At the second running of the Masterpiece Challenge on November 2, Hesa Sweet First Down struck a sweet victory for a $15,960 paycheck.
Owner Carol Vann Stacy of Warner, Oklahoma, bred the 2010 sorrel solid gelding, who is by Sweet First Down (QH) and out of Emilys Valentine. She says the Masterpiece at the Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, marked the conclusion of Hesa Sweet First Down’s racing career, but she hopes he’ll go on to become a competitive barrel racer.
“He’s just special, that’s all there is to it,” Carol said. “This was a grand finale for him.”
The total purse this year was $38,000. Hesa Sweet First Down finished the 400-yard run in :19.78, just half a length ahead of second-placed Laus Deo. The race brought Hesa Sweet First Down’s lifetime earnings to $55,698.
Laus Deo, a 2010 solid sorrel mare by Awesome Chrome and out of Shero, was second. Lajollas Mr Big Stuff, a 2010 sorrel tobiano gelding by Royal Quick Flash and out of MCM Evelyn Lajolla, finished third.
The Masterpiece began in 2012 as a way to add incentives for owners of 3-year-old Paint and Appaloosa racehorses. Horses must be invited to the Masterpiece and enrolled in the program to run in the race.
This year, 10 horses qualified to run, nine of which were Paints. Currently, 29 horses born in 2011 are enrolled in the program and have potential to qualify for the 2014 race. With growing interest and sponsorship in the program, the Masterpiece Challenge offers an exciting opportunity for owners of 3-year-olds to continue their horses’ racing careers.
“I’ve had a wonderful time here,” Carol said. “I wanted to thank the Paint Horse association for putting this on and getting this program started.”