Challenge Championships: Bad is Good

Born To B Bad looks to be good in the John Deere Juvenile.

Quarter Racing Journal

Mike Wakefield and Born To B Bad. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

Born To B Bad has a point to prove in Saturday’s $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos.

The black gelding by Freighttrain B might well be on his way to becoming a badass on the racetrack but he’s anything but bad at the barn.

“He is an awesome little horse, just awesome,” says trainer Tammy Johnson, waving a hand. “Pffft, anybody could train him. Honest to God, I could make up all this stuff and talk about what a great job we’ve done, but he’s just one of those that goes in the gate, stands there and leaves – he’s the gate-leavingest thing and he runs his heart out.”

Johnson and husband Mike Wakefield of Rockin J Running Horses at Gatesville, Texas, condition the gelding out of the winning Separatist mare Dosvedanya ($19,485). Born To B Bad was bred by the partnership of N.R. Stevenson and Melissa Slayton, and races in the name of Slayton and her husband, Cody Bowling. The couple live near Tolar, Texas, where Melissa is a nurse and Cody has a security camera business in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“They are really good people,” Johnson says. “Melissa is like me, one of those gals that doesn’t change her name when she gets married. I met her probably about two years ago and we got to know each other and just became friends. Then she sent her first horse – her first racehorse – to me last year, a horse called Tolar Cartel. We ran him at Ruidoso last year and he never made it to the winner’s circle, but he won at Lone Star just before we got ready to go to California. He won real easy (by a length at 330 yards), a nice little horse. Melissa and Cody are really good people – new in the business but they have a lot of horse sense.”

According to Johnson, Melissa as a young girl showed in Ponies of America.

“Melissa did real well in the POA deal and Cody is a roper,” she says. “So they know horses – this is just a different genre, you might say. She and Cody are really sharp people. They want to learn. And they can take the truth. When things are good, when things are bad, they just want to know. So we get along really well. We’re real direct and they’re real good people. They’re just horse-horse-horse.”

Born To B Bad is their second racehorse.

“I got this horse in January,” Johnson said. “He was already broke. They broke him on their place at Tolar. Melissa and Cody have a track and a swimming pool (for horses). It’s a real nice track. A lot of people around Weatherford and that area bring their horses to gallop on their track.”

It’s also where Melissa and Cody raised Born To B Bad.

“Melissa and her partner bought some mares at Heritage Place and they bred a couple of those mares to Freighttrain B,” Johnson said. “When they split up their partnership last year, the partner ended up with two of the mares and Melissa ended up with two mares. Melissa got Dosvedanya, who was carrying a Freighttrain B baby, and that’s how she and Cody ended up with Born To B Bad. That’s not the first horse she’s ever bred, because she did some POA ponies, but it’s the first racehorse she bred, raised and runs, and you know how gratifying that is.”

It’s especially gratifying with a horse like Born To B Bad.

“He’s one of those rare racehorses that will go on and be another kind of horse,” Johnson says. “He’ll make a roping horse or a cutting horse or anything else that someone would want. He’s that sharp, just wonderful to be around, as gentle and easy as he could be. I honestly can’t say a bad word about this horse right now. We’re really happy with how he takes every bit of the training. Like when we stand him (in the gate): He really gains from it, know what I mean? He’s smart, very smart. Like anybody, we have our own little deals that we do, but I can’t say it’s rocket science because it’s just been easy with him.”

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