In the Blood: Little Lenas Cat

Little Lenas Cat won the Transwest NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association Denver Nationals Open Championship on June 25. He was ridden by Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Kenny Platt. They scored a 222, earning $3,388 for owner Valerie Gove. Little Lenas Cat (Smart Little Lena x Cassies Kit Cat x High Brow Cat) was bred by the Gilbert Cattle Co.

Smart Little Lena shows up in multiple generations of so many pedigrees today, which indicates his significance as an important ingredient in Western performance horse bloodlines. But Little Lenas Cat’s win brought back memories of Smart Little Lena when he was in his prime and how that made him the important sire and grandsire he is today.

Little Lenas Cat’s pedigree features one of the magic crosses that helped Smart Little Lena become an important sire. It also showcases that magic cross in reverse.

Sire Line

Smart Little Lena • Photo by John Brasseaux

Smart Little Lena (Doc O’Lena x Smart Peppy x Peppy San) was the first horse to win the NCHA Triple Crown when he won the NCHA Futurity, Super Stakes and Summer Spectacular. He retired a legend in the arena, having earned $743,275.

Smart Little Lena then became a legend as a sire, eventually earning the title of all-time leading sire of cutting horse money-earners. He is still No. 2 on that list with get earnings of $42,198,950. His money-winners include Red White And Boon ($922,063), Smart Peppy Lena (PT) ($494,314), Justa Smart Peanut ($417,739) and Smart Play ($410,688).

Doc O’Lena (Doc Bar x Poco Lena x Poco Bueno), the sire of Smart Little Lena, was the 1970 NCHA Futurity Open Champion. His Equi-Stat sire record exceeds $15.5 million. In addition to Smart Little Lena, his leading money-winners are Tap O Lena ($502,145) and Lenas Dynamite ($265,325).

Smart Little Lena’s dam, Smart Peppy (Peppy San x Royal Smart x Royal King), was bred by Douglas Lake Cattle Co., the Canadian owners of Peppy San. She earned a modest $515 in NCHA competitions and 9 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Open and Youth points in cutting. Smart Peppy foaled Smart Little Lena first, and then she added eight more performers to give her produce earnings of $1,160,925, according to Equi-Stat. They include Smart Peppy Doc ($120,537), Oh How Smart ($199,779) and I’ll Be Smart ($77,739).

Smart Peppy shows the versatility of this female line through her daughters like Smart Hickory. Smart Hickory’s offspring have earned more than $615,000 in cutting, reining and reined cow horse. Her leading money-winner is Dox Smart Buy, with earnings exceeding $250,000 in cutting.

Peppy San (Leo San x Peppy Belle x Pep Up) was the Open Reserve Champion at the first NCHA Futurity in 1962 and the 1967 NCHA Open World Champion. Peppy San sired horses that won 10 AQHA World championships, four NCHA World championships and a National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity World Championship. His World champions include Peponita, who won five AQHA and NCHA World championships, and Royal Santana, an AQHA World Champion in the Youth and Amateur divisions. Peppy Par Three was the 1985 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion.

Royal Smart (Royal King x Moss’ Jackie Tobin x Wardlaw’s Tobin) was an unshown mare who was purchased by Matlock Rose for the Douglas Lake Cattle Co. to be a broodmare for Peppy San. She produced five foals by Peppy San including Royal Santana ($174,146), a full brother to Smart Peppy.

Dam Line

Cassies Kit Cat (High Brow Cat x Freckles Cassie x Colonel Freckles) was the 2012 American Cutting Horse Association (ACHA) Open World Champion and 2007 NCHA Super Stakes Amateur Co-Reserve Champion. She earned $64,956 in the arena. Her Equi-Stat produce record holds just two money-earners. Her leading money-winner is Hes A Hot Cat ($174,999), winner of the 2013 NCHA Super Stakes Open.

High Brow Cat (High Brow Hickory x Smart Little Kitty x Smart Little Lena) is well known for his success as a sire of cutting horses, but he is also a top 10 broodmare sire. His daughters have produced winners of more than $20 million. Some of his leading maternal grandget include NCHA Futurity Open Champions Rockin W ($329,722), Dual Smart Kitty ($317,758) and CR Tuff Hearted Cat ($276,864).

An added note: This gives Little Lenas Cat a breeding pattern of 1 X 4 to Smart Little Lena.

Freckles Cassie (Colonel Freckles x Doc’s Cassandra x Doc Bar) was the 1991 NCHA Super Stakes Amateur Co-Reserve Champion. She earned $12,787 in the arena. She is the dam of eight money-earners that have banked $100,078. Her second-leading money-winner is Smart Little Cassie ($17,953), a three-quarter sister to Little Lenas Cat, as both are by Smart Little Lena.

Doc’s Cassandra (Doc Bar x Mimi Warner x Lucky Blanton) was an NCHA money-earner of $27,918, earning her NCHA Certificate of Ability, and NCHA Bronze and Silver awards. She is the dam of horses with Equi-Stat records totaling $34,775. Her leading money-winner is Smarter Than Most ($14,239), another foal from this line of horses sired by Smart Little Lena.

The Magic Cross

Equi-Stat Elite $72 Million Sire High Brow Cat’s leading magic cross has been with Smart Little Lena mares. This cross has produced horses that have earned more than $9.1 million, with 173 foals averaging $52,637 in the arena. Cutters with this magic cross include Thomas E Hughes ($394,709), Pappion Cat ($379,815) and Im Catman ($295,599). These foals have a breeding pattern of 2 X 3 to Smart Little Lena.

Smart Little Lena’s AQHA sire record shows 50 foals with active performance records in 2017. Four of them are out of High Brow Cat daughters and have combined earnings of nearly $200,000. With average earnings per performer of almost $50,000, it looks like the mating of Smart Little Lena on High Brow Cat daughters – the reverse of the High Brow Cat/Smart Little Lena magic cross – has become a magic cross on its own.

Smart Little Lena died in 2010, leaving behind a powerful legacy as a cutter and a sire. Little Lenas Cat’s win at the Denver Nationals helps relive the legacy of this influential stallion.

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