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Staraleno's' greatest triumph in the cutting pen came with Sandy Bonelli at the 1998 PCCHA Futurity/Cutting Stakes. They won the Futurity Non-Pro and were the Open Reserve Champions. • Photo by John Brasseaux.

Remembering Staraleno: Top-Notch Cutter, Producer & Friend

A respected competitor in her own right, the late Staraleno out-produced herself with generations of cutting and working cow horse progeny.

Staraleno resided at the Circle Y Ranch of Millsap, Texas, and was euthanized at 26 due to old age. Known as “Star,” the mare was loved by Circle Y Ranch co-owner Nancy Pearce.

“She was a complete sweetheart,” Pearce said of the mare, who died late last year. “She was always nudging you to see if you had a cookie.”

Foaled in 1995, Staraleno was bred by Danzey Treanor of Pasadena, California. Sired by Equi-Stat Elite $12 million stallion Grays Starlight and out of Doc O’Lena mare Mary Jay Lena, Staraleno was primed to compete in the cutting pen. 

Under the hand of Sandy Bonelli, Staraleno was the 1998 Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Futurity Open Reserve Champion and Non-Pro Champion, winning $50,571. She went on to become the Derby Non-Pro Reserve Champion at the 1999 Abilene Spectacular, winning another $14,112.

The last few years of her career, Staraleno was ridden by several members of the Hadlock family. She and Heid Hadlock-Evans earned the NCHA Western Nationals Non-Pro Reserve title. • Photo by Judy Spalding.

She also competed in the Open, Youth or Non-Pro with several members of the Hadlock family — including Lawson, Paige, Dax and Heidi (Hadlock-Evans). With Heidi aboard, Staraleno was the 2004 NCHA Western Nationals Non-Pro Reserve Champion.

She retired with $101,396 in earnings, and expectantly turned to the broodmare barn. 

Accomplished Mother

Staraleno’s progeny earnings stand at $487,565 with 12 performers. Her leading earner is Cattilion, a daughter of Equi-Stat Elite $85 Million Sire High Brow Cat. The 2001 mare Cattilion raked in more than $150,000 in earnings throughout her cutting career, including a $37,247 payday for a finalist appearance at the 2004 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open with Cara Brewer. 

Cattilion also carried Staraleno’s talented bloodline to another generation of Western performance horses, so far foaling the earners of $362,194, most notably: and include 2010 NCHA Derby Non-Pro Champion Harley ($208,422, by Spots Hot) and 2020 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) World’s Greatest Horseman Open Co-Reserve Champion Sparktilion ($120,223, by Shining Spark).

Other earners for Staraleno include Starz N Boon ($92,447, by Peptoboonsmal) and High Bobcat ($71,407, by High Brow Cat). 

Circle Y Ranch of Millsap, Texas, purchased Staraleno in 2012. Then 18, the mare produced an additional five money-earning progeny via embryo transfer — all sired by Circle Y’s stallion Im Countin Checks. Foals from that pairing with limited-age eligibility left are: Checka Khan (2015 mare), Im Countin Stars (2016 mare) , Checkmystarlight (2016 mare) and Countinbystarlight (2016 gelding).

Leisurely Retirement 

Staraleno  out her last years in the “geriatric” pasture at the Circle Y Ranch with 32-year-old pal and million dollar producer One Time Soon, who is best known as the mother of Equi-Stat Elite $18 Million Sire One Time Pepto (by Peptoboonsmal).

“I’m not sure which one took the role more of caretaker, Staraleno or One Time Soon. They were both constantly together in the pasture,” Pearce said. “They day we had to put Staraleno down One Time Soon stood there with her head hanging over Staraleno all day long. I would go out there and sit there with Staraleno and pet her and comfort her, and One Time Soon would stand there. I think she knew that it was time. It was a very sad day.”