Challenge Championships: Raising Talent

Texas' Raising Kain is raising expectations.

By Andrea Caudill
Q-Racing Journal
November 7, 2013

raising kain

Raising Kain. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) contender Raising Kain was bred to be a runner, but his speed was originally envisioned for the cloverleaf, not the straightaway.

The Texas-bred gelding is owned by Pete and Jo Scarmardo of Caldwell, Texas, and is by their stallion Down N Dash and out of Jo’s homebred barrel racing mare, Smooth Money Raiser. The mare, a granddaughter of Jet Smooth and Raise Your Glass (TB), ran a couple races but earned her stripes as a barrel horse for Jo. When it came time to breed the mare, they crossed her on a barrel sire first, but weren’t quite satisfied with the result.

Then they tried crossing her on their race stud, Down N Dash. The First Down Dash son out of the Rare Form mare Tell Her More showed plenty of speed – he qualified to the Grade 1 West Texas and Ruidoso futurities in his career. His dam line is one of the strongest in the business, as his second dam is Teller Queen. Down N Dash stands at Granada Farms at Wheeler, Texas.

They first crossed her on Down N Dash for a 2009 foal, and followed up in successive years. In 2010, she produced Smooth Dashing Dude, who has earned $16,872 in his career. The third was a little sorrel, blaze-faced colt they named Raising Kain. While he was originally intended to run barrels, Raising Kain had a different career to try first.

“We liked him and we sent him over to Leon Bard for training,” Pete says. “(Leon) started training him and said he thought he had a little talent. We decided to go on and try to run.”

And run he has. In six starts, he has never been off the board, with $30,113 to his name. His victories include the John Deere Retama Juvenile Challenge, where Bard sent him out for a charging half-length victory.

“He tries real hard,” Pete says of the sorrel gelding. “He’s the kind where he might not be the fastest horse there, but he tries real hard and he gives you what he’s got. And that’s all you can ask of any of them.”

The gelding is now in California, under the care of trainer Trey Wood, and is preparing for his part on the Bank of America Challenge Championships national stage.

Scarmardo is a rancher and cattle broker, and horses are a hobby. They have a variety of horses, including runners, broodmares, stallions and barrel racing and riding horses.

Pete has raced a number of good horses, including Restricted Grade 1 winner Dealagame ($230,836) and Grade 1-placed A Lil Tres Seis ($103,143).

But as for Raising Kain – he’s still got some untapped potential to look forward to.

“My wife says when we get through running him, she’ll bring him home and she’ll get him started around the barrels,” Pete says.

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