45th Annual Old Fort Days: A Little Fame in Fort Smith

Records were set at the 45th Annual Old Fort Days Futurity and Super Derby by horses carrying the bloodlines of all-time leading all-around barrel horse sire Dash Ta Fame.

Photographs by Jeff Homan

Records were set at the 45th Annual Old Fort Days Futurity and Super Derby by horses carrying the bloodlines of all-time leading all-around barrel horse sire Dash Ta Fame.

Going into the historic 45th Annual Old Fort Days Futurity, held May 16-21, 2022 in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the arena record was a 16.250 set by Jets Heart N Soul. The Blazin Jetolena gelding out of Mistys Dash Of Fame, by Dash Ta Fame, was ridden by Jolene Montgomery to the 2019 Super Derby Championship.

They broke the previous record of 16.283 set by Fame Fox Kirk, the 2001 Super Derby Champion ridden by Martha (Wright) Jordon that brought national acclaim to Dash Ta Fame bloodlines.

Pedigree Power- Best Barrel Racing Bloodlines in the Game

In the 2022 5-Star Equine Products Derby Trials, Smoothway Ta Heaven, ridden by Kristin Hanchey for Tracey Williams, shattered the arena record with a flawless 16.148. The 5-year-old bay roan mare known as “Mouse” delighted the crowd in Sunday’s 25-head Finals with another spectacular run of 16.220 as the last horse to run. The victor’s share of the 138-entry Super Derby was $24,945. Watch the Finals run here.

Bred by Larry Ammons, Mouse is by Blings Smooth Guy, a son of the late Frenchmans Guy son A Smooth Guy out of the late, great Fame Fling N Bling, by A Streak Of Fling out of Short Penny, by Dash Ta Fame. Ammons co-owned Bling with Stephen McDonald, whose niece Sarah Rose (McDonald) Waguespack, made the mare famous as an American Champion and multiple National Finals Rodeo qualifier.

Sarah Rose McDonald: Bling’s Legacy

Mouse is out of the Jud Little-bred Cash Ta Heaven, a daughter of Dash Ta Fame’s leading son JL Dash Ta Heaven, and out of Paid To Cash, a daughter of Cash Not Credit out of the great youth mare Paid To Boogie, by Jet’s Pay Day.

Smoothway Ta Heaven, by Blings Smooth Guy and out of Cash Ta Heaven by JL Dash Ta Heaven, was ridden by Kristin Hanchey for Tracey Williams to the 5 Star Equine Products Super Derby championship and $24,945. Hanchey and “Mouse” set two Old Fort Days arena records in the process.

The Jud Little program also produced Derby Reserve Champion License To Kill, ridden by Jolene Montgomery for Little’s daughter Mattie Jackson. Montgomery and “Cersei” just missed qualifying for the Finals through the Trails by .124 so they came back gunning for one of the top five Derby horse spots in the Consolation. Their 16.802 was the fifth fastest of the Derby horse in the Consolation, which bumped them in as the last horse in the Finals.

Montgomery, who won the 2010 Old Fort Days Futurity on Cersei’s sire JL Dash Ta Heaven, brought the heat at first gunner out with a 16.238, which ended up being the third fastest time ever run during the Old Forts Days Futurity & Super Derby. The second-place finish on the daughter of Jackson’s pro rodeo winner Buggin To Kill, by Flit To Kill, was worth $9,146.

5 Star Equine Products Super Derby Reserve Champion License To Kill, ridden by Jolene Montgomery for the late Jud Little’s daughter Mattie Jackson.

The Montgomery-JL Dash Ta Heaven connection didn’t end there. Montgomery’s sister-in-law Molli Montgomery took the Hart Farms Futurity Championship aboard the JL Dash Ta Heaven gelding TRHeavensIlluminated for Tracy Lambert. The victory was worth $43,460.

“Cyrus” was a 16.995 to be the 19th fastest qualifier in the 325-entry Futurity Trials. Running last on the ground in their set of three for the Finals, Molli and Cyrus took an insurmountable two-tenth lead with a16.330.

It was the third futurity title for Cyrus and Molli Montgomery. They’d previously won the Lone Star Shootout Futurity in January and the Select Stallion Stakes Futurity in March.

Hart Farms Futurity Champion TRHeavenIlluminated and Molli Montgomery.

Bred by Harry Thomas, Cyrus is out of his two-time WPRA Reserve World Champion and multiple champion producer TR Dashing Badger, better known as “Dolly,” ridden by Jill Moody.

The Futurity Reserve Championship went to another second-chance qualifier through the Consolation. DeeJay, ridden by Hilary Ellingson for Shelley Cannon, was the fastest futurity horse in the Consolation with a 16.833 and set the pace in the Finals as the fifth horse to run with a 16.578.

Bred by Bo Hill and Jeff Switzer, DeeJay is by their Dash Ta Fame son Famous Bugs out of the Lanes Leinster mare Lois Lane DJ. He is a three-quarter brother to 2019 National High School Rodeo Finals Barrel Racing Champion TW Lane Ta Fame, ridden by Macee McAllister.

Hart Farms Futurity Reserve Champion DeeJay ridden by Hilary Ellingson for owner Shelley Cannon.

