Zak 34 and Justin Wright marked a 226 down the fence to win the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. • Photo by Molly Montag

In The Blood: Zak 34, Janie Wood & Sex-Linked Genes

Two of last year’s classic winners – Zak 34 and Janie Wood – offer an interesting study in pedigree patterns and the concept of sex-linked genes.

When you look at the pedigrees of National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion Zak 34 and Janie Wood, winner of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, you find they have some common pedigree ingredients. Specifically, they reverse the familiar pedigree patterns, and this signals how their pedigrees can be influenced by sex-linked genes, or those genes associated with the X and Y chromosomes that determine the sex of the foal. 

Before we explore the pattern, we will discuss the pedigree influences of each horse.

Zak 34

Bred by Center Ranch, of Centerville, Texas, Zak 34 won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open in October for owner Melissa Fischer and trainer Justin Wright. 

He is a son of Woody Be Tuff (Nitas Wood x Tuffs Junie x Tuff Lena), a cutting horse with earnings of $351,053 and career highlights such as Classic/Challenge wins at the Augusta Futurity and Cotton Stakes.

As a breeding stallion, Woody Be Tuff’s foals have earned over $7.2 million and he was recently named a million-dollar sire in the discipline of reined cow horse. His leading money winners include 2012 NCHA Open Futurity Co-Champion CR Tuff Hearted Cat (out of CR Cats Meow, by High Brow Cat) and his reined cow horse money winners include NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Reserve Champion CR Tuffles N Lace (out of Calie Del Rey, by Dual Rey).

Other influences in the sire side of Zak 34’s pedigree include:

  • The sire of Woody Be Tuff, Nitas Wood (Zack T Wood x Nitas Quixote x Doc Quixote), a cutting aged event finalist who went on to sire of horses that have earned over $6.5 million. The dam of Nitas Wood, Nitas Quixote, earned $34,755 and her foals have earnings of $144,784. 
  • Zak 34’s paternal great grandsire, American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Junior Cutting World Champion Zack T Wood (Doc Tari x Lintons Lady Doc x Mr Linton), earned $182,423 and sired the earners of more than $5.4 million. 
  • Woody Be Tuff’s dam, Tuffs Junie, was the 1994 Abilene Spectacular 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro Co-Reserve Champion and earned $46,656. She is the dam of foals that have taken home $1.2 million, including the late NCHA Open Horse of the Year Junie Wood.  
  • The broodmare sire of Woody Be Tuff, Tuff Lena, was by Doc O’ Lena and out of Misty Pop (by Pop Up). He earned $11,723 and sired the winners of $375,055. As a broodmare sire, his grand-get have earned $1.6 million and the first four on this list are sons or daughters out of Tuffs Junie: Junie Wood ($541,993), Woody Be Tuff ($351,063), Wood She B Tuff ($101,079), Double Tuff ($95,021). 
  • The second dam of Woody Be Tuff, Candy Quixote, is an unshown mare by Doc Quixote and out of Battle Due (by Battle Town) and the dam of only two Equi-Stat money earners: Tuffs Junie and Tuffs Wild Red, a winner of $4,908. This second cross to Doc Quixote gives Woody Be Tuff and his full siblings a breeding pattern of 3 x 3 to Doc Quixote. 

Zak 34’s mother, Cat Digs Lucinda is an unshown mare by High Brow Cat and out of Lenas Lucinda (by Doc O’Lena), and is the dam of horses that have earned $314,665 with Zak 34  ($165,321) being her biggest money winner. In addition to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, Zak 34 won the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association Pre-Futurity Open. Her second-leading money winner is CR Tuff Digs Lucinda, a cutting mare earning $71,333 as a multiple aged event finalist including at the 2016 NCHA Futurity Open. 

Zak 34 and Justin Wright won the Futurity Open at the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association Pre-Futurity. • Fletch Photo.

Lenas Lucinda earned $161,760 and is the dam of foals that have earned $898,612, including her big money winner SPL Altisimo the 1995 Steamboat Springs 4-Year-Old Non-Pro. The dam of Lenas Lucinda was Krissie Moon (Moon Crystal x Ready Wave x Cold Wave).

Janie Wood

Janie Wood (Stevie Rey Von x Junie Wood x Nitas Wood) was bred and owned by Slate River Ranch and shown by John Mitchell. In addition to her Open exploits, she and ranch owner Glade Knight made in the Futurity Non-Pro semi-finals and were seventh in the Senior Non-Pro, adding to her show total of $248,231.

Stevie Rey Von (Metallic Cat x Miss Ella Rey x Dual Rey) was the 2015 NCHA Open Futurity Champion. His first foals reached futurity age in 2021 and his early futurity money winners included El Rancho Futurity Open Champion Lily Von Shtupp.

Stevie Rey Von’s Sire, Metallic Cat, 2008 NCHA Open Futurity Champion and the 2009 NCHA Horse of the Year with earnings of $637,711. The stallion (High Brow Cat x Chers Shadow x Peptoboonsmal) has sired the winners of more than $48 million.

The dam of Stevie Rey Von, Miss Ella Rey, is a daughter of Dual Rey and out of Huggs Olena (by Smart Chic Olena). She earned $378,668 and is the dam of horses that have earned more than $1.4 million, including 2005 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Purple Reyn, a full sister to Stevie Rey Von.

Janie Wood’s dam, Junie Wood, is a full sister to Zak 34’s sire, Woody Be Tuff, as both are by Nitas Wood and out of Tuffs Junie (by Tuff Lena). In addition to being named Horse of the Year, Junie Wood was also the 2013 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Champion. The foals of Junie Wood have earned more than $387,326, with Janie Wood being her leading earner. The other top money-winning foals for Junie Wood include Lil Ricky (by Meteles Cat), winner of the Brazos Bash Derby Non-Pro Reserve Championship, and Ethell (by Metallic Cat), winner of the NCHA Classic/Challenge Intermediate Non-Pro Senior Championship.

Influences & Sex-Linked Genes

One of the ongoing things a breeder has to be on the lookout for is outcross blood. This is important today because of the success of the great High Brow Cat, who is the all-time leading sire of cutting horses, along with sons like EquiStat Elite $48 Million Sire Metallic Cat and now grandsons like Stevie Rey Von become more concentrated in the gene pool. We also have a lot of Mr San Peppy influence in the industry through his descendants like Dual Rey and Peptoboonsmal, which both appear in the pedigree of Stevie Rey Von

When we looked at the pedigrees of Zak 34 and Janie Wood, we see that Woody Be Tuff and his full sister Junie Wood provide that outcross blood to those lines: Junie Wood provides her outcross blood from the mare’s side of Janie Wood’s pedigree and Woody Be Tuff provides his outcross blood on the sire’s side of Zak 34’s pedigree. 

This brings us to the sex-linked genes or genes that are passed down or associated with the X and Y chromosomes. Woody Be Tuff provides a male sex-linked influence of his genes and Junie Wood provides a female sex-linked influence of her genes. 

2021 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Janie Wood. • Photo by Molly Montag.

The same goes for the blood of High Brow Cat. We have Stevie Rey Von providing a male influence on the pedigree and Cat Digs Lucinda a female influence on the pedigree when it comes to sex-linked genes. This is an interesting factor in the pedigrees of these two individuals and, depending on which side of the pedigree the blood of the full brother and sister appear, determines how they influence the pedigree through the sex-linked genes. 

This is just one example of how the position of a horse in the pedigree will determine some of its influence on the foal produced and that is a key factor in your ability to read the pedigree.