Pedigree Analysis: Two For One

Full siblings Misty River Dancer and Sammi Santanna tear it up in South Dakota.

Q-Racing Journal

Sammi Santanna, shown winning the 2013 Northern Plains Stallion Futurity. PHOTO: Coady Photography

There are few things in a racehorse owner’s life better than winning a stakes race … unless maybe it’s winning a stakes race with a homebred runner. And the only thing better than winning a stakes race with a homebred might be winning two stakes races with two homebreds over one weekend. Just ask Jerry Olson of Selby, South Dakota, who notched the trick on the closing weekend at Ft. Pierre, South Dakota. On Saturday, Misty River Dancer captured the Ft. Pierre South Dakota-Bred Futurity, and on Sunday her full brother Sammi Santanna won the Ft. Pierre South Dakota-Bred Derby.

The two races were the feature races of the five-day meet at Ft. Pierre, a small track on the banks of the Missouri River, which ran April 19 - May 4. The Mount Rushmore state will next host the six-day Brown Co. Fair meet in Aberdeen, which opens May 10.

Both horses were trained by Randy Weidner and ridden by Doug Frink. The futurity was the first career race for Misty River Dancer. Sammi Santanna, now a veteran of nine starts, last year won the Northern Plains Stallion Futurity (R) at Canterbury Park.

Both horses were bred by Olson, a 30-year cumulative breeder, and are by Its Royal Time and out of the Special Effort mare Dashboard Light.

“They’re a lot different horses,” noted the trainer. “The filly is a little more excitable, and ‘Sammi,’ the 3-year-old, is a little more laid-back and just a fun horse to be around.”

Its Royal Time is an 18-year-old son of Chicks Beduino out of the champion First Down Dash mare Royal Down Dash. The unraced stallion is a half brother to Grade 1-placed Get Down Perry (by Mr Jess Perry, $159,677) and stakes-placed Royal Down Jolla (by Streakin La Jolla, $16,425). American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Chicks Beduino, who died in 2003, was a Grade 1 winner and a leading sire, with the earners of more than $35.4 million. Royal Down Dash was the sport’s champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old filly in 1993, when she won the All American Derby (G1) and four additional stakes races on her way to career earnings of $405,384. She herself is a sister to three-time Grade 1 winner Time For Royal Cash (by Dash For Cash, $313,583), the dam of stakes winners Divide The Cash (by Separatist, $447,637), Time For Streaking (by Streakin La Jolla, $89,461) and Time For A Royal Dip (by Royal Miracle Dip, $74,192).

From 68 starters produced in his stallion career, Its Royal Time has sired 37 winners (54.4 percent) and seven stakes winners (10.2 percent), with average earnings per starter at $7,486. Considering his limited book, it is interesting to note that last year the stallion stood at No. 12 among all stallions on the leading sires by stakes percentage list, with a strike rate of 15.38 percent. He also stood at No. 27 among all stallions on the year’s leading sires by win percentages list. Its Royal Time is owned by Olson.

Olson also owns his runners’ dam, the 21-year-old Dashboard Light. She was bred by “Hank” Bird of Bryan, Texas, who in more than four decades in the breeding game has given the racing world the likes of Quick Brew ($97,956), A Run Run Runaway ($146,185) and 2011 All American Futurity (G1) runner-up Jess Send Me ($361,595). Dashboard Light was a race winner while spending most of her career in the allowance ranks around Arizona. She is by American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame stallion Special Effort and out of the Dash For Cash mare Assured To Dash.

Assured To Dash was herself unraced, but her family’s speed speaks for her producing ability. Assured To Dash is out of the Little Request (TB) mare Miss Assured, a stakes winner at Los Alamitos. Sent to the broodmare band, with her second foal Miss Assured produced the Duplicate Copy colt Assured Copy, who ate up four stakes in Southern California, and also placed in the likes of Osage Rocket’s Kindergarten Futurity and Anecdote’s Golden State Futurity, while earning $98,630 in his career.

That was just a warm-up for Miss Assured, who with her ninth foal hit a grand slam home run in the form of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Streakin Six. The son of Easy Six blasted onto the racing scene in 1979, and would win or place in 16 of 19 career starts while earning $473,934. Those included wins in the Rainbow Futurity and New Mexico State Fair Handicap, and second-place runs in Pie In The Sky’s All American Futurity and Alamitos Feature’s World’s Championship Classic. He went on to sire the earners of more than $17.3 million, “assuring” his place in the annals of American Quarter Horse history.

Miss Assured also produced stakes winner State Of Mind (by Easy Jet, $41,703). From this immediate family also comes the likes of All American Futurity finalist Why So Easy ($99,879), multiple stakes winner Perrys Runaway ($205,597) and stakes winner Expert A Go ($15,373).

Miss Assured is a half sister to Derussa (by Moolah Bux (TB)), dam of champion Go Derussa Go (by Go Man Go, $178,221). This immediate family also produced, among others, stakes winners El Banko ($232,393), Halfway High ($92,338), Whirling Cleat ($89,266), Be Assured ($54,029), Brianas Dashin Dream ($49,124), Lucky Brother ($37,694) and BCR Jet Wrangler ($29,635).

On a more sobering note, the sibling victories by Misty River Dancer and Sammi Santanna also mark a nice weekend for trainer Weidner. A year ago this month, Weidner and girlfriend Lindsay “Sky” White, who in addition to her work at the racetrack is also a talented trainer of three-day eventing horses, lost almost everything they owned in the devastating F5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma. In addition to their personal belongings, tack and equipment, and truck and trailer, they lost 12 horses – nearly their entire stable was wiped out.

The one horse left to them was Pat Kreig’s Track A Tac, a Tac It Like A Man gelding who raced for her M&M Racing Stables and had been moved to Canterbury Park in Minnesota just before the tornado hit. Considering the utter devastation, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Weidner and White decided to give up, but through strength of will and the support of family, friends and the racing industry, they have rebuilt their businesses from the ground up.

“The group of owners we have now are so supportive and so fun for us to work with,” said Weidner. “I can’t come out and thank everybody that helped, there were so many people who came to our aid and helped us out with equipment, horses and everything. A lot of people put us back on the road to do this, and with all the support we had to get back in business, my family told me I couldn’t get out of the business now – all these people are invested in you, you have to go out there and go win. Having so many people believe in me helped me get through it. ”

Last summer, the sole member of their stable won for them only a few weeks after the devastating event, and, as other horses, including Sammi Santanna and Misty River Dancer, began refilling the stable, won again a few months later before becoming an even more special member of their barn.

“Pat ended up giving us (Track A Tac) for Christmas,” Weidner says. “We got a Christmas card with a signed transfer in it. He’s our horse now, and he’s going to be an eventing prospect when he gets done running.”

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