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☛ Is today’s QH being abused in the show pen? 3-8-16

Posted by on Mar 8, 2016 in BREAKING NEWS, COW HORSE NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, EQUI-VOICE, FROM THE EDITOR, HEALTH AND WEALTH, HORSE ABUSE, HORSE ORGANIZATIONS, REINING NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 10 comments

From the Editor,

 

IS TODAY’S QUARTER HORSE BEING ABUSED IN THE SHOW PEN OR WORK-UP ARENA?

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 8, 2016

Rugged Lark and Lynn Palm

The AQHA convention in Las Vegas, Nev., will be held March 11-14 at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. There will be AQHA Awards Presentation, AQHA Hall of Fame inductions and banquets.  There will also be a business workshop and industry town hall meeting. If you are planning on attending, I’m sure you have already got all your reservations scheduled.

 

Over the years, Carol Harris has been a staunch supporter of the AQHA and has written many articles to encourage changes that might produce relief for the horses and bring in new members.  Largely, all Carol’s suggestions along with others can be researched in AQHA’s favorite waste paper baskets.  Membership has sunk very severely and no changes as yet have been announced.

 

Because she cares, Carol was the force behind the rule that was passed that banned the use of lip chains on stallions in halter classes. However, the new rule had barely passed when, before it went into effect, the trainers objected. With the number of trainers working within the walls of the AQHA office, the rule was reviewed and an alternative  – the lip cord – was made a rule by the Executive Committee and began taking effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

 

The article approving the lip cord and the description of the rule SHW 355 was published in the February 2016 issue of the Quarter Horse Journal. Within that same article, was a paragraph saying that the Executive Committee will take a “firm stand on animal welfare for the protection of the horse and for the future of the breed.”

 

Even though Carol has been very vocal about horse abuse, especially targeting the warm-up pens at horse shows, it will be interesting to see if AQHA leadership has made any headway in the last 8-9 years for protecting their horses’ abuse at the shows.

 

I recently talked to Carol about her desire to inspire protection against AQHA’s horse abuse.  She and the 2015 Protect Them Coalition feel that nothing other than a Tornado, Missile Strike or ISIS Attack will stimulate AQHA to make any beneficial changes to ensure their horses a little relief from excessive and abusive training.

 

Carol has sent me a letter from a past prominent member of the AQHA, Gale Midwood, that she wishes to share with the AQHA leadership and membership.

 

The following letter explains how she was very active in the AQHA and showed professionally; however, she soon became “horrified she was to see Quarter Horse trainers and riders beginning to pull horse’s heads back behind the vertical and then continually jerked down. She continued that all kinds of extremely cruel and misguided methods were beginning to be used to achieve an unbalanced way of moving and incredibly these began to be the horses who were being pulled in to win blue ribbons!”

 

Following is the complete letter:

 

“Thank you Carol Harris, Rugged Lark and the entire 2015 Protect Them Coalition. You have articulated all I have said and thought for 40 years.  I started showing AQHA shows with my then husband, Bill Haggis in the late l960’s. We both came from a background involved with horses.  I remember a wonderful horse called ‘Illini Duke’ winning Western Pleasure at the first Congress in l967.  He had the most wonderful free flowing lope and trot that made us feel like we could ride him forever.

 

My husband, Bill, and I ran the first AQHA show in Rhode Island.  We hired a top judge and pulled in horses from all over the East Coast.  I went on to begin writing and eventually became editor of the Eastern Quarter Horse Journal with my husband and Tom Esler, who became one of the top Quarter Horse photographers in the business. We all began to notice many changes in the world of AQHA showing.  I eventually went back to full-time teaching equitation and training and showing Quarter Horses professionally.

 

Times continued to make changes and as a life-time rider with a foundation in dressage, I was horrified to see Quarter Horse trainers and riders beginning to pull horses heads back behind the vertical and then continually jerked down. All kinds of extremely cruel and misguided methods were beginning to be used to achieve an unbalanced way of moving.  Incredibly these began to be the horses who were being pulled in to win blue ribbons.

