Mike Rutherford, Jr.
Kentucky Derby winner Orb will be the horse to beat this Saturday in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. But Mylute, who followed Orb from the tail end of the pack through the back stretch and closed to finish fourth, could be a sentimental favorite for cutting horse fans, especially those from Texas.

Trained by Tom Amoss for GoldMark Farm, Mylute, was bred by long-time NCHA member Mike G. Rutherford, Houston, Tex., whose son, Mike Jr., 53, of Buda, Tex., is a well-known non-pro competitor.

“I was close to 30 when I started riding cutting horses,” said Rutherford Jr. “I traded a Thoroughbred mare for a cutting horse. Ann Riddle and my dad picked her out for me. He used to have cutters and has been looking at horses for so many years that I really trust him.”

One of Rutherford Sr.’s star homebreds, now a member of his Kentucky-based Manchester Farm broodmare band, is the Seattle Slew daughter Lakeway, winner of four Grade 1 stakes races: the Santa Anita Oaks, Mother Goose, Hollywood Oaks and Las Virgenes. Rutherford also bred Cara Rafaela, 2006 broodmare of the year and dam of Bernardini, world champion 3-year-old and 2006 Preakness winner over Barbaro, who suffered a fracture during the race that led to his untimely death.

Mike Rutherford Jr.’s first significant win came in 2000 aboard Dual Flo in the NCHA Non-Pro Super Stakes. But 2008 proved a banner year for him as well, when he showed two 4-year-olds, Magnifi Cat and Smart Taz Trouble, as a finalist in seven limited age event finals, as well as 3-year-old Quite The Fat Cat, as a finalist in the NCHA Non-Pro Futurity.

In addition to her Texas connections through Rutherford, Mylute also carries the colors for her dam’s sire, 20-year-old Valid Expectations, the perennial leading sire in Texas. Valid Expectations stands at Lanes End Texas in Hempstead.