Top 5 Hart Farms Futurity

1. TRHeavenIlluminated (18G, JL Dash Ta Heaven x TR Dashing Badger, Mr Illuminator), Molli Montgomery for Tracy Lambert, $43,460

2. DeeJay (18G, Famous Bugs x Lois Lane DJ x Lanes Leinster), Hilary Ellingson for Shelley Cannon, $19,557

3. JL Dear Abby (18M, JL Sirocco x Abbey Nick Bar x Dr Nick Bar), Craig Brooks for Janet Dykes, $10,865

4. French StreakOfFame (18M, Streakin Boon Dox x Famed French Kiss x Dash Ta Fame), Ashley Schafer for Joe and Carla Spitz, $8,692

5. Three Spin Doctor (18G, No Pressure On Me x Streakin Silver Creek x A Streak Of Fling), Angel Miller for Lisa Thomas, $7,062

Top 5 5-Star Equine Products Super Derby

1. Smoothway Ta Heaven (17M, Blings Smooth Guy x Cash Ta Heaven x JL Dash Ta Heaven), Kristin Hanchey for Tracey Williams, $24,945

2. License To Kill (16M, JL Dash Ta Heaven x Buggin To Kill x Flit To Kill), Jolene Montgomery for Mattie Jackson, $9,146

3. SBW Copy Cat (16G, Blazin Jetolena x SX Dr Peacharita x Dr Nick Bar), Blaise Bercegeay, $7,383

4. VQ Nonstop Stinson (17M, Eddie Stinson x Honor This Nonstop x Mr Honor Bound), Kelsey  Treharne for Jeffrey Varner, $5,820

5. Mr Repete Pete (16G, French Streaktovegas x Repete Fame x Dash Ta Fame), Jodee Miller for MR Performance Horses, $3,326.

Noteworthy

  • Of the 70 head running in the Old Fort Days Futurity & Super Derby Finals, 43 carried the blood of the all-time leading barrel horse sire Dash Ta Fame, including both champions and the seven fastest qualifiers in the Futurity.
  • Blazin Ta Betty, the fastest qualifier in the Futurity Time Trials, is a full sister to 2021 WPRA World Champion Famous Lil Jet. Kelsey Treharne rode Busby Quarter Horses-bred daughter of Dash Ta Fame out of the Blazin Jetolena, Lady Perks mare Blazin Black Betty, to a 16.553 for the mare’s owner Tesha Fredericks.
  • JL Dash Ta Heaven and his sire Dash Ta Fame each had four qualifiers to the Futurity Finals.
  • JL Dash Ta Heaven had six qualifiers total including two to the Super Derby Finals. His daughters produced two qualifiers—one in each Finals, including the Super Derby Champion.
  • The Old Fort Days Futurity is one of the three richest futurities for 4-year-old horses only. The other two are the BFA World Championships and the OKC Futurity.
  • The Old Fort Days Super Derby is only open to 5- and 6-year-old horses that were paid in full to the Futurity as 4-year-olds. Several of the horses in the Derby Finals, including two in the Top 10—CoronasLucky TwoNite and Blazin Babe Olena—were actually 5-year-old futurity horses this year.
  • French Streaktovegas had the most qualifiers in the Super Derby Finals at four. He also had one qualifier in the Futurity Finals.
  • Famous Corona, a daughter of Southern Cartel out of the Wire Ta Wire, a full sister to noted barrel horse sire Zippy Zevi Dasher, by Dash Ta Fame, produced a qualifier in the Futurity and Derby for the Henning family. With father Joel Henning as the owner and breeder, Famous Last Wordz, by One Last Story, went to the Futurity Finals with daughter Morgan, while SocksNotHavingACorona, by BHR Frenchies Socks, carried daughter Regan in the Derby.
  • National Finals Rodeo qualifier Repete Fame had a qualifier in both the Futurity and Super Derby. The Dash Ta Fame mare, bred and owned by Danyelle Campbell, produced her Futurity finalist Remade InTheShade, by leading Brazilian sire El Shady Zorrero. Repete Fame also produced defending Old Fort Days Super Derby Champion MR Repete Pete, by French Streaktovegas, ridden by Jodee Miller.
  • Multiple champion SX Dr Peacharita produced a qualifier in the Futurity and Super Derby as well. The daughter of Dr Nick Bar, out of SX Frenchmans Peach, who had the fastest qualifying time at the 1998 Old Fort Days Futurity with Kelly Yates, produced futurity finalist SBW Heavenly Peach, ridden by Brian Wheeler and SBW Copy Cat, ridden by Blaise Bercegeay in the Super Derby.
  • Craig Brooks had the most qualifiers in the Futurity Finals with three head—JL Dear Abbey, 3rd; No Pressure On Diamonds, 22nd; and Ta Heavens Gift, 43rd.
  • Jodee Miller had three of the 25 horses in the Super Derby Finals—Mr Repete Pete, 4th; MR Vegas Fame, 9th; MR Smashed In Vegas, 24th. She also had one qualifier in the Futurity—MR Billie The Kid, 33rd. All were by French Streaktovegas. MR Smashed N Vegas was last year’s Futurity Champion and MR Repete Pete was last year’s Derby Champion.

Barrel Racing Magazine will feature an in-depth, one-on-one interview with Hart Farms Futurity Champion Molli Montgomery in the coming week, stay tuned!

About Tanya Randall

Tanya Randall is an award-winning equine journalist and avid barrel racer. After graduating from Texas A&M University, Randall has spent the past 25 years extensively covering the sport of barrel racing, from winning bloodlines to horse health care and everything in between. In her spare time, she enjoys raising and training horses with her husband Matt, an equine veterinarian, and serving as hockey mom for their son Colton.