All American: Early Morning Rising

The likely All American favorite is home grown.

AQHA Media

Annette and Mark McCloy bred and race MM Fourinthemorning. PHOTO: Richard Chamberlain

It’s 4 in the morning. Do you know where your kids are?

Mark and Annette McCloy do. He’s in Blane Wood’s barn at Ruidoso, getting ready to go to post – most likely as the favorite – in the $3 million All American Futurity (G1).

We’re talking about Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner MM Fourinthemorning, a sorrel gelding by Mr Jess Perry out of the winning Corona Cartel mare Easeful Dinastia ($28,509).

“We raised him,” Annette said. “Blane bought the mare for us at Heritage Place in Oklahoma City. We never saw her until she came home. Mark bred her to Mr Jess Perry. He’s a January colt. You know how it is with foaling mares: We checked her at 3:30 and she was standing up, and at 5:30 there was a baby. So we marked it 4 in the morning.”

It was an auspicious birth. His mama is Easeful Dinastia, who was bred by the late John Andreini of San Mateo, California, and she is as blue-blooded a mare as they come. A daughter of No. 2 all-time leading sire Corona Cartel, Easeful Dinastia is out of the champion Tolltac mare Dinastia Toll BRZ, and is a half-sister to champion and leading sire FDD Dynasty, who has sired the earners of more than $16.8 million, and the winning Fishers Dash mare Brazilian Dasher ($98,060), who is the dam of the champion Apollitical Jess stallion Apollitical Blood ($1,519,800) and three other stakes winners. Easeful Dinastia has produced three winners from four starters.
The new baby was by Mr Jess Perry, who died in 2017, and will be inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2019. A champion runner on the track and the No. 3 all-time leading sire in the sport, the stallion has sired the earners of more than $54 million, including 2010 All American Futurity winner Mr Piloto. For this year’s All American, Mr Jess Perry is represented as the sire of two qualifiers, including Badhabit Jess, and also is the second sire of three additional qualifiers: Apocalyptical Jess, Im Jess Special V and Lynnder 16.

 “Let me tell you, when we found that little guy standing there that morning, he made the prettiest baby pictures of any foal you’ve ever seen,” Annette declared. “I can attest and share that. From the beginning, he was always bigger and stronger than everything else – and a little aloof, if you know what I mean. He knew he was special.”

The McCloys ranch at Tatum, New Mexico, where they kept “Fourinthemorning” in a pasture with other colts.

“There were probably five boys out there together, and the girls – the fillies – were in another pen,” she said. “He was a little aloof. He wasn’t always the one out there jumping and kicking, but NO, nobody ever picked on him. He was the boss, he’s the man.”

In May, MM Fourinthemorning went to Blane Wood’s training ranch near Lubbock, Texas, where the yearling was prepped for the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

“Mark wanted $150,000 for him,” Annette said. “I didn’t ever want to sell him.”

The two looked at each other and laughed.

“But we’re in the business to sell horses,” she said.

Mark acknowledges the issue.

“You look at all the horses out there, and all the good horses are bred just as well as he is,” he said. “What are the chances of him making 150- or 200-thousand dollars, with no other expense in him?”

Pretty slim, to be honest.

“So that’s why I had 150 on him,” Mark said. “And he didn’t bring anywhere near that. They bid $50,000 and we PO’d him.”

“We were so disappointed in the price,” Annette said. “It was not a choice.”

Choice or not, it certainly has worked out better than they ever expected. MM Fourinthemorning is the first stakes winner bred by the McCloys. With champion jockey Ricky Ramirez in the irons for each race, the gelding debuted in the May 26 trials to the Ruidoso Futurity (G1), where he finished seventh in the trial won by fellow All American qualifier Im Jess Special V. The gelding has yet to be defeated since, winning his July 6 Rainbow Futurity trial and then the $1 million final on July 22.

In the All American trials, MM Fourinthemorning won the 12th heat on the second day by a dominating 2 1/4 lengths over stablemate George W 43.

“He was in the 3 hole, and Blane had another horse there beside him – ‘George W,’ ” Mark said. “I felt pretty good about the way George W would probably break, and I felt pretty good about the way we’d break. I didn’t think they’d get in a big conflict right there, but George W gave us a helluva race for about 350 yards. But then Fourinthemorning just pulled away. All along, I was just hoping for good weather, nothing like that mess the day before.”
“We’ve been very blessed this summer,” Annette said.

They have worked for it. The McCloys run a small operation, Mark said, “with about nine broodmares, quite a few recip mares and babies.” The horses run out on 500 acres split into eight different pastures of native grass.

The McCloys also raised three daughters. Their oldest is Jana Mitchell, who has daughters Hollyn, 7, and Hadley, 4. (Annette: “They’re little rodeo stars.”) Daughter Sahala Gaillard has son Gus and daughter Sage. (“Gus was the junior national all-around cowboy and won the saddle bronc, too. He does everything but ride bulls. Sage runs barrels and poles and ties goats.”) Youngest daughter Holly McClain has children Pratt, Halle (pronounced Hallie, like actress Halle Berry ) and Miles. (“They don’t rodeo but they ride ranch horses. They play football and basketball and other sports.”) So the McCloys have much reason to be thankful.

“We just thank all our connections: Blane and Trey and Ricky,” Mark said.

“And Sandy,” Annette added, referring to Blane’s wife. “We couldn’t do it without them. They sale prep our babies, too. We live an hour and a half from Lubbock, so we love to go to Blane’s and watch them in the round pen and watch them lope, watch them in the gate. We’re just so fortunate that we’re close enough to see the progress from the beginning. We are just so very blessed.”