 

Since I, like others was unwilling to participate, I made a sad decision to leave the world of my beloved breed behind.  I was very capable of training a horse to do just about anything but was unwilling to do to horses what had to be done to win at AQHA shows. It broke my heart, so I just left.  Little did I know that things would get even worse, which ensured that my departure would be forever! I had a good clientele, and they went with me back into to world of AHSA. We had bred a few nice Quarter Horses but that stopped also!

 

It all broke my heart because I loved being a part of AQHA and had seen my entire life with Quarter Horses as forever. The big problem was I would not condone being part of the whole travesty of the constant lowering of head carriage and the artificial robot pace the AQHA shows were permitting and rewarding.

 

I sometimes wonder how many of us left rather than stayed to dance to that horrible tune of inhumane treatment inflicted on the best-natured breed in the world. I’ve worked with many types and breeds of horses and sometimes think the Quarter Horse’s wonderful calm temperament was their undoing. These poor horse’s faces with their sad eyes and dead tails remind me that today’s youth will never get to see them as they once were.

 

Thank you Carol Harris and all others for continuing to shine a spotlight of care and reason on this issue.  Shame on you American Quarter Horse leaders, trainers and judges for falling so low by IGNORING THE OBVIOUS. You have taken a beautiful versatile horse and turned it into an equine freak.

 

I’ve written countless letters and spoken to judges and Association officials, but all in vain. With Carol and all the others like us, I’d like to have hope but the slow way in which our Association moves makes me continue to cry for our horses right now and also for their future.

 

Gale Midwood
One of Original Founders of Rhode Island QHA
Past Editor of Eastern Quarter Horse Journal
Past Member of AQHA”

 

The AQHA Mission statement includes the statement: “To ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.” I don’t know how many AQHA members, who believe in that portion of the AQHA Mission Statement and stand behind eliminating the abuse of the Quarter Horse in the show pen and make-up arena, will attend the convention. How can a breeder and lover of the American Quarter Horse not stand behind eliminating horse abuse in the show pen and make-up arena? Or will most of those members simply stay home?  Or worse yet, could many of those disappointed members no longer be members?

 

 

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☛ NCHA Response to Amateur editorial 9-18-15

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in BREAKING NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, FROM THE EDITOR, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 1 comment

FROM THE EDITOR

RESPONSE FROM NCHA ED REGARDING TRAINERS’ WIVES AND KIDS SHOWING IN THE AMATEUR

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 18, 2015

On Sept. 15, I wrote an editorial titled “Trainers’ Wives And Kids In The Amateur?”

 

An Executive Committee meeting was to be held the next day to respond to the Non-Pro Committee’s recommendation to replace the two existing Non-Pro Exception Rules with a 3yr/$100,000 Exception Rule which would require past trainers to wait 3 years since they last trained and have a combined lifetime earnings of less than $100,000. The committee currently has 21 applications from previous trainers that have indicated their desire to return to the Non-Pro. The committee would also like NCHA and the Executive Committee to incorporate verbiage that would allow the previous trainers’ wife and children to regain their Amateur status.

 

Following my objection to this rule change and a host of responses from readers disagreeing with changing the rule, today I e-mailed Jim Bret Campbell, Executive Editor of the NCHA, asking what the position of the Executive Committee was in regard to this rule change. His immediate response was as follows:

 

“The Executive Committee reviewed multiple recommendations regarding the current non-pro exception rules. However, after much debate and consideration of the topic, the Executive Committee asked that the Non-Pro and Amateur Committees continue to study the implications of any rule changes, especially as it applies to any amateur exceptions and bring any recommendations back to the Executive Committee at a later date.

“The Executive Committee is committed to providing a fair and level playing field for all cutters and strives to ensure that every issue is thoroughly vetted and is in the best interest of the sport and the organization, and have asked the committees involved to spend more time reviewing the implications to any changes of the current exception rules.

 

“We will have an update of the EC’s actions up on the website later today. We will have the minutes of this meeting with all of the recommendations in the November Chatter. We distribute the rest of the minutes electronically to the directors.”

