woody-be-tuff
With a final bid of $1.3 million, stallion Woody Be Tuff topped the 2021 Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Bull Market? 7-Figure Stallion Tops Strong NCHA Futurity Sales

How high will horse prices go?

Only time will tell, but the sky seemed to be the limit at the 2021 Western Bloodstock National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Sales. The sales, which ran Dec. 6-11 during the NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas, reported 619 horses selling for a whopping $39,040,000, which is an average of $63,069. 

The sales topper was EquiStat Elite $7 Million Sire Woody Be Tuff, who sold for $1.3 million as part of the Center Ranch Dispersal, with the next-highest sellers at the multi-day sales bringing $700,000; $600,000 and $600,000. According to Western Bloodstock’s official results, 81 horses in the sale brought six figures.

As the sales neared its conclusion, Western Bloodstock owner Jeremy Barwick said he began to wonder if prices would eventually began to taper off.

“But it never did,” he said. “It stayed strong from start to finish.”

The last of the year’s major Western performance horse bloodstock sales, the Futurity Sales capped off a year that saw six-figure sales at many of the year’s major auctions.

In July, the Mid-Year Cutting Horse Sale – fueled by the Rocking P Production Sale – saw several six-figure sales, topped by $225,000 purchase, Metallic Cincin. The Fults Ranch Absolute Reduction Sale, which was held in August and dispersed the majority of bloodstock holdings of Alvin and Becky Fults, saw bidding reach $725,000 on its top offering.

“I think we had the biggest crowd we’ve ever had, especially on Monday morning,” Barwick said of the NCHA Futurity Sales. “I mean, the 2-year-old sales, we always get a good crowd for the 2-year-olds but it’s on Monday and Tuesday and a lot of people are at work, but that building was pretty full.”

Stallions

Woody Be Tuff was the highest-selling stallion, as well as the top seller overall with a final bid of $1,300,000 from Ty Smith, agent for Melanie Smith.

Melanie Smith, owner of Solo Select Horses LLC, said the 2001 son of Nitas Wood and out of Tuffs Junie (by Tuff Lena) was exactly what she’d be looking for in her program. Prior to the sale, she thought he’d bring even more than he did.

“He’s has so many [offspring] do well in the cow horse and so many do well on the cutting, and they’re big enough that a lot of people rope on them, and that just fits our program perfectly,” said Smith, who partnered on the stallion with Kaleb Terlip. “So, it was kind of a no brainer when [the opportunity to buy him] came up.

“He was exactly what we wanted, even with his age [20], because of all the frozen semen he had.”

With the addition of Woody Be Tuff, Smith now has two breeding stallions – the other is Metallic Cattack, a 2015 son of Metallic Cat and out of Quilena (by CD Olena). She’s also partnered with Trevor Brazile and Miles Baker on Dirty Fling, a son of Metallic Cat and out of an A Streak of Fling mare Smith said will be pointed toward rope horse futurities.

She previously stood Hired Gun (by Playgun) and also owned two young Western performance horse stallions: Automatic Cat, a son of Smooth As A Cat whose first foals were born in 2018, and Metallic Malice, a son of Metallic Cat whose first foals turn 3 next year.

Smith, who buys and sells horses through her Solo Select, typically owns around 30 broodmares of her own. Between her own herd and outside mares, she believes Woody Be Tuff will be bred to a few hundred mares the next breeding season — utilizing both fresh semen as well as the reserve of frozen semen using ICSI.

Because Woody Be Tuff is one of only a few elite Western performance horse stallions that are not a descendent of all-time leading cutting stallion High Brow Cat and also does not have influential sires Peptoboonsmal or Dual Rey in his pedigree, Smith expects demand for the horse to grow as time goes on.

She believes that could be especially true for horse breeders looking for an outcross for their successful daughters sired by High Brow Cat‘s leading son at stud, NCHA Futurity Open Champion Metallic Cat.

“All those Metallics are getting to where the big crops of them are starting to age out of the aged events, and now they’re all going to have to be broodmares,” Smith said of the stallion, who will stand at Lazy E Ranch. “So, I think it’s perfect timing, which is where we really are going to see this horse kind of come to life again, just because there’s going to have to be something to breed those mares to.”

