photo by Cam Essick
The Western performance sire High Brow Cat has sold. The sale of the 25-year-old industry-leading sire was completed privately for an undisclosed purchase price. Jack Waggoner, Bridgeport, Texas, sold the stallion to Colt Ventures, a Dallas, Texas, investment company owned by Darren and Julie Blanton.
Colt Ventures is a familiar name in the investment world, playing major roles in the biotechnology, oil and natural gas industries. The Blantons have been involved with the cutting industry for more than 10 years and their horses have won $1.4 million.
“This stallion is a true rarity and there’s no doubt that he’s a legend, in every sense of the word,” Blanton said. “This is a remarkable opportunity and I am honored to now be part of High Brow Cat’s life and legacy.”
Texas cutting horse trainer and longtime friend Jason Clark connected the seller with the buyer.
"Jason and I worked together to figure out this deal, and I cannot think of a better person with whom I'd like to be involved with on the future of this special, special stallion,” Blanton said, adding that Clark will have an equity interest in this venture going forward.
Waggoner purchased the stallion in 1988 from breeders Hanes Chatham and Stewart Sewell as part of a package deal that included the colt’s mother.
“This new ownership is the culmination of the right group of friends that understand and bear the responsibility of upholding the future opportunities in breeding the best performing athletes available,” Waggoner said. “I’ve spent nearly a quarter-century with High Brow Cat and those have been the best years of my life. But now I’ve got some health concerns and it was just time, time to let this special horse continue on with a new owner who could put the time, investment and energy into the High Brow Cat brand.”
Colt Ventures also purchased Waggoner Ranch’s property, horses, equipment and the remaining inventory of High Brow Cat’s frozen semen.
Blanton made it clear that little will change with the stud, and that he will do everything possible to ensure the horse’s continued good health and longevity. All re-breeds and mares booked already for 2013 will be honored and Blanton explained that he and his team are determining how many outside mares will be considered in the future.
“Because the supply of semen is definite, we are going to preserve the legacy the best we can by only breeding the most proven producing mares and the top show mares in the industry,” Blanton said.
The stallion will continue to stand at Weatherford Equine Breeding Facility in Weatherford, Texas, under the care of Dr. Justin Ritthaler.
Blanton has assembled a group of industry experts to help maintain the horse’s legacy. They will also aid Blanton in the management of the daily operations that go along with owning this successful stallion. In addition to Clark and Ritthaler, Blanton’s team includes longtime friend and financial advisor Chad Bushaw, Milt Bradford of Western Bloodstock and equine legal specialist Lew Stevens.
"For as long as I've known Darren, he has always been a great visionary on trends in business, with an uncanny ability to spot them and react to them long before they are common thinking,” Bushaw said. “I think his involvement with High Brow Cat will be yet another example."
Blanton intends to sell more than 100 head of Waggoner-branded horses, both privately and at Western Bloodstock auctions. Blanton also plans to sell Waggoner's beautiful Bridgeport, Texas, ranch.
“I understand that I have a legacy to maintain and that owners of High Brow Cat foals are depending on me to make sure the stallion is well cared for and marketed in the best way possible,” Blanton said. “I want to assure everyone that my heart and soul are invested in the cutting horse industry and that I’m here to stay.”
High Brow Cat (High Brow Hickory x Smart Little Kitty x Smart Little Lena) performed in cutting competition from 1991 through 1995, earning $126,252.
A remarkable 67 percent of his Quarter Horse and Paint offspring have won money in the show pen. High Brow Cat has sired 1,323 foals with $58 million in earnings – 166 of which boast records above $100,000.
An unprecedented seven High Brow Cat foals have won NCHA Futurity Open Championships in the past nine years, along with five Reserve Open Championships. At NCHA “Triple Crown” events – the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Summer Spectacular – High Brow Cat offspring have won $18 million.
High Brow Cat was named NCHA/American Quarter Horse Association Sire of the Year for 10 consecutive years and his daughter Dont Look Twice is cutting’s all-time leading mare with $764,637 in earnings.
“As a sire, High Brow Cat is the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the American Quarter Horse,” Blanton said. “Timing is everything. It was Jack Waggoner’s life's work to create, develop and preserve High Brow Cat and the legacy of his offspring. I could not be more proud and satisfied to own such an amazing individual.”