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All American: Hot Horse, Pleeze

Skuze Pleeze was a hot baby. Now he’s cool. And hot again.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 27, 2013

skuze pleeze

Skuze Pleeze and Tana Pace. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Skuze Pleeze is the third-fastest qualifier to the $2.6 million All American Futurity (G1). Like any qualifier for any futurity, the Dashin Bye gelding was hot when it counted on trial day.

Skuze Pleeze was hot early on, too.

“We got him last November,” said Robert Dimmitt, who conditions Skuze Pleeze with partner Tana Pace. “We liked him, but he got real sick, just got the ol’ crud down in his nasal passages and all down in him. The first time we gated him, first time we worked him out of the gate, the next morning he had a temperature of 106.9. I didn’t think it was possible. We checked it three times to make sure it was right – thought the thermometer was bad, so we changed thermometers.”

An earner of $54,234, Skuze Pleeze is a homebred racing for Joe L. Mills of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Skuze Pleeze is one of 24 stakes winners and the earners of more than $11 million by his sire. Skuze Pleeze is out of the winning Sixarun mare Sixy Hemp ($14,246), a half sister to stakes winners High On Hemp ($69,363, by On A High) and Hemps Royal Dash ($100,209, by A Classic Dash). Skuze Pleeze is one of two stakes winners bred by Mills, who has bred 18 winners and the earners of more than $490,000 from 24 starters.

Running in the fourth trial on the second day of the trials, Skuze Pleeze finished second by a length to Wagon Tales, clocking :21.177 while finishing 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 10th-fastest qualifier Fatal Policy. The bay gelding began his racing career with an undefeated record of three consecutive wins, and came into the All American trials off a 1 1/4-length score in the $50,000 Easy Jet Stakes (RG3) on June 2 at Remington Park.

Tana Pace is a lifelong horsewoman who team ropes and shoes horses. Looking for a job about a dozen years ago, she went to the racetrack and went to work for Dimmitt. In her own name, she saddled her first starter in an American Quarter Horse race in 2008 and since then has sent out only 338 starters. But they have come back winners in 54 races (15.9 percent) and have finished second or third in 97, for a win/place/show percentage of 44.6. Pace won her first graded stakes last year when she sent out Game Show Special in the Iowa Double Gold Futurity (RG3) at Prairie Meadows and won her second graded stakes with Skuze Pleeze in the Easy Jet Stakes.

Skuze Pleeze got his career in gear after Pace and Dimmitt got him well.

“After we gated him that first time, he ate real good that night,” Dimmitt said. “The next morning he was real sick. So then we talked to the owner, Joe Mills, who told us Skuze Pleeze had stayed at a vet clinic for a month when he was a baby. He had the same stuff – don’t really know what it was, but it was pretty much a relapse. They told us he ran 108-something at the vet clinic – I’d never heard of that, but I did see the 106.9.Then it took awhile to get him back to wanting to run a little bit again.”

On April 19, Skuze Pleeze broke his maiden on first asking. From then on, everything has changed.

“After that first race, he was like a different horse,” Pace said. “He just changed completely after that. He loves to go to the track, he loves to train, he loves to race.”

After Skuze Pleeze won the Easy Jet at Remington, Mills paid the $50,000 late penalty to supplement the gelding to the All American.

“Yeah, that’s pressure – you ain’t kidding!” Pace said, with a laugh. “We had trained a few horses for Joe before, but he didn’t want to pay that $50,000, not at first. We had to talk him into it. He was really reluctant about it. He loves his horses. It’s not about the money. It’s always strictly about what is best for the horse. We talked him into it – went and had dinner with him a time or two. He’s happy now, though.”

Mills is not alone in that happiness.

“This is the ultimate feeling you can have,” Tana said. “If you’re familiar with horses and the racetrack at all, this is the ultimate feeling you can have. We have to thank Joe and Bobbi, his wife, for bringing us here. They’re awesome people, and they deserve this. It’s the ultimate!”

So at least some of the pressure is off since the trials.

“We were in the fourth trial heat, so it was a pretty long day,” Pace said. “You wait and wait and wait…. Then people would call and text us every single trial that went by – like we weren’t watching it (laughed). But I’m glad that they were, because it means a lot to us. We’ve got so many family and friends coming out to watch the All American. It’s pretty neat that they would take that much interest in it. But it was a long day. That last trial heat, we were like ‘OK, we’re in. NO! WE’RE IN! WE’RE REALLY IN!!!!’ (laughed) It’s quite an experience. I wish everybody could feel it. It’s amazing.”

The All American Futurity and Derby are September 1-2 at Ruidoso Downs in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Extended coverage of the All American weekend is provided by the Q-Racing Journal. Read the digital Q-Racing Journal at www.aqharacing.com. If you cannot attend the races live, watch them on Q-Racing Video at www.qracingvideo.com.