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Playboys Ruby in action in the cutting pen. • Photo by Don Shugart.

From The Archives: Playboys Ruby

Proving time and time again she could hang with the boys, Playboys Ruby gave eventual multi-million dollar rider Phil Rapp some of his first big wins. 

Sired by Freckles Playboy and out of Lenachick (by Doc O’Lena), Playboys Ruby earned a healthy $268,441 in the show pen before producing nearly $2 million in progeny earnings and becoming one of the top Western performance mares of all time.

Bred in 1987 by Terry Riddle and Joe Ayres of Holliday, Texas, Playboys Ruby was trained and ridden for the majority of her career by EquiStat Elite $9 Million Rider Phil Rapp, who purchased her as a yearling. 

“She was the first really great horse I got to show,” Rapp told Quarter Horse News (QHN) after the mare’s death in late 2011. “She taught me how to train a horse like Tap O Lena and consequently, go from there. She had a charisma and a spunk that was just unique to her.” 

Rapp’s Cutting Machine 

Rapp and Playboys Ruby advanced to the semifinals in both the Open and the Non-Pro at the 1990 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity. 

In 1991, the team seemed to hit their stride, winning the NCHA Super Stakes Derby Non-Pro and finishing eighth in the Derby Open, collecting more than $43,000. Although the last cow Rapp cut was only worked for a few seconds, he told QHN after the class that it was enough for he and Playboys Ruby to secure the win. 

“The third cow was spectacular,” Rapp told QHN in 1991. “I had tried to cut her earlier. I was lucky the way it worked out. I was second here the previous two years (in the Classic Non-Pro). It was kinda nice to come back and win it.”

Playboys Ruby and Rapp earned nearly $140,000 in 1991, according to EquiStat. In 1992, the pair returned to the NCHA Super Stakes, winning the Classic Non-Pro for $16,183. 

While many riders stick to one division, Rapp – who was a non-pro rider at the time but has since become one of the sport’s top professional riders – alternated between the Open and Non-Pro on Playboys Ruby, often picking up checks in both. When the mare retired in 1995 as a seven-year-old, she had $268,441 in earnings to her name. 

A Barn Full of Winners

According to EquiStat, Playboys Ruby has 21 earners who have amassed $1,924,297 in winnings. Four of her progeny are a part of the $200,000 club, and several daughters have gone on to produce competitors that dominated the cutting and reined cow horse arenas. 

Playboys Ruby’s leading earner is Jack Ruby (DNA), a 1995 gelding by Dual Pep who earned $257,779 in the cutting pen. Jack Ruby (DNA) posted checks for twelve years, earning a Reserve Championship at the 1999 Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Derby Open with Matt Gaines and advancing to the Classic/Challenge Open finals at the 2001 NCHA Summer Spectacular. The gelding finished out his career frequenting the weekend circuit with long-time owner Mary Cavanaugh. 

Ruby Tuesday DNA (by Peppy San Badger) earned $218,916 in cutting before following in the matronly footsteps of her dam. Producing 33 performing foals totaling $1,458,357 in progeny earnings, Ruby Tuesday DNA’s leading earner is the late stallion Hydrive Cat (by High Brow Cat), who earned $416,708 and became an EquiStat Elite $5 Million Sire. 

Another Playboys Ruby daughter who proved remarkable in the breeding barn is Ruby Bagonia (by Peppy San Badger), who earned $114,255 and produced more than $870,000. Her most notable foal to date is Rubys Radar (by One Time Pepto), a 2010 stallion who won the 2021 inaugural The Run For A Million Invitational Fence Work Challenge with rider Zane Davis, and has total lifetime earnings of $259,439 to rank as the eighth-richest reined cow horse of all time in EquiStat.

Playboys Ruby was owned by Phil Rapp until 2006, when she was sold to Waco Bend Ranch of Graham, Texas. She passed in 2011 at the age of 24, after battling founder that set in after a stall injury. When medical treatments at a vet clinic didn’t improve her conditions, she was brought back to the Rapp Ranch and turned out with longtime pasture mate Tap O Lena for her finals days before being humanely euthanized.

Her legacy is carried on through her producing progeny and decendants, as well as a clone named Ruby Too (DNA).