Click for e-mails>>

 

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☛ NCHA trainers wives, kids to cut in Amateur? 9-15-15

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in BREAKING NEWS, CUTTING NEWS, FROM THE EDITOR, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 20 comments

FROM THE EDITOR

 

TRAINERS’ WIVES AND KIDS IN THE AMATEUR?

 

COULD THIS BE NCHA’S ROAD TO DESTRUCTION?

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 15, 2015
Updated 2:30 PM 

In my opinion, decisions by the Executive Committee meeting tomorrow could mean the certain destruction of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) if they vote for the suggestion on the agenda: to allow trainers’ wives and children to show in the Amateur.

 

I looked up the 2015 NCHA Convention recommendations, I found the Non-Pro Committee made the following recommendation at the Convention:

 

“1. Recommend to replace the two existing Non-Pro Exception Rules with a

3yr/$100,000 Exception Rule which would require past trainers to wait 3 years

since they last trained AND have a combined lifetime earnings of less than

$100,000. The committee currently has 21 applications from previous trainers

that have indicated their desire to return to the Non Pro. The committee would

also like NCHA and the Executive Committee to incorporate verbiage that would

allow the previous trainers wife and children to regain their Amateur status.”

 

I don’t agree that any professional cutting horse trainer should be allowed to show in the Non-Pro, as it compromises the level playing field in the Non-Pro. Prior to the Mercuria shows, if a trainer only rode in the Open in weekend shows, it took a long time to win $100,000. To allow the wives and children from those trainers’ to show in the Amateur would take away a real amateur’s level playing field and the opportunity to win. It also gives that trainer the opportunity to show in the Open and the Non-Pro at major aged events. I think non-pros would be outraged if a previous trainer won the Non-Pro Championship at the NCHA Futurity. (I’m old enough that I remember the outrage of professionals when a non-pro won both divisions at the NCHA Futurity and changes were made to try to alleviate that. They felt that running the Non-Pro first gave that person experience in the arena before the Open was held.)

 

Like other rules, it’s getting the proverbial “foot in the door” and pretty soon the 21 trainers riding under the 3 yr/$100,000 Exception Rule, would grow, number of years would advance and they would be able to have won $200,000 or $500,000. A litany of trainers would soon be showing in the Non-Pro after finding they can’t make it as a trainer, especially in today’s economy. They made that the big decision when they became trainers, knowing they could never show in the Non-Pro.

 

I feel this change would be a travesty for this association’s growth and financial health, especially with falling membership numbers. I looked up the latest major aged events produced by the NCHA and found that the Amateur class has grown to be larger than the Non-Pro.  In the NCHA Summer Spectacular, the Non-Pro hosted 128 entries, while the Unlimited Amateur had 167 entries. In the NCHA Derby, the Non-Pro had 115 entries, while the Unlimited Amateur had 130 entries.

 

I feel the Amateur is growing due to a level playing field. The Amateur class is where the owners and breeders can show and have a chance of winning in a level playing field of a highly competitive sport.  Those are the NCHA members with the most money and ability to pay for high-dollar horses, pay top trainers, buy real estate for their cutting operation, buy high-dollar trucks and trailers, pay the high breeding fees to the best stallions, keep paying the most expensive veterinarians, enter numerous horses in the major aged events, pay travel expenses … and I could go on and on. It is usually where the industry receives the most publicity due to the high-profile businessmen and other well-known individuals in our industry. This industry has already lost too many of those individuals. Several important sponsors have started cutting themselves. How long will they stay in a class they have little chance of winning?

 

I feel trainers’ wives have a much greater advantage in the cutting pen as they usually help their husbands and by having their own trainer in residence. Occasionally a trainer will marry someone who was not raised with cutting horses and is starting from step 1 if they are interested in showing. But if they really love the sport and want to cut, they have all the professional help they need on a daily basis. The businessman or woman does not have that advantage.

 

If their children are raised in the industry, love to ride cutting horses and have done it since they were old enough to climb on one, they also have an advantage. Also, kids have no fear and weigh very little. They can take the same horse their trainer parent rides and score higher, as the horse is much more free to run and turn. Today, there are several trainers’ children who have won more than most trainers.