Other notable breeding stallions offered at this year’s NCHA Futurity Sales included two from the dispersal – Dualin Boon ($14,000 bid) and CR Highlight ($69,000) – as well as Reydioactive, a son of Dual Rey and out of Stylish Play Lena (by Docs Stylish Oak) who brought a bid of $33,000.

2-Year-Olds

The 2-year-olds were among the hottest tickets at the sale, and the horse that brought the highest bid of them all was Hip No. 1011, Panchita Cat. Consigned by Todd Nelson, the 2019 daughter of High Brow Cat brought a high bid of $700,000 from Teton Ridge.

Out of the mare Aprils Playboy Bunny (by Freckles Playboy), Panchita Cat is a half sister to the winners of $66,673. Her dam’s leading earner is Dualys Playboy Bunny, a 2004 mare by Dual Pep with lifetime earnings of $31,733.

Teton Ridge also was the high bidder on the co-second-highest 2-year-old, Purdy Smooth Talker, a 2019 mare who is a daughter of the Western lifestyle brand’s stallion, EquiStat Elite $1 Million Sire Smooth Talkin Style. Consigned by Oxbow Ranch as Hip No. 1059, Purdy Smooth Talker is out of $89,132 winner Purdy Bet (by Bet On Me 498) and brought a final bid of $600,000.

Chantel Murphy is listed as the winning bidder of another 2-year-old who brought a bid of $600,000, Spanish Nights, a 2019 mare by Metallic Rebel and out of Lil Bit Reckless (by CD Royal). The mare is a half-sibling or better to the winners of $412,452, including 2020 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Champion and recent Non-Pro Horse of the Year Fiddle And Steel (by Metallic Cat).

Broodmares

The highest-selling broodmare at this year’s NCHA Futurity Sales was CR Sun Reys, a 2008 mare by Dual Rey and out of Play Peek A Boon (by Freckles Playboy) who was part of the Center Ranch Dispersal and brought a bid of $550,000 from Rocking P Ranch, LLC.

Owned by Bobby Patton and the home of EquiStat Elite $48 Million Sire Metallic Cat, Rocking P Ranch also had the second- and third-high selling mares, NCHA Futurity Open Co-Champion CR Tuff Hearted Cat and a third mare from the Center Ranch dispersal, Sweet Metallic.

“Looking at that program that Finis had put together and the successes within his program, it’s a unique opportunity to be able to pick up these broodmares out of that program and carry on part of Finis’s and Center Ranch’s legacy,” Patton said in a statement.

NCHA Futurity Open Co-Champion CR Tuff Hearted Cat is by Center Ranch’s stallion Woody Be Tuff and out of CR Cats Meow (by High Brow Cat). Plans are for her and CR Sun Reys to be bred to Metallic Cat.

Sweet Metallic is by Metallic Cat and out of EquiStat Elite $2 Million Dam Sweet Abra (by Abrakadabracre). As such, Sweet Metallic is a full sister to Metallic Rebel and the winners of almost all of her dam’s progeny earnings.

“Knowing that we could never cross her to Metallic Cat, but also looking at our breeding program that we’re trying to put together, how can we overlook her,” said Patton’s representative Debbie Roberts. “One, she’s part of Metallic Cat’s legacy. Two, anything out of Sweet Abra has just been that, no pun intended, ‘magic’ cross for so many horses, and we just felt like it was just a huge opportunity to be a little bit more diversifiedin growing our breeding program.

Yearlings

Rocking P also took home the highest-priced yearling, Wendy Darlin, a daughter of Dual Rey and out of Eazee E (by High Brow Cat) consigned by T Bar K Cutting Horses. The 2020 mare, who is a full sister to NCHA Futurity Open Champion and NCHA Open Horse of the Year Crey Zee ($448,151), is a sibling to the winners of $668,861.

Wendy Darlin brought a bid of $500,000.

Wendy Darlin, $550,000. • Photo by Molly Montag

Second amongst the yearlings was Hes Never Rebelous, a 2020 stallion by Metallic Rebel and out of Never Reylinquish (by Dual Rey). Consigned by Bill Wolf, he sold for $220,000 to Billy Wolf, this time acting as agent, according to sale results.

The third-highest priced yearling was Hip No 4012, Stylin Black Cat, a son of High Brow Cat and out of Stylin Playgirl (by Docs Stylish Oak) who brought a bid of $200,000 from Roger and Stephanie Clark. Consigned by Clint and Debby Matthews, the 2020 stallion is a half-sibling to the winners of $364,638