Christmas 2009 was especially sweet for NCHA Futurity finalists, including the connections of the open champion Rockin W, who earned $265,496. The Dual Rey son was one of 19 out of the 28 open finalists that are descendants of the stallion Rey Del Rancho through his son Rey Jay. Many also trace to the Rey Jay daughter Gay Jay through her famous son, Freckles Playboy.

Gay Jay was a weanling in 1958, when her breeder, Curly Talmage, then of Azle, TX, sold her along with a gelding for $400 to Bill Riley of Fort Worth, who surprised his children with the horses that Christmas.

“I delivered them to his house and tied them in the back yard on Christmas Eve,” Talmage remembered. “When Gay Jay got old enough to ride, Mr. Riley sent her to me and I trained her. Then he sold her to Dr. Rex Howard and I trained her for him on cattle.”

Later, according to Talmage, Howard put a price tag of $1,000 on the mare and sold her to Guy Harrel. Eventually, Gay Jay ended up with B.F. Phillips, who bought her for his daughter, Pam. When Phillips dispersed his show horses in favor of Quarter racehorses, Talmage went to the sale in hopes of buying Gay Jay.

“At this time, I had a little money in my pocket,” Talmage explained. “But Marion Flynt sat down in the front row and he bought Gay Jay for $17,000 and I went home with an empty trailer.”

Flynt, a West Texas auto dealer, owned Rey Jay, who he reportedly paid $25,000 for in 1965. Talmage had given Ira White $350 for Rey Jay in 1957, at the same time that he purchased Georgia Cody for $250. Gay Jay was Georgia Cody’s first foal; her second one, a 1959 colt named Solaz Sin Tachos, by Rey Jay, was the last before her untimely death.

“I bought Rey Jay because of his King Ranch breeding and his looks,” Talmage said. “The first time I ever saw him he was in a little old garage. It was boarded up and I looked through a crack and the first thing I could see was this white spot in his eye glaring at me. But when I got a good look, I liked him and went ahead and bought him, spot and all.”

Veterinarians told Talmage that Rey Jay had about sixty percent vision in the eye, which Talmage discovered was especially sensitive to dust. “I bought a pair of trailer goggles that we used at that time to keep bugs out of horses’ eyes when we hauled them in open trailers,” Talmage said. “I cut the plastic cup off of the good eye and left it open, but kept it on the bad eye.

“If the dust got in his eye he would hold it closed and go to missing cows. As long as you kept the dust out he worked just fine.”

In 1959, Talmage sold Rey Jay to Tommy Lee, of Fort Wayne, IN, for $4,000 and got a Royal King daughter besides. “I thought I did real well,” said Talmage. It was Lee who sold the sorrel stallion to Flynt, who by this time already owned Gay Jay and the stallion Jewel’s Leo Bars (Freckles). Freckles Playboy, foaled in 1973, was by Jewel’s Leo Bars.

Talmage never saw Gay Jay again after the Phillips Ranch Sale, but he watched her famous sons, Jay Freckles, Freckles Playboy, Freckles Hustler and Lenas Success perform and owned a daughter of her full brother, Solaz Sin Tachos.

“I’ve had people ask me if I couldn’t kick myself for selling Rey Jay,” said Talmage. “Yes and no. Anytime you can make that kind of a profit in two years, you’d do the same today. The numbers would just be different. Most everybody sells horses if they can make a profit.”

2009 NCHA Futurity open finalists who trace to Gay Jay and/or Rey Del Rancho:

1 Rockin W
3 Smooth Going Cat
5 Arosesuchaclatter
6 Reys Desire
7 George C Merada
9/10 Stylish Rey
11/12 Smooth O Toole
13 Special Nu Baby
15 Blue Dox Com
16 Cat A Rey
17/19 Im Divas Cat
20 Lil Fayemous Pepto
21 Ms Peppa Roanie Rich
22/23 Chiquita Cat
22/23 RPL Pepto Max
24 Can You Dual It
26 Harley
27/28 Glows Smooth Cat
27/28 Little Jazzarey