 

Personally, I know what it is like to try to cut in a class where you are basically paying just for experience. Years ago, I showed in the $2000 Limited Rider Class, an entry-level class with an unlevel playing field – the same as it is today. I rode my own horse (which is not mandatory in this class) and showed against World Champion Youth contestants (the youth earn points and scholarships – not much money) riding World Champion horses (In the $2000 LR class, the contestant can ride any horse).

 

I rode against top riders from other countries, training horses in the United States. I showed against Roger Wagner riding for Jack Waggoner and a World Champion Youth riding World Champion Cash Quixote Rio several times. Unless the class was held at 2 a.m., I didn’t have a chance of even placing. I did manage to win a series buckle as I had the fortitude to cut every day regardless of how late the class was held, but that was not enough to keep me spending money with little chance of a return. I needed a level playing field to continue in this sport.

 

I think to continue cutting, today’s Amateurs need that same incentive – a level playing field.

 

This editorial was updated after a conversation with Jim Bret Campbell, EC of the NCHA. Thank you Mr. Campbell.

 

 

 

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☛ The birth of Equi-Voice 9-3-15

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in EQUI-VOICE, FROM THE EDITOR | 0 comments

THE BIRTH OF EQUI-VOICE.COM …

 

THE VOICE OF THE HORSE

 

From Glory Ann Kurtz, Editor
Sept. 3, 2015

It has been seven years since the beginning of www.allaboutcutting.com. As the years have gone by, www.allaboutcutting.com has morphed from cutting news and cutting horse associations, to news of other non-profit equine associations and individuals, show results and features – as well as investigative reports regarding the entire horse industry.

 

But I couldn’t have done it alone. With the help of my readers, I received many tips about what was going on in the industry, which I investigated and wrote about through the results of my investigation. My site soon became known as the monitor of the industry. Thanks to the Internet, I could link to documents corroborating my statements, as at first I was shrugged off as “a liar that didn’t know what she’s talking about.”

 

With the help of Rick Dennis, a horse trainer and a former policeman and drug enforcement special agent, articles on this site have moved into the abuse of horses, slaughter of horses, health of horses and legal matters in the horse industry including the American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association and National Reining Horse Association.

 

From my over 30 years as Editor of Quarter Horse News, I knew a lot about the horse associations, the horses, pedigrees, the competitors, the owners and the movers and shakers in the performance horse industry. I created Equi-stat (keeping statistics on horses, owners and riders) on one of the first IBM desktops, as well as the annual Sale Guide that Quarter Horse News still operates and publishes. However, Rick is a fountain of knowledge and has the judicial experience that I lack.

 

While we continue to write articles about performance horse individuals, associations and legal matters, I have gained a huge new group of readers interested in the welfare of the horse in general. I am gaining readers daily from other aspects of the industry who are reading millions of pages on my site each year.

 

Following a suggestion from Carol Harris, whom I greatly appreciate and admire for all of her contributions to the horse industry, that I change the name of my site for all those who are not just interested in cutting. I went to Pat Hall, my web designer, who suggested the name Equi-Voice.comThe Voice Of The Horse. She then did a wonderful job of designing a site-within-a-site to accommodate all readers with many interests from all parts of the world. Readers can now go to http://www.allaboutcutting.com or http://www.equi-voice.com. I hope you will enjoy the expansion of my site.

 

I have owned a horse ever since I was old enough to get a job and buy one. My husband, Bob, and I raised horses, owned stallions and broodmares, bought and sold horses for years. We made friends in the industry worldwide that I still stay in contact with today and even traveled to foreign countries with some of the horses we sold. Sometimes foreign buyers just showed up on our doorstep looking for horses. Bob also trained and showed pleasure and reining horses years ago and broke young horses. He showed cutting horses in non-pro competition for his entertainment. I just enjoyed horses, running barrels, riding pleasure horses, trail riding and even a little bit of cutting. Bob and I both loved horses. We were born that way!

