Challenge Championships: Hoping For Paydirt

SS Paydirt is looking for gold in the John Deere Juvenile Championship.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
November 5, 2013

ss paydirt

SS Paydirt returns after winning his non-qualifying All American Futurity trial. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

Richard Frandsen’s SS Paydirt has never been beaten by a horse. In five career starts, he has crossed the line first in each of them, and he’s looking to continue that history on Saturday night in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2). The race is one of the headlining events at the Bank of America Challenge Championships at Los Alamitos in Southern California.

Frandsen, a retired fire fighter who hails from Roy, Utah, was there when the foal was born in the wee hours of February 27, 2011.

“This colt, he’s an awful nice-looking colt,” he says. “I foaled him out myself. It was the end of February, and I checked the mare every hour. … He was born in the mud and the snow.”

Maybe those extreme conditions can make a horse extra tough – world champion and millionaire Cold Cash 123 was also foaled out in the snow – but SS Paydirt has proven himself in his short career.

The Carters Cartel gelding began that career on May 11, when he won his Bitterroot Futurity (RG3) trial and career debut by 1 ¾-lengths, good for a 105 speed index over the 350 yards. He returned in the $114,656 final and was a length the best at the wire, but got the only beat of his career – the stewards disqualified him to fifth due to interference.

He next pointed to the John Deere Les Bois Juvenile Challenge, winning his 350-yard trial by a head-turning 3 lengths. In the final, he false started in the gates, then ripped a shoe off, and still managed to defeat Time For Jesse Lee by a neck. Time For Jesse Lee would go on to Los Alamitos where he would finish a nose back in the $44,460 John Deere Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge and a neck back in the $128,100 Wild West Futurity.

SS Paydirt, in the meantime, was headed to the Land of Enchantment. His connections decided to make the All American gamble – they paid the $50,000 late supplement fee to enter him in the $2.6 million All American Futurity (G1) trials in mid-August. He won that race over horses that included eventual $1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) finalist CR Tuckernuck, but his time, which was run into an 8mph headwind, was not fast enough to qualify for the final.

“We raised him ourselves,” Frandsen says of his gelding. “I enjoyed feeding him. As he got bigger, I thought, that’s just what Carters Cartel looked like.”

SS Paydirt is from his young sire Carters Cartel’s second crop. The sport’s champion 2-year-old colt of 2007 is by Corona Cartel and out of the great mare Jumping Tac Flash. His career was staged at Los Alamitos, where he won the Grade 1 Kindergarten and Ed Burke Million futurities and qualified to both the Grade 1 Golden State Million and PCQHRA Breeders’ futurities. He retired after a 10 start career in which he was worse than third only once, and with earnings of $659,146.

“I ran the mother, Mia Ta Fame, and she ran pretty well for us,” Frandsen says.

Mia Ta Fame (Dash Ta Fame-With Real Intent by Raise A Secret) was bred by Michael Isom of Brigham City, Utah, a friend of Richard’s from the fire department. Isom also raced her half brother, Hoist Mission (by Maknmoves, $206,185) to a successful stakes career that included winning the 2009 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2).

Mia Ta Fame was third or better in six of her eight starts, including a placing in the $106,670 Silver Dollar Futurity (RG2). Her first foal was the 2005 Special Leader gelding Decati, who won the 2007 Bitterroot Futurity (RG2), Intermountain Futurity and Bayer Legend Northwest Derby Challenge (G3) before he headed to Ruidoso. There he was only a half length off the pace set by champions Noconi and Heartswideopen in the All American Derby (G1). The gelding is now owned by Carlos Diaz de Leon Velazquez and is a formidable stakes runner at Hipodromo de las Americas, with four stakes wins to his credit in the past year and a half. He has earned $254,287 in his career.

Mia Ta Fame also produced stakes-placed runner Mias Runnin, a mare by Strawflyin Buds. 

Richard’s whole family is involved in horses, and his sons Skip and Scott are partners on the horse – hence SS Paydirt’s name. Skip and Scott and Richard’s third son, Ryan, and their families all enjoy horses and sports such as barrel racing. They will be attending the Challenge to cheer on SS Paydirt.

“I’ve had horses since I was 18,” Richard says. “It’s just something I love to do. When I was younger, I water skied four or five days a week in the summer. I snow skied for a dozen years, I got 28 jumps out of an airplane. I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do, but nothing is as exciting as having your horse in those starting gates. I’m like a 5-year-old waiting for Santa Claus.”

The 21st Bank of America Challenge Championships are November 9 at Los Alamitos Race Course at Los Alamitos, California. Watch the festivities live on Q-Racing Video at and stay tuned to complete coverage from the Q-Racing Journal at