By Tanya Randall
Blazin Black Jet (“Oprah”) stepped up to the plate for an ailing Ryan Lovendahl to win the $5,000-added Red Desert Classic, June 13-15 at the Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, Wyo. The 5-year-old daughter of National Finals Rodeo sire Blazin Jetolena out Canadian Champion Lady Perks, by WPRA World Champion sire Dash For Perks, turned in two solid runs to win the average and $3,092.
“Going up there in the condition I was in, I was pretty stoked to have that mare step up and run like she did,” said Lovendahl, who rides and trains for Jeff and Andrea Busby of Busby Quarter Horses in Brock, Texas. “She’d been coming on here lately. We thought her full sister would be the winner and I’m glad she’s stepped up and won one. There were a bunch of really tough horses there.”
On the Monday before the futurity, Lovendahl was injured while tuning on his nephews rope horse that had been jumping the barrier. Unfortunately, the disaster they were working to prevent happened.
“He jumped pretty high and the barrier ended up wrapping around his front leg and flipped him,” Lovendahl said. “The first thing to land on the ground was my face and the horse landed upside down on top of me. He was trying to get up and he was kicking me in the back of the head, tore my knee and shoulder. I thought he had broke my neck to be honest. We got to take a little ambulance ride. Luckily nothing was broken, and hopefully, I don’t have to have anything repaired in my shoulder or knee.
“I’m chalking it up to prayer. Honestly when I hit the ground I was way more hurt than I ended up being hurt. I was pretty lucky.”
Luckily, Oprah demonstrated her grasp of Lovendahl’s training program and made his job easy.
“She’s really a pretty solid, honest kind of mare,” he said. “I had told Andrea, ‘Man she’s feeling so solid, right now. She’s warming up like an open horse.’ Andrea said, ‘Oh sure, the first futurity that I don’t go to, you’re going to win it.’ KC said, ‘I’d be okay with that!’ and we all kind of laughed about it.”
At Rock Springs, Oprah placed third in the first go and fourth in the second to win the average.
“I hardly had to do anything to her warming up,” he said. “I just loped some circles and she felt really good so I just sent her in there asking her for everything she was worth. She just hung in there and made two super solid, consistent runs and was pretty easy to ride.
“Thankfully, Oprah did her job and I was just along for the ride.” He also noted that her owner Jeff is especially pleased since Oprah was his favorite from the time they purchased her as a yearling from her breeder Grant Little.
“When Jeff and Andrea went to Grant Little’s to look at horses, he said that Oprah was the one that kept coming up and loving on him and being so personable,” Lovendahl said. “So he’s always had a soft spot for her.”
Lovendahl wanted to thank the Busbys as well as KC Groves for all their help and support.
“I have to give a shout to KC for always being there and helping me with the training end of things,” said Lovendahl—Groves also jump rode the Busby’s stallion Feature Attraction, a full brother to Andrea’s rodeo horse Shawne Feature, at Rock Springs. “I also have to give a big thank you to Jeff and Andrea Busby for supplying us with some really nice horses to ride and being so supportive. They’re awesome, awesome to ride for. We are excited; these are the first horses out of the program that we’ve been building. I feel like we’ve come up with some pretty nice colts this year. I think we would have had an even better year without the bad luck.”
Initially, Lovendahl figured the start of his 2015 futurity crop would be Oprah’s twin embryo Blazin Black Beauty (“Betty”).
“We had high hopes for Betty,” he said. “She had been a half-second faster than Oprah and then she ended up sustaining an injury in exhibitions in her very first futurity so I haven’t got to compete on her. She’s going to be sidelined for a little while, so I’m glad that Oprah stepped up and won a futurity.”
Oprah, too, had to have little time off after sustaining a minor injury at the Arizona futurities, and didn’t really start her 2015 campaign until April in the Northwest. She placed at Walla Walla and Idaho Falls before Rock Springs. Next on the agenda is the inaugu- ral Colorado Classic in Colorado Springs.
“Pretty much the same entries that were at Rock Springs are headed over there so it will be pretty tough,” said Lovendahl. “This will be the first futurity that anyone has had to run outdoors on a standard pattern. It will be really fun to watch. I’m kind of excited because that’s where my colts were trained and I know they’ll like it outside. Obviously things could change when you get there and you never know with these babies.”
Following Colorado Springs, Lovendahl is going to take a little break to travel to the rodeos with Andrea Busby before gathering the futurity horses back up to get ready for the lucrative fall futurities.
Despite the bad luck, Lovendahl is pretty pleased to be back in the futurity game after nearly a four year absence, and he has some very promising horses for the years to come.
“We’ve got a big breeding program in the works with some really stout bloodlines,” he said. “This is a pretty fun way to start out with a win and getting some money won.”
Red Desert Classic
June 13-15, 2014, Rock Springs, WY
1) Blazin Black Jet, Ryan Lovendahl, 31.519, $1,286 09 br. m. Blazin Jetolena-Lady Perks, Dash for Perks
2) Ts Cinch Ta Fame, Jill Atkinson, 31.660, $1,080 09 b. g. Dash Ta Fame-Shez Sucha Snap, Sir Cashanova
3) Dan I Am Famous, Vauna Walker, 31.897, $926 10 ch. g. Dash Ta Fame-Indebtedmiss, Debt Relief
4) Sugsperfectiontafame, Sydney Surin, 31.938, $720 10 s. f. Dash Ta Fame-Zans Sugar Chick, Zans Parity
5) Sl Crusade For Cash, Lynn Kohr, 32.001, $514 09 pal. g. Dashing With Cash-Sun Crusade, Sun Frost
6) Sassy Seis, Cody Hyde, 32.019, $360 09 br. g. Tres Seis-Lotta Proud, Proudest Effort
7) Famous Empress, Margaret Jones, 32.044, $257 09 gr. m. Mr Fancy Fame-Wyo Empress, Wyo Grand Prize
Futurity 1st Go
1) Sl Crusade For Cash, Lynn Kohr, 15.769, $1,248 09 pal. g. Dashing With Cash-Sun Crusade, Sun Frost
2) Pocketfullofcandy, Amanda Harris, 15.781, $1,048 09 s. m. Slim Fittin Jeans-Kirks Bita Kandy, Form Ten Ninty
3) Blazin Black Jet, Ryan Lovendahl, 15.783, $898
4) Ts Cinch Ta Fame, Jill Atkinson, 15.794, $699
5) Famous Empress, Margaret Jones, 15.795, $499
6) Dan I Am Famous, Vauna Walker, 15.883, $349
7) Sugsperfectiontafame, Sydney Surin, 15.986, $250
Futurity 2nd Go
1) Tuneful, Kali Jo Parker, 15.336, $1,248 09 gr. m. Bono Jazz-Thinking Dash, Pritzi Dash
2) Shake Em Red, Ashley Shafer, 15.487, $1,048 09 s. g. Royal Shake Em-Frenchmans Red Rose, Frenchmans Guy
3) Ima Girl On Whiskey, Brenda Sims, 15.709, $898 09 br. m. Easy Move Whiskey-Ima Bonnie Jo, Lenas Sonny Boy
4) Blazin Black Jet, Ryan Lovendahl, 15.736, $699
5) Ts Cinch Ta Fame, Jill Atkinson, 15.866, $499
6) Sassy Seis, Cody Hyde, 15.885, $349
7) Guys R A Mystery, Tami Semas, 15.928, $250 09 pal. Frenchmans Guy-Disarray, Dash Ta Fame