 

When I lost him in 2009, we still had a few horses. I sold most of them, but kept my old Paint barrel mare and her companion, a donkey, and Cougarand, a champagne son of Peppy San Badger out of a daughter of Doc Bar. Since they were old, I knew they would go to slaughter if I sold them. My barrel mare was 31 when she had to be put down this summer, along with her 40-year-old companion the donkey, and they’re ’buried together in our back pasture, along with several other favorites we had. Cougarand is now 29 years old and I will have him until he dies.

 

This site survives because of our passion for the horse and “what is right,” and a few dedicated advertisers who believe in what I am doing.  Because of that, www.allaboutcutting.com has developed into a force to be reckoned within the industry and www.Equi-Voice.com – the Voice of the Horse is born.

 

I’m hoping that in the future with the thousands of new readers that I have (close to 100,000 unique visitors since the first of 2015), that more advertisers will see it worthwhile to reach these horse lovers. If you’re interested in advertising or just want to contribute to the site, give me a call at 940-433-5232 or 940-393-1865 (cell). Until the end of September, I can be reached at 719-748-5229.

 

 

 

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☛ Is it really the great lip chain debate? 8-5-15

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in BREAKING NEWS, FROM THE EDITOR, HORSE ABUSE, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 2 comments

IS IT REALLY THE GREAT LIP CHAIN DEBATE??

 

An opinion piece by Glory Ann Kurtz
Aug. 5, 2015

In a four-page article in the Equine Chronicle, by Susan Winslow entitled “Is It A Safety Issue Or A The Great Lip Chain Debate: Welfare Concern?, the author illustrates the cons against banning lip chains in the halter arena, with nonexistent examples of the pros supporting AQHA’s recent rule change announced on April 24, 2015 banning lip chains and that will be effective Jan. 1, 2016. That is when the Executive Committee plans on eliminating the use of lip chains completely.

Click for Susan Winslow’s article p1>>
Click for page 2>>
Click for page 3>>
Click for page 4>>

 

Since the change was not decided on until after the 2015 AQHA Handbook had been published, the rule is still in the 2015 AQHA Handbook and many members don’t know the change is planned. However, the AQHA has plenty of time to educate members since it does not take effect until Jan. 1, 2016.

 

However, you can bet there are definitely detractors to this rule change. I am told those detractors had a meeting in May with the AQHA Executive Committee, trying to reverse their decision and leave the rule the way it is.

Click for AQHA current lip-chain rule>>

 

AQHA Response:

On the last page of the above-mentioned article is a response from AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines explaining AQHA’s position on the welfare of the horse.

 

He said, “The American Quarter Horse Association believes that the welfare of the horse is of paramount importance. Improving animal welfare in competition is a hot topic in the equine industry and in the media today.

 

“After hearing input from exhibitors, owners and trainers on both sides of the lip-chain issue, the members of the AQHA Executive Committee determined that the use of lip chains is inconsistent with AQHA’ s welfare rules. Thus effective Jan. 1, 216, the use of lip chains shall be prohibited. This recent rule change exemplifies AQHA’s stand on animal welfare and our commitment to making the welfare of the horse a priority.

 

“AQHA stands firm with the decision to continue to put animal welfare as the top priority and to continue the development of procedures that ensure the humane treatment of all horses.”

 

To further expound on AQHA’s position in the matter the following is an excerpt from AQHA’s Mission Statement which is in their Handbook: To ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.”

 

Rick Dennis:

Since the author of this article has included responses from various trainers promoting lip chain usage and did not like the fact that a new rule banning lip changes would take place on Jan. 1, 2016, I contacted Rick Dennis, a professional reined cow horse multiple-event trainer who is a regular contributor to AllAboutCutting.com. Even though he doesn’t show horses at halter, he is very knowledgeable about the training and care of the horse, especially stallions, and is also a staunch advocate of the welfare of the horse. His professional resume in law enforcement and record of success in the horse arena overwhelmingly speaks for itself. In addition to being a professional horse trainer and breeder, Rick is also a risk analyst, private business entrepreneur, freelance writer and the author of two books on the horse industry.

