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French N Fast

It’s been a whirlwind year for Linda Capazzoli—and it’s only January.

Linda is the owner of Freespirit Farms in Ocala, Florida, and breeder of French N Tonic, a 2010 buckskin solid gelding by Crownroyal Frenchman (QH) and out of In Pursuit Of Passion, who’s already seeing hot success on the futurity circuit this year.

“We didn’t expect this much success so early—he’s already earned more than $10,000—but we’re thrilled,” Linda said.

One of French N Tonic’s recent sweeps was January 2­­–4 at the Run for the Roses Futurity in North Augusta, South Carolina.

With trainer Craig Brooks aboard, French N Tonic ran a :14.32 to  finish third in the first go, returning to earn first in the second go with a :14.34 and clinch the top spot in the average standings. In total, the gelding won $3,254.

Video courtesy Michelle Johnson

French N Tonic shows no signs of slowing down, either. Linda says the gelding is planned to appear at the Lance Graves Pro Classic Futurity, Diamonds and Dirt Barrel Horse Classic and the Old Fort Futurity in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

“There’s just something about Fort Smith that’s pretty tough,” Linda said. “It’s been around forever, and you only have one chance to make it to the finals—one run to qualify, so you’ve got to go for it on your first run. It gets peoples’ nerves running pretty high.”

Though the arena is tough, Linda has high hopes for French N Tonic’s run during the race, which takes place May 17–24. She cites the gelding’s turning style and ability to run right to the first barrel without overshooting as an advantage in the larger pen.

In the future, Linda says her daughter, Michelle, hopes to rodeo French N Tonic. For now though, they’re busy soaking up the excitement of his fledgling year of competition.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” Linda said. “We knew he was bred for success and we picked the right person—we’ve been watching Craig for years—and got a good match. We’re so excited and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. It just feels like there’s something special about this horse.”

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Main photo by Morgan Henning, courtesy Michelle Johnson