Jessica Harms, April 12, 2015
Wright On For Stars Freckled Girl
Greg Wright and Stars Freckled Girl, by Metallic Cat, scored 217 points, as the next-to-last entry in the 16-horse John Deere Division of the Lucas Oil NCHA Super Stakes Open Finals, to claim the championship for owners Lincoln and Bonnie Clifton, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Wes Ashlock, aboard Gone Are The Times, by One Time Pepto, and Fons De Barbanson on Wild Starz, by Wilds My Thing, tied with the second-highest score of 216 points. Gone Are The Times and Wild Starz are owned by John and Jana Thacker and Nachos QHs, respectively.
Shut out by a renegade cow earlier in the Finals on High On Smarts, also owned by the Cliftons, Wright put his trust in his helpers and Stars Freckled Girl for the eleventh hour win, his first in Will Rogers Coliseum.
“We bought her from Phil Hanson last July, after the Derby,” said Wright. “They did a fabulous job with her. She was cutting when we bought her and we’ve just tried to keep her cutting.”
Shown by both Wright and Lincoln in the 2014 NCHA Futurity, Stars Freckled Cat placed with Lincoln in the Non-Pro Finals, as well as the Non-Pro Limited Finals; placed fifth with Wright in the Open Limited Finals; and earned $15,000 as an Open Semi-Finalist.
“I was a golfer and a friend introduced me to cutting horses,” said Clifton, a trucking company owner with ties to the oil industry. “My handicaps went from a 10 back to a 15, and the next thing I knew, I had about twenty head of horses and babies.”
Stars Freckled Girl, bred by Phil and Leah Hanson, is by Metallic Cat out of Badge To The Bone, a Freckles Playboy daughter with unique connections to the NCHA Futurity and the NCHA World Championships.
Badge To The Bone is out of Badge Of Courage, by Peppy San Badger. Bred by S.J. Agnew out of the Doc Bar daughter Tenino Fair, Badge of Courage was a full sister to Little Tenina $385,822, and three-quarter sister to Tenino San $144,658. Little Tenina was champion of the 1991 NCHA Futurity and 1992 NCHA Derby under Greg Welch, and Tenino San won the 1982 NCHA World Championship, also under Welch.
Wright began his career in California as a reined cowhorse trainer, before he switched to cutting. In 1992, he was reserve champion of the PCCHA Futurity aboard Lakotah Warrior, then won the championship in 1993 aboard Whisper Ofa Playgirl. After that, he struggled to stay competitive.
“I got strung out on dope – meth and crack,” said Wright, matter-of-factly. “But Shannon Hall and his family had a big play in getting me straight. After I went to rehab, I went to work for Shannon for two and a half years, and Shannon got me the job working for Linc.”
Lincoln Clifton is slated to show Stars Freckled Girl in the third set of Lucas Oil Super Stakes Non-Pro first go-round competition on Tuesday, April 14.