Click for Rick Dennis’ website>>

 

The following is Rick’s stated opinion:

 

“As a multiple-event trainer, my job is to train horses and clients, binding them into a cohesive working team that’s able to successfully compete in the performance arena in as safe a manner as possible. The client should never be worried whether or not his or her horse is safe to exhibit under all circumstances the exhibitor may encounter on show day.  It’s the trainer’s job to ensure this veil of safety is upheld.

 

“In my book; “Cross Training 101; Reining, Cutting, Cow Horse,” I address and advocate the use of “nose chains” (not lip chains) during various stages of horse training, not only for the safety of the trainer, but also the horse.

 

“Nose chains have been used, for a long time throughout the horse industry as an effective humane training aid for horses. Equally, nose chains are used to bring unruly horses back into the handler’s control. On the other hand, I’m not an advocate of the use of “lip chains” for varying reasons.

 

“In my opinion, the number one reason is it’s cruel and inhumane to the horse. The primary function of the lip chain is to control a horse through fear and pain. Further, any time you place a chain in the mouth of a horse you run the risk of permanently damaging the horse’s gums, teeth and bars.

 

“Furthermore, stud horses are unique animals that require professional training, handling and showing. I’m not an advocate of a youth, non-pro or amateur showing a stud horse without professional training beforehand. Stallions are unpredictable and require a lot of work. It’s not a case of whether or not they are fed better or bred better, it’s just a fact that stud horses are instinctively “dominate” animals. Therefore, each one requires a tremendous amount of work in order to be shown safely in the performance arena. Lip chains should never be construed as an alternative to proper training methods. I’m a professional trainer who has trained and shown stud horses absent of testosterone inhibitors and I can attest that they require more training than the average horse and also require more longeing or riding than a normal horse before they are exhibited.

 

“Another comparison used in the article that requires attention is the comparison of lip chain usage in the Thoroughbred industry to the Quarter Horse industry.  First and foremost, racehorses are barely broke and the only primary interest the trainer has is how fast the horse can run. Second, it has been demonstrated that the racehorse industry is inundated with drug use with horses. So neither scenario is applicable in this instance nor does either scenario suggest either one is okay and an acceptable practice.

 

“It is my opinion that if a horse can’t be trained beforehand to show in the performance arena safely without the use of lip chains, it shouldn’t be in there around other exhibitors and horses.

 

“Overall, AQHA should be applauded for taking a proactive position in this matter and upholding the association’s mission statement of “protecting the welfare of the horse.”

Rick Dennis

 

Glory Ann’s opinion:

I can understand why Thomas Grabe, the publisher of The Equine Chronicle published this article along with a Letter From The Publisher endorsing the article and expressed his feelings that most of those interviewed didn’t think the AQHA gave them time to prepare. He even said, “AQHA has always seemingly steamrolled the halter horse exhibitors and breeders with rule changes while treating other events – reining, cutting, pleasure – with kid gloves.”

Click for Thomas Grabe’s Letter From The Publisher>>

 

Having been in the equine publishing business for close to 40 years, with over 30 spent as the editor of Quarter Horse News, I realize how important advertisers are to keeping the publication viable and profitable – and if they don’t like what you write, they tend to forget to advertise.

 

Also, since this article was not an investigative article nor an opinion piece, I feel that if Grabe, as the publisher, was going to publish an article on a particular subject that was controversial, he could have requested that the author interview individuals giving both sides of the story – and then use his column to give his opinion. As it was written, the reader has no idea why the AQHA Executive Committee came up with their decision and what input came from what sources for the change.

 

The article should not have been entitled, “The Great Lip Chain Debate,” as there was no “debate” to it. It was simply the opinion of a few trainers – who possibly did not want to put in the hard work it takes to make a stallion safe for an amateur or youth to show.

 

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☛ The “skinny” on American Pharoah 6-8-15

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in BREAKING NEWS, FROM THE EDITOR, INDUSTRY NEWS, WHO, WHAT & WHERE | 0 comments

THE FULL SKINNY ON AMERICAN PHAROAH

 

By Glory Ann Kurtz
June 8, 2015

American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza after their Belmont win.

