Thursday, October 14, 2010

Smart Little Lena Clones to Sell

written by QHN Staff (John Brasseaux photo)

Smart Little Lena
Four clones of Smart Little Lena have been consigned to the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity sale, according to Smart Little Lena Clone Co-Manager Jimmy Bankston. The 4-year-old stallions will sell during the NCHA World Finals Sale at the 2010 NCHA Futurity, on either Dec. 3 or 4. They’ll be auctioned back-to-back.

“These are good lookin’ horses,” Bankson said. “They carry the genes of the greatest cutting horse that ever lived and we’re looking forward to presenting them to the public.”

The four Smart Little Lena clones are part of a group of five cloned in 2005 by researchers at Texas A&M University. One clone passed away due to complications of a cancerous tumor, according to Bankston. All four other clones, he added, are healthy and produce viable semen.

Indeed, it’s this ability to pass on Smart Little Lena’s genes that buyers might find attractive about these horses. According to the experts, genetics material contributed by a clone of a male horses is identical to the original, as the mitochondrial DNA is not passed on in the breeding process. This means an offspring of a Smart Little Lena clone carries the exact same genetic material as an offspring of the original Smart Little Lena. However, any foals by the Smart Little Lena clones cannot be registered with the American Quarter Horse Association.

As for why the clones are being sold, Bankston explained that the group of clone owners was "not operating as a cohesive unit," and that selling the horses will enable each one of them to receive individual attention and be promoted.

“That’s what they deserve because they are very special horses,” Bankston said. “Smart Little Lena was a one-of-a-kind stallion, both as a performer and as a sire, and these clones have the ability to pass on those legendary genetics. Also, they’ve [the clones] gotten a lot of attention and someone wants to have one just as a pasture ornament, as something special to add to their horse inventory.”

Smart Little Lena (Doc O’Lena x Smart Peppy x Peppy San) was bred by Hanes Chatham and purchased as a 2-year-old by Bill Freeman. The stallion and Freeman won the 1982 NCHA Futurity and then went on to top the 1983 NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby, along with the 1984 The Masters Cutting. With very little showing, Smart Little Lena retired with $267,085 on his record, according to Equi-Stat, a statistical division of Cowboy Publishing Group.

Over the next three decades, Smart Little Lena built an amazing record as a sire. He fathered approximately 2,300 registered foals (Quarter Horse and Paint and half earned money. According to Equi-Stat, there are 1,312 money-earning offspring that have posted $39 million (this figure does not include weekend money earned in 2010). The leaders are: Red White And Boon ($922,063), Smart Peppy Lena (PT) ($494,314), and Justa Smart Peanut ($417,739).

Smart Little Lena’s foals went on to construct their own impressive records. His sons sired 5,697 money-earning foals that have so far won $67 million, a list topped by Chiquita Pistol ($552,591), Im Countin Checks ($514,757), Our Little Dyno ($422,199) and Smart Spook ($374,025). On the maternal side, Smart Little Lena’s daughters have thus far produced 1,805 money-earning babies that have put $45 on the books. His best maternal grandfoals are: Dual Rey Me (785,558), Redneck Yachtclub ($506,627), Third Cutting ($415,819) and Pappion Cat ($379,815).

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This is fascinating to me. Barry and I were just talking about how this is the first year for a clone to show at a Futurity. I cannot wait to see him and see how he compares to the original. One clone, of Docs Serendipity, sold at a futurity sale a few years ago, as a yearling if I recall correctly. I was excited to see how she would be received, and made my plane reservations to make sure I was there to see it. She did not bring a huge amount--$13K or so, I think--but I believe she also had a spot on her eye. I believe that ultimately did cause her problems. But this year, there is a clone showing that is right on track, so some history is going to be made.

Now this is added. Im more than a little frustrated that these clones will sell the week before I get to Ft Worth--I cannot justify taking more time off of work just to see it. Hopefully, I will be able to watch the sale online, but that is a poor substitute for being there and feeling the energy of the crowd. There is not much I like more than the adrenaline of a good sale. I know there have been a lot of problems with the ownership of these clones since before they were even on the ground, so it kind of makes sense to just be done with it all, but it still makes me a little sad.


Venom said...

Given the human capacity for deceit, manipulation, and profiteering, I am not so sure cloning of anything living is at all a good idea.

However, it could be the ultimate experiment in nature vs. nurture, couldn't it?

Character and personality, at least to some degree, are shaped by experience, opportunity, and training.

SLL was brilliant, but will her clones be brilliant also?

If the SLL-lite versions are not brought up well and trained expertly with attention to all detail, the end result could be paler imposters not worth having.

On the other hand, they may be treated and trained and treasured as the rareties that they are and go on to greatness.

It remains to be seen.

Thank you Paige, as one who cannot attend these big dos, I'm grateful for your pictures and stories.

Anonymous said...

Venom gives thought provoking thoughts to the whole idea of cloning in her first paragraph.

Horse Student says---you have been 'teaching' me a horse is a 'pet' and therefore displays 'human qualities"----

so-------time will tell.
enjoy the weekend----carol

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