Pedigree Analysis: Gotta Good Habit

This pedigree is Supreme, on and off the racetrack.

Q-Racing Journal

Gotta Good Habit comes from star-studded bloodlines.

The American Quarter Horse is the fastest horse on earth. And he’s also the most versatile.

Developed originally on the sprint tracks known as quarter paths in Colonial America, the Quarter Horse cemented his reputation in the West. He was able to use that lightning speed, stamina and strength not only to earn his owner money on the track but also to pair it with cow sense to become the cowboy’s most valuable asset. The American Quarter Horse Association was founded 74 years ago, and the breed became the most popular on earth because he was able to do it all – not just race, not just work cattle, but everything an owner could ask of a horse.

That is why the AQHA Open Supreme Champion title is so important. The award recognizes a horse for showing both tremendous skill and tremendous versatility. It requires a horse to twice achieve a speed index of at least 90, and the horse must also earn at least 40 points in halter and performance classes at five or more AQHA shows, including two grand championships.

The open supreme championship was an ultimate goal for many back when horses were promoted across disciplines. From 1967 until 1979, 44 horses were able to overcome this difficult task. But then specialization overtook the industry, and there was not a single open supreme champion for 16 years, and then only two in a span of nearly 30 years. Fortunately, the award has seen a renaissance of sorts – there have been four winners in the past five years (including horses by the likes of Corona Cartel, Mr Eye Opener and Royal Quick Dash).

AQHA recently welcomed its 50th member into that club – Gotta Good Habit.

The dark brown stallion steps from a pool of elite racing blood, and completes a vision by American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Frank “Scoop” Vessels III from several decades ago.

Scoop worked hard to cultivate the great bloodlines and legacy he inherited with his Vessels Stallion Farm, and was rarely afraid to try something new. He helped develop new programs in the industry, welcomed new people and introduced new blood into the breeding pool. And he decided he wanted to go for an open supreme championship with a horse from his family’s breeding program. That horse was Gotta Good Habit, who was a Grade 1 finalist before injury curtailed his career. He started down the road to the Supreme, but that dream, too, was curtailed by Scoop’s untimely death in 2010.

Gotta Good Habit was purchased by his owner Patricia Thompson of Springfield, Louisiana, at the 2012 Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale. When she realized how close the horse was to earning the award, she sent him back into training, and he completed it on the last day of 2013.

The stallion is from racing royalty. He is by leading sire Strawfly Special and out of the First Down Dash mare First Femme.

A 1987 son of Special Effort, Strawfly Special was a stakes-winning colt who was second in the Bay Meadows Futurity (G1) and earned $222,920 in his racing career. Purchased by Jens List Jr. when he was done racing and owned by List’s Double Bar S Ranch, Strawfly Special made his biggest mark as a sire. From 15 crops to race, the world champion-sire got the earners of more than $25.7 million. That included 832 winners from 1,191 starters, including 79 stakes winners. The stallion died in 2004, and is the No. 8 all-time leading sire by money earned, the No. 6 all-time sire by winners, and the No. 9 all-time broodmare sire by earnings. He is also the sire of show horses who have earned more than 800 points in AQHA show competition, including a reserve world champion.

Gotta Good Habit is one of 19 foals out of the stakes winner First Femme. The 1989 daughter of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member First Down Dash comes from Vessels breeding that traces back to their foundation mare, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame mare Do Good.

First Femme is the dam of champion Old Habits (by Apollo (TB), $680,966), Grade 1 winner One More Habit (by Apollo (TB), $272,510), stakes winners First Wrangler (by The Signature, $95,805) and Habitual (by Jazzing Hi, $41,529); and stakes-placed runner Jess Another Habit (by Mr Jess Perry, $98,374).

She is also the second dam of Grade 1 winner Sheza Bad Habit ($164,545), Grade 2-placed Dynasty Of Habits ($79,210), stakes winner Habits Secret ($259,783) and stakes-placed runners First Prize Habit ($43,541), Heza Hot Habit ($41,421), Sheza Fast Habit ($36,055) and Start Of A Dynasty ($10,573).

First Femme is out of the good mare Fishers Favorite, a stakes winning daughter of Beduino (TB) out of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame mare Ought To Go. She is the dam of Grade 1 winner Check Her Twice (by First Down Dash, $215,361), herself the dam of Grade 1 winner and sire Check Him Out (by Hennessy (TB), $418,528) and stakes winner Masters Call (by Hennessy (TB), $106,757); Fishers Favorite also produced Grade 1 winner Dash To Chivato, who has sired the earners of more than $3.5 million; and Restricted Grade 1-placed runner Fishers Dash, sire of the earners of more than $11.4 million.

Fishers Favorite, whose sister Bedawee produced major sire Mr Eye Opener (sire of the most recent open supreme champion, Fly The Red Eye), is also a major producer of producers. She is the second dam to the likes of champion Hateful Hanna ($139,487), who produced champion Hardly Hateful ($436,979); Grade 1 winners First Down Illusion ($500,547) and Whole Lot Of Karma ($139,525); Grade 1-placed Really A Fantasty ($72,740); and stakes winner El Zapatista (by Separatist, $103,579).

Gotta Good Habit has a lot of history behind him. With his rare open supreme champion award, he has again proven the versatility of his breed, added to his family's legacy and finished a vision of his breeder. Now the stallion looks to continue the dream for his new owners.

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