Most of us watched the Belmont on television on Saturday June 6, and participated in American Pharoah making history by being the first horse since 1978 to win the Triple Crown. But what most of us would really like to know is the history of this great horse.

 

I took the opportunity to learn more about his pedigree, history and statistics on the Internet and I found it very interesting – from learning items such as why his name is spelled different from the word Pharaoh usually is spelled, to the fact that he ran the second fastest time in the Belmont, only being beat by Secretariat, the greatest race horse of all time who is present in American Pharoah’s pedigree as a fifth descendent on his dam’s side. Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown.

 

AT THE SALE:

As a yearling he went through the Fasig-Tipton sale, where his breeder and owner, Ahmed Zayat, repurchased him for the minimum of $300,000 saying he wouldn’t sell him for less than $1 million; his name is a misspelling of the word Pharaoh, as he was named by the winner of a social media contest where fans could submit a name for the horse; he was sometimes described as a ridgling, rather than a colt, meaning that he had an undescended testicle. Also, his shorter tail was due to another colt chewing it off but Zayat refused to have him wear

 

HIS RACES:

He lost his first race ridden by Martin Garcia wearing a blinker hood, which appeared to unnerve him, and as a result finished fifth, nine lengths behind the winner. He was trained by Bob Baffert his whole career; however, he won his other 7 races under jockey Victor Espinoza, including the Arkansas Derby, by eight lengths. His win at the Belmont, awarding him the Triple Crown, was 2:26.65, slower than Secretariat’s fastest time of 2:24.

 

Baffert created some controversy prior to the Belmont by choosing to work the horse at Churchill Downs and ship late to Belmont Park without a timed workout at the New York track. While several prominent trainers questioned his decision, Baffert believed that it was more important to keep American Pharoah “happy” on a track he liked.

 

American Pharoah had previously defeated every horse entered, but he was also the only horse to contest all three legs of the Triple Crown and had run four races in the preceding eight weeks.

 

BREEDING RIGHTS:

On May 20, The New York Times reported that Zayat had sold breeding rights to the colt to the Ashford Stud, a division of Ireland’s Coolmore Stud, but retained control over the colt and his racing career  Before the announcement, offers for American Pharoah’s breeding rights reportedly exceeded $20 million. After the Belmont, Forbes magazine reported that Zayat had actually sold the breeding rights to Ashford in late 2014, long before he began his Triple Crown run, and that Zayat retained 100% of the racing rights. Forbes went on to estimate that if American Pharoah stood for a $100,000 stud fee, he could be worth $50 million.

 

More conservative estimates placed his potential stud fee at $75,000 and his potential value at about $25 to $36 million. The Times reported breeding rights had been sold for $13.8 million: $9.8 million with an additional $4 million incentive if American Pharoah won the Belmont Stakes. Zayat retained an undisclosed percentage in the colt’s breeding career and said he expected American Pharoah to retire from racing at the end of 2015.

 

 THE LINK TO SECRETARIAT:

Secretariat winning the Triple Crown in 1973 with Ron Turcotte in the saddle.

According to Rick Dennis, who writes many interesting and risk-analyst articles for AllAboutCutting.com and who was at the Belmont for the race, had the opportunity to meet and talk with 93-year-old Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat. She told him she saw Secretariat in American Pharoah due to the distance of his stride, his size and ability and she was positive he was going to win the Belmont. She also said he was a descendant of Secretariat, which the major news media missed.

 

Penny Chenery, owner of Secretariat.

According to breeding records, the biggest mark Secretariat made on the sport was as a sire of champion-producing mares, a so-called broodmare sire. The large-heart gene that he possessed was only passed through daughters, and so his daughter Terlingua gave birth to Storm Cat, who in turn became the greatest sire of this generation and one of the greatest sires of all-time. Without Secretariat, there is no Storm Cat … and no American Pharoah!

 

Linked to this article is the full pedigree of American Pharaoh, showing his fifth-generation affiliation with Secretariat on his dam’s side, as well as his history and statistics.

Click for American Pharoah’s full pedigree>>

Click for history of American Pharoah>>

Click for history of Secretariat>>

Click for Secretariat as broodmare sire>>

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