Yesterday I photographed some yearlings consigned to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale in Reno and a bay filly caught my eye. She was pretty and “typey,” and as I later learned from her pedigree, definitely “stylish,” as her dam was a daughter of Docs Stylish Oak.

Although he died five years ago and produced a relatively small number of foals compared to other stallions ranked among cutting’s top 20 all-time leading sires, Docs Stylish Oak’s progeny have high visibility in today’s show arena. Three of the top five finalists (from 20) in the 2008 NCHA Derby Open, including champion Peptos Stylish Sue, carry Docs Stylish Oak in their pedigrees, in addition to a direct daughter that finished 19th.

Docs Stylish Oak was well named not only because his dam was Docs Stylish, but also because he was distinctively handsome, a characteristic that he passed to his offspring and that was recognizable in the granddaughter that I photographed. His sire, Doc’s Oak, by Doc Bar, was good-looking in his own right, but Docs Stylish Oak was Michelangelo’s David in comparison.

In addition to Peptos Stylish Sue, Miss Stylish Pepto, Peptos Stylish Miss, Stylish Little Bow, and Peppers Stylish Cat, four other 2008 NCHA Derby Open finalists carry the breeding of Doc’s Oak or one of his full siblings: Sails Lil Solano, whose dam’s sire, Doc’s Solano, is a full brother to Doc’s Oak; Dualin Lil Playgirl, with Doc’s Oak as her third dam’s sire; Hesa Smart Taz, whose dam’s sire is out of Doc’s Oak’s full sister, Doc’s Marmoset, and whose second dam is by Doc’s Solano; and Arc Catty Dual, whose third dam is a Doc’s Oak daughter.

It is interesting to note that Docs Stylish Oak’s sire record stands in sharp contrast to that of his maternal grandsire, Doc’s Prescription, who could (or could not) be the wild card in his genetic deck. Like Doc’s Oak, Doc’s Prescription was a Doc Bar son out of a Poco Tivio daughter, but his stature as a sire of cutting horses never approached that of Doc’s Oak or Docs Stylish Oak, although he did produce 1979 NCHA Futurity champion Docs Diablo and some halter and western pleasure champions.

Doc’s Prescription, whose last crop came in 1996, sired a total of 1,898 foals – nearly five times as many as Docs Stylish Oak’s 403-foal lifetime total. In fact, Doc’s Prescription’s 1980 and 1981 crops (418 and 457 foals, respectively) each eclipsed Docs Stylish Oak’s lifetime count.

While fertility problems limited Docs Stylish Oak’s production, it did not affect the quality of the mares that were bred to him and his sire record speaks for itself. At year’s end in 2007, his 194 cutting performers had average earnings of $36,509. Doc’s Oak had 475 performers with an average of $21,925; and Doc’s Prescription had 262 cutting performers with an average of $9,338.

Something else of interest in regard to the 2008 NCHA Derby and Docs Stylish Oak’s pedigree, Open finalist Docs Dual Dodger is out of a granddaughter of Doc’s Hotrodder, who is a full brother to Doc’s Prescription. Doc’s Lynx is also a full brother, although he is not represented in the 2008 Open Derby finalists’ pedigrees.