, the Texas Hill Country ranch, owned by Julianna Hawn-Holt and Peter Holt, owners of the San Antonio Spurs, has been a leading consignor at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sales. Last year’s sale topper, Captain Courage at $415,000, was a Hawn-Holt consignment.

When I arrived at the ranch earlier this month to photograph yearlings, Tammy greeted me in the barn by sitting straight up on her haunches, unprompted, then was off in a flash to find Greathouse. As each yearling was led out of the barn, Tammy quietly followed Greathouse, then waited patiently while each horse was set up and photographed.

By now, anyone reading this who has owned a Jack Russell, or been in the vicinity of one, knows one of the reasons why Tammy is so special. The only hint of Jack Russell behavior during the photo shoot came when Greathouse led the horses back to the barn. Tammy would wait until he turned down the barn aisle, then race to catch up – a self-controlled concession, perhaps, to her genes.

It is possible that Tammy realizes she’s no match for the ranch’s yearlings, when it comes to speed. This week two Hawn-Holt Ranch-bred horses are among the top contenders in the $2 million All American Futurity and the $500,000 All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs: Captain Courage and Valiant Hero (pictured as a yearling with Greathouse), respectively.

Tammy was given to Greathouse as a gift by friends at the ranch, after his Jack Russell Tina was hit by a truck. “She was the only female in a large litter and we thought that she would grow to be regular size,” said Velda Readel, one of the friends who purchased Tammy for Greathouse. “She goes everywhere with Bennie and really does not know that she is so small.”

The cuteness factor – that’s the other thing special about Tammy. She has delicate features, stubby legs, and a body about the size and shape of a loaf of homemade bread.

“She really is one of the most special dogs I’ve ever been associated with,” said Readel, the ranch’s office manager. “Even people who are not dog lovers end up falling in love with her. Literally, everyone who sees her wants her. I always tell Bennie that if we could just clone her, we could retire.”

After Sunday, the last day of the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, Tammy will have a chance to relax a bit and get back to regular ranch duties, until foaling season begins.

Among Hawn-Holt’s consignment to this week’s sale is Mighty Corona, half-brother to Captain Courage, and full brother to All American Futurity winner and four-time running champion Corona Cash.