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Kawananakoa Returns With Native Tea Rose

Breeder and owner Abigail Kawananakoa returns to the All American's stage with Native Tea Rose.

By Amy Owens
Q-Racing Journal
September 2, 2012

Native Tea Rose

Native Tea Rose

Abigail K. Kawananakoa, one of American Quarter Horse racing's most well-known breeders and owners, won the All American Futurity (G1) in 1993 with A Classic Dash – a victory particularly notable because Connie Hall became the first female trainer to win the race. Two years later, Kawananakoa was back in the final with Evening Snow, who finished fifth behind Winalota Cash.  

That race marked Kawananakoa's last trip to Ruidoso until now. She is back to watch Native Tea Rose, her First Down Dash filly who is the fifth-fastest qualifier to Monday's $2.4 million All American. The filly is trained by Cody Joiner, who is based at Los Alamitos.

“I'm glad to be back,” said Kawananakoa, who was the AQHA Champion Owner in 1994 and 1995. Kawananakoa lives in Honolulu and owns Lakeview Quarter Horse Farm in Nuevo, California.

Bred in Texas by Bob and Jerry Gaston, Native Tea Rose is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Bodacious Dash and Grade 2 winner St Pats First. Lazy E Ranch LLC consigned the filly to last year's Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, where Kawananakoa purchased her for $330,000. The amount was the second-highest of the sale.

“She was my pick of the entire sale,” said Joiner, who selected four yearlings at the sale for Kawananakoa. “This filly was an absolute standout individual, and she had the pedigree to go with it. I think she's one of the best-looking fillies I've ever seen.”

On May 11, Native Tea Rose won her career debut at Los Alamitos. She was third in a trial to the Rainbow Futurity (G1) on July 3, and on August 16 won the seventh of 26 trials to the All American by a length in :21.358. Cody Jensen, who has ridden her in all of her races, will be aboard on Monday, when Native Tea Rose breaks from Post 3.

A Classic Dash, a colt by First Down Dash, nosed out Heza Fast Man to win the All American for his seventh victory in eight starts in 1993 and was the champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old colt. After his All American run, Evening Snow won the inaugural running of the Los Alamitos Million Futurity (G1) and set a 440-yard world record when winning the West/Southwest Challenge Championship (G2) at Turf Paradise.

In 2007, Kawananakoa's homebred Royal Holland Line qualified to the All American, but was injured in the winner's circle following his trial victory and did not race in the final. (Royal Holland Line returned to the races more than a year later.) Kawananakoa also bred All American qualifiers Royal Down Dash (fifth in 1992), Royal N Perfect (third in 1997) and This Snow Is Royal (eighth in 1997). Royal Down Dash and This Snow Is Royal earned championship honors during their careers.

On Friday night during the first session of the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale, Kawananakoa paid the session-topping price of $425,000 for Spirit Leader, a Corona Cartel colt who is a half-brother to champion Leading Spirit and Grade 3 winner Leading Diva. Spirit Leader was consigned by Julianna Hawn Holt.

When the suggestion was made that Kawananakoa was leaving a legacy in American Quarter Horse racing, she seemed pleased with the assessment.

“That's what I want to do. I want to leave a legacy,” she said. “These are beautiful horses, and I just want to do what I can for them.”

Fans can watch the All American Derby (G1) and Futurity on TVG or watch free of charge at
www.qracingvideo.com. Q-Racing Video provides unlimited access to live and replay simulcast race video of most American Quarter Horse tracks in the United States and Canada. For complete coverage of All American week at Ruidoso Downs, visit www.aqharacing.com. Read the September issue of the Q-Racing Journal, the digital publication covering American Quarter Horse racing, for full post-race analysis, at www.aqharacing.com, and find us on Facebook (Q-Racing) or Twitter (@AQHARacing).