Reigning National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion All Spice and trainer Adan Banuelos returned to the winner’s circle last weekend, taking the 4-Year-Old Open at The Cattlemen’s in a display of style and talent that has one of her owners seeing shades of one of the sport’s greats.
Gail Holmes, who owns the mare with Bobby and Dottie Hill in the Holmes and Hill Partnership, said All Spice’s win Sunday, March 7 – her first Open title since winning the NCHA Futurity – showed the mare isn’t just a “one show wonder.” She likened All Spice’s talent and style to that of great show mare and millionaire producer Stylish Play Lena, saying you can’t train a horse to do the unique things these two great show mares do.
“Her speed, her intelligence, her reach with her front legs are things that are not trainable,” Holmes said of All Spice, who marked a 224 to win in Graham, Texas. “She puts her front legs three feet in front of her chest, and that’s what Stylish Play Lena did. Comparing their styles is one thing that’s really been interesting for me.”
Holmes said All Spice (Once In A Blu Boon x Show Biz Kitty x High Brow Cat), who was bred by Royce Stallcup, has made every finals she’s shown at. The mare had $285,300 in earnings going into the Cattlemens, the majority of which came from the NCHA Futurity. In 2021, she took second in the 4-Year-Old Open at the Ike Derby and Classic and tied for fifth at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity. The mare and her trainer have meshed well and become quite the formidable team, Holmes added.
“I feel like [Banuelos] has so much confidence in that horse and she in him,” Holmes said. “He rarely works her at home, as far as showing cattle. He trail rides her. When you know you’ve got something that’s already trained, it’s more about keeping them sound and keeping them happy and mentally fresh. I think he’s as good as anybody in the business at doing that.”
The pair collected $18,000 for owners Holmes and Hill Partnership, pushing All Spice’s lifetime earnings past the $300,000 mark.
All Spice is a full or half-sister to five money-earners, including full brother Badboonarising ($354,782, by Once In A Blu Boon) and half siblings Rollz Royce ($353,872, by Dual Smart Rey), SS Blacks Lil Kitty ($187,137, by Duals Blue Boon), Show Biz Kit Kat ($123,575, by Mr Peppys Freckles) and Meant To B ($12,208, by Dual Rey).
Taking Reserve in the 4-Year-Old Open with a 221 were Aristo Sally (Smart Aristocrat x Playin N Fancy Peppy x Freckles Playboy) and John Mitchell. The duo banked $15,000 for owner/breeder Glade Knight.