Sierra Racing Takes Chariot Championship
Paint Me A Winner and Tall Hero earn the first titles for owners Kelly and Kyle Cook and driver Larry Sanders.
By Larri Jo Starkey | March 26, 2016
In 22 seconds flat, two brown geldings pulled their way to the first division championship March 27 during the World Champion Cutter and Chariot Racing Association World Championships in Ogden, Utah.
Under the colors of Sierra Racing, Paint Me A Winner and Tall Hero scored the first world championship for owners Kelly and Kyle Cook of West Haven, Utah, and the first world championship in the premier division for veteran driver Larry Sanders.
“It’s too exciting,” Kelly said. “I didn’t think we were going to win because the other teams were so good. We’ve had to race really hard all the days. We weren’t a layout team, and we raced our tails off. I’m just really proud of our team. They were up against two extremely tough teams. Very professional, very tough, and anybody could have won.”
Paint Me A Winner is a 2011 brown gelding by PYC Paint Your Wagon and out of My Girl Jessie by Mr Jess Perry. He was bred by Donald J. Friesen of Henderson, Nevada. Paint Me A Winner was a Grade 1 finalist and has lifetime flat-track earnings of $53,697 and a record of 20-3-3-2. His dam, the 2003 sorrel Mr Jess Perry mare My Girl Jessie, is out of the First Down Dash mare First Dashetta. My Girl Jessie won four of her 10 track starts, including the 2005 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity (G3), earning $129,948.
“I bought ‘Hero’ out of the Oklahoma sale when he was a yearling and then Paint Me A Winner, I got him from Ruidoso from Jed Vane down there,” Kyle said. “I claimed him, and this is his first year in chariots. They’re 5.”
Tall Hero is a 2011 brown gelding by Valiant Hero and out of Shiv Katall by Shazoom. He was bred by Bob Moore Farms LLC of Norman, Oklahoma.
In 12 starts on the track, Tall Hero had three wins and earnings of $8,953.
Shiv Katall is an unraced 2007 homebred for Bob Moore Farms by the stallion Shazoom and out of the Strawfly Special mare Lipstick Kiss.
The Cooks were going to scratch the team, but when a horse on their other team became injured, the 5-year-old geldings in their first year got the call to represent Sierra Racing.
“We thought, ‘Let’s go have fun with them and see what we can do,’” Kyle said. “They’ve been running really well.”
Sierra Racing #1 earned their way to the world championships through the Nebo Association, winning the state championship in their division.
Sanders is a 30-year veteran of the chariot circuit who has been driving for the Cooks for about six years.
“He’s a neighbor,” Kyle said. “They live right down the street from us. Their whole family is just wonderful.”
Sanders wanted the middle gate, exactly the position he drew with the team of Jenson, Ropelato & Padgett on his right and Gibson & Wright on his left.
“Larry yesterday was saying, ‘I hope I draw the middle gate,’” Kyle said. “These horses run really good when there’s horses on their sides. They eyeball them and proved it today.”
Jesus Virgin conditions the horses for the Cooks.
“He was very instrumental in this win,” Kyle said. “He needs to be commended.”
Ultimately, the credit goes to the horses, Kyle said.
“We do everything we can, but it’s the horses and the driver,” he said. “They got out really good today. They left there like a rocket ship.”
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