By Sonja Eschenburg – Los Alamitos Publicity
Henry Craig, an Oregon-bred gelding originally named after a character in the 1982 Australian drama film Man from Snowy River, has been one of the leading 2-year-old Quarter Horses in the Pacific Northwest. Henry Craig will now look to make his mark in the Golden State when he competes in the $118,200 Wild West Futurity on Sunday at Los Alamitos.
The sorrel gelding is owned and was bred by Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing, owned by Cedric Hayden (left). Hayden, although best known for his position as an Oregon State Representative, has also made a career racing Quarter Horses for the past 20 years. Hayden’s love for horses stems back to his family roots, growing up on his parent’s farm. Hayden said, “We grew up adopting wild mustangs from Oregon’s Beauru of Land Management. One thing led to another and eventually we settled on Quarter Horses. They are an overall great breed to work with.”
Initially, Hayden and his brother sparked a mutual interest in competing Quarter Horses at local racetracks. The two co-owned and operated Hayden Brothers Ranch, a Quarter Horse breeding and racing program. By 2010 however, Hayden’s brother essentially managed the breeding and he the racing, eventually forming Cedar Creek Tree Farm Ranch and Racing. Hayden said, “This separation allowed [me] to entirely manage [my] program’s bloodlines.”
Hayden kept three of the broodmares from their original program, but also chose to enhance his lineage by venturing south to the annual yearling sale here at Los Alamitos Race Course. According to Henry Craig’s trainer, Hector Magallanes, “[Henry Craig] comes from a line of horses than can run.”
A son of One Sweet Jess, Henry Craig is out of Hayden’s mare Copa Show Girl, by Corona Cartel. Copa Show Girl has previously provided two other half-brothers to Henry Craig who also still remain undefeated. So far, Henry Craig has remained undefeated in six career starts, two of which were stakes race wins. The gelding won the Pot O’ Gold Futurity earlier this spring and then went on to also be victorious in the $31,500 Firecracker Futurity held at Grants Pass Down this past July. Henry Craig won the 350 yard Firecracker Futurity in 17.877 seconds, and left that day with a purse of $12,600 and total life earnings of nearly $25,900.
While Eulices Gomez is the jockey riding Henry Craig at this weekend’s Wild West Futurity, Eduardo Gutierrez-Sosa has ridden him in four of his five previous starts. “When I started working with him he was really good. He is [consistently] professional and runs really fast,” Gutierrez-Sosa said.
Hayden said, although Henry Craig shows potential there is still always room for improvement. He said, “He is used to tracks in Oregon where the grand stands are much smaller and there are no night races. He is still a little distracted when he comes out of the gate [at Los Alamitos,] but I expect him to still be just as competitive.”