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Bannister leads Sunday night’s Wild West Futurity field; undefeated Henry Craig installed as 3-to-1 second-favorite

October 21, 2016     E-mail this page to a friend!

Bannister (#5) wins the $69K Beehive Futurity at Weber Downs in Ogden, Utah, on May 20. Bannister is the morning-line even-odds favorite to win the Wild West Futurity on Sunday night.
(photo by Robert Cooke, Jr.)
Trainer Monty Arrossa liked everything about Bannister when he saw the dashing Maknmoves gelding at the Heritage Place Sale last year. “I didn’t have an owner for him at the time, but I liked him so much that I decided to buy him anyways,” Arrossa said.

It didn’t take long for Bannister to catch the eye of Arrossa’s longtime client, owner Denny Weigt.

“He said, ‘I’ll take him,’ “Arrossa explained. “I really liked the horses’ family. It included some excellent horse like Sky Chicks, Dutch Schultz, and Spike It And Fly.”

Bannister headlines the $118,200 Wild West Futurity on Sunday night, October 23, and has proven to be an excellent acquisition for both Arrossa and owners Denny and Sandy Weigt.

Bred by Nancy Yearsley and J. Garvan Kelly, Bannister is one of the favorites after posting the fastest qualifying time to the Wild West and in runaway fashion after winning his trial in 2¼ lengths on October 2.

(Note: go to for the complete trials report.)

Bannister is no stranger to fast times or winning races. He’s won five of seven starts and was the fastest qualifier to the John Deere California Juvenile Challenge before running third in the final on August 20. The gelding was not happy that missed out of the winner’s circle photo after the John Deere California Juvenile.

“When he came back after running in the final, the groom started walking him back to the barn,” Arrossa said. “Bannister was not happy at all. He started tugging on the chain and wanted to go in the opposite direction. He wanted to go to the winner’s circle to have his photo taken. He wasn’t happy that he lost that race.”

The winner of the $69,000 Beehive Futurity earlier this year, Bannister has a chance to make amends when he leads a 10 horse field in Sunday’s main event. To be ridden by Tony Guymon, Bannister starts from post #2.

The field also includes Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing’s unbeaten Henry Craig, as he’ll be going after his third futurity win. The One Sweet Jess gelding has drawn the outside post number 10, while looking to score his sixth win in as many starts. Hector Magallanes will saddle the Oregon-bred.

Trainer Jere Brinkerhoff will saddle two solid contenders in the Wild West headed by trial winner Oh So Fancy Fancy, which the trainer owns. Also sired by One Sweet Jess, the California-bred filly was second in the $40,000 Intermountain Futurity last month and was a solid half-length trial winner to this race. Jesus Canalas will ride Oh So Fancy Fancy from post number four. Brinkerhoff will also saddle his Buckshot Cartel, which ran second to Henry Craig in the trials.

Henry Craig looks to remain undefeated in Wild West

Story by Sonja Eschenburg, Los Alamitos Race Course

Henry Craig, an Oregon-bred gelding originally named after a character in the 1982 Australian drama film Man from Snowy River, has been one of the leading 2-year-old Quarter Horses in the Pacific Northwest. Henry Craig will now look to make his mark in the Golden State when he competes in the $118,200 Wild West Futurity on Sunday at Los Alamitos.

The sorrel gelding is owned and was bred by Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing, owned by Cedric Hayden. Hayden, although best known for his position as an Oregon State Representative, has also made a career racing Quarter Horses for the past 20 years. Hayden’s love for horses stems back to his family roots, growing up on his parent’s farm. Hayden said, “We grew up adopting wild mustangs from Oregon’s Beauru of Land Management. One thing led to another and eventually we settled on Quarter Horses. They are an overall great breed to work with.”

Initially, Hayden and his brother sparked a mutual interest in competing Quarter Horses at local racetracks. The two co-owned and operated Hayden Brothers Ranch, a Quarter Horse breeding and racing program. By 2010 however, Hayden’s brother essentially managed the breeding and he the racing, eventually forming Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing. Hayden said, “This separation allowed [me] to entirely manage [my] program’s bloodlines.”

Hayden kept three of the broodmares from their original program, but also chose to enhance his lineage by venturing south to the annual yearling sale here at Los Alamitos Race Course. According to Henry Craig’s trainer, Hector Magallanes, “[Henry Craig] comes from a line of horses than can run.”

A son of One Sweet Jess, Henry Craig is out of Hayden’s mare Copa Show Girl, by Corona Cartel. Copa Show Girl has previously provided two other half-brothers to Henry Craig who also still remain undefeated. So far, Henry Craig has remained undefeated in six career starts, two of which were stakes race wins. The gelding won the Pot O’ Gold Futurity earlier this spring and then went on to also be victorious in the $31,500 Firecracker Futurity held at Grants Pass Down this past July. Henry Craig won the 350 yard Firecracker Futurity in 17.877 seconds, and left that day with a purse of $12,600 and total life earnings of nearly $25,900.

While Eulices Gomez is the jockey riding Henry Craig at this weekend’s Wild West Futurity, Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa has ridden him in four of his five previous starts. “When I started working with him he was really good. He is [consistently] professional and runs really fast,” Gutierrez-Sosa said.

Hayden said, although Henry Craig shows potential there is still always room for improvement. He said, “He is used to tracks in Oregon where the grand stands are much smaller and there are no night races. He is still a little distracted when he comes out of the gate [at Los Alamitos,] but I expect him to still be just as competitive.”

Top races and stakes wins in TRJ—The Racing Journal territory

#1, Alegendinmytime—$10K Bitterroot Juvenile (Sdy), $116K Mile High Futurity (ArP)

#2, Bannister$69K Beehive Futurity (Wbr), $118K Bitterroot Futurity (Sdy), $45K Los Alamitos Juvenile Challenge (LA)

#3, Bos On Time—$118K Bitterroot Futurity (Sdy)

#4, Oh So Fancy Fancy$64K Hadley/Giles Futurity (Wbr), $40K Intermountain Futurity (Elk)

#5, Stellur—$16K Roche Equine Futurity (Jrm)

#6, Jess Klas—has not competed in a stakes race while racing at LBT, Wyo, One, and LA

#7, Buckshot Cartel—$61K Dixie Downs Futurity (DxD), $8K White Pine Quarter Horse Futurity (Ely)

#8, Queen Of The Cartel—$23K Rocky Mountain Spring Classic Futurity (PoD)

#9, Stolin Diamond—$10K Bitterroot Juvenile (Sdy)

#10, Henry Craig$29K Pot O’ Gold Futurity (SuD), $32K Firecracker Futurity (GrP)