John Kratzer celebrated his biggest win at the Will Rogers Coliseum in style by winning the Kit Kat Sugar National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes 5-Year-Old Non-Pro with a big 225 aboard Babes Smart Cat.
“I’m kind of speechless,” said Kratzer, who earned $40,851 for the win Friday, April 16. “I’ve lived in California for a number of years and I have only been here for two or three futurities.”
Kratzer didn’t originally plan to show the WR This Cats Smart mare in the 5-Year-Old Non-Pro, but after Tatum Rice didn’t make the open finals with the mare, Kratzer went looking to buy a spot in the Intermediate Non-Pro. None were available in that class, but he did find one in the 5-Year-Old Non-Pro.
Not only did they win the 5-Year-Old Non-Pro, but earlier in the week Kratzer and “Babe” were the 5-Year-Old Amateur Reserve Champions with a 220, which was good for another $7,128.
“This week was a huge deal for me,” Kratzer said. “I showed four times, made two finals and two semi-finals.”
In a roundabout way, Kratzer’s destiny has always been connected to Babe’s. He originally bought her dam, Just U Babe, because she was a full sister to his outstanding show mare My Lizzy Babe (Lizzys Gotta Player x Moms Stylish Babe x Docs Stylish Oak), a career earner of more than $176,000 and a producer of more than $220,000.
Kratzer sold Just U Babe to Wagonhound Land & Livestock Company after an injury, but then bought Babes Smart Cat, who was her mother’s first foal.
“Babe has is unbelievable to ride,” he said. “I haven’t felt anything like that since My Lizzy Babe. Babe is really quick and reads a cow.”
Babe will join Kratzer’s broodmare band this year. He has plans to flush embryos from her this month to breed to Badboonarising, and then continue showing and adding earnings to her record.
“I’m pretty excited about what that could be,” he said. “My program is simple. I try to buy or raise mares and if they win $100,000 and are special, then we breed them. We only have three and with flushing that allows us to get four to five babies a year.”