Challenge Championships: Good Gully

These Novice, Texas, novice racehorse owners dived in and came up champions.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
October 27, 2012

gully enterprises

Pat and Carolyn Gully (teal jacket, black hat) accept their champion owner award.

Pat and Carolyn Gully know horses. They are 30-year veterans of the cutting horse industry, as owners, exhibitors and even show hosts (they host the annual $264,000-added Abilene Spectacular). They live in Novice, Texas, which is located in the center of the Lone Star State and about 30 miles from Abilene. They own about 60 cutting-bred horses, from mares and foals to show horses to stallions. Pat is a cattle buyer and Carolyn sells real estate. They also run about 300 mixed-breed mother cows on their ranch.

This is, however, their first year to own racehorses.

Last year, the Gullys went to Ruidoso on a rare vacation. While there, they went to the barns to visit their neighbor Alvin Turner, who happens to be a racehorse trainer.

“We went down to the barn; we’re more comfortable in the barn than at the racetrack,” Carolyn says. “I’m walking around, and I just got the bug. I said, ‘Hey, why don’t you sell me this good horse of yours?’ He said, ‘No, couldn’t do without him.’ We kept talking, and he said, ‘How about I just go find you one?’ I said, ‘OK, go find me one, but I don’t want a baby. I have enough of them at home, I want something I can start out a winner with.’ ”

Turner found them Struttin High, a 2005 gelding by Struttin To Beduino who is no stranger to the races or the winner’s circle. Struttin High is a stakes veteran, with 15 stakes placings during his career and $339,574 in earnings. This year he has earned $32,958 and was second in the $35,281 Bank of America Evergreen Championship Challenge and the $40,049 Battle of the Breeds Fall Challenge Stakes.

Their initial success led to adding three more racehorses to their stable, including the Winning Awards filly Special Awards, who is set to contest the Adequan Derby Challenge Championships (G1) on October 27. The filly was second in the Adequan Ajax Derby Challenge this year, and boasts earnings of $31,142. Struttin High is also set to run on the same night, in the undercard.

No matter what happens on the racetrack, Pat and Carolyn will be going home winners – these freshman owners earned the John Deere Champion Owner award for overall excellence during the year. With the win, they will take home a John Deere Gator utility vehicle and a custom buckle from Montana Silversmiths.

“This is all new to us, we’ve never had a racehorse,” Carolyn says. “I just couldn’t believe, I had no idea we would do what we’ve done!”

Carolyn had high praise for her trainer, who she said guided them as well as their horses all year.

“We didn’t know anything about what to do,” she says. “He’d just call me and tell me what was going on … he did us a fabulous job, and did a lot of hard work (and) a lot of hard miles. We didn’t know what we were working for, but he knew. In the back of his mind, I guess that’s what he was thinking about. I told him I wanted to start a winner when I bought the horse, and that’s what we did!”

The 20th Bank of America Challenge Championships are October 27 at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Watch the festivities live on Q-Racing Video at www.qracingvideo.com and stay tuned to complete coverage from the Q-Racing Journal at www.aqharacing.com.