May 20, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — The 2023 Old Fort Days Futurity and Super Derby is underway, and as always, barrel racing’s oldest and arguably most prestigious aged event was thrilling and historic. Catch up on all the action from Fort Smith here and on Barrel Horse News social media, and stream the final round May 20 at 11 a.m. CST (derby finals, futurity finals, 5-year-old futurity finals) live at 321actionvideo.com.

Scroll down for results, stories and updates from the Futurity and Derby Time Trials, Consolation Round and Finals.

—> Read more: Old Fort Days Champions and Times 1978-2022

From Fort Smith to Famous: Caroline Boucher Wins 2023 Old Fort Days Futurity on From Famous To Vegas

May 20, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — Caroline Boucher was overcome with emotion as she stood at the stalls in Fort Smith with her stout 4-year-old bay roan gelding From Famous To Vegas as he quietly munched on some well-deserved alfalfa after earning Boucher her first career Old Fort Days Futurity championship with a blistering 16.280, worth $38,150.

“Oh my gosh — I still have no words,” said the Montreal, Quebec, French Canadian who now resides in Aubrey, Texas. “I would never have thought about winning Fort Smith. My husband (Olivier Pelletier) was talking to Michael Boone the other day, and he was telling us how Fort Smith is a very good event, and I was not realizing that putting two horses in the finals [was such a big deal]. This morning I kind of realized, and I got a little nervous this morning, honestly, which is not something that happens a lot. I just ride; I never…I thought his best time here in my dream would be a 16.4 or 16.5. We did a 16.846 [in the time trials], and I knew I did safe with that time. I told Olivier, I think he can come back with a 16.5, but he needs a perfect run. When I looked up [at the clock above the alley after the run], the previous leader said 16.6, and then there was a 16.2 next to it. It cannot be a 16.2. It was crazy.”

—> Read more: Caroline Boucher’s Story and Launch To Success

“Duke” has his own place in the Fort Smith history books with the fastest time to win the Old Fort Days Futurity in the event’s history, also nearing the arena record of 16.148, set in 2022 by Kristin Hanchey in the Super Derby. Bred by Carole Lampron of Ontario, the recently gelded 2019 model out of the Dash Ta Fame daughter Famous Aunt Martha also became the third horse by French Streaktovegas to earn an Old Fort Days title in the past two years — Jodee Miller, owner of the late stallion, won both the Futurity and Super Derby in 2021 aboard two French Streaktovegas offspring, M R Smashed N Vegas and MR Repete Pete, respectively.

Caroline Boucher turns the first barrel in Fort Smith
Caroline Boucher rode From Famous To Vegas to her first career Old Fort Days Futurity championship with a blistering 16.280, worth $38,150, the fastest time to win the Old Fort Days Futurity in the event’s history. Photo by Tex Parsley Rodeo Photography

Boucher, who began training professionally in 2015, has owned Duke in partnership with her friend Marylene Menard of Quebec since he was a yearling. He was started under saddle by Pelletier before Boucher took over his barrel training. The gelding has done well this year with EquiStat earnings of nearly $25,000 from placing at several futurities and winning the Lucky Dog Productions Futurity and Breeders Challenge qualifier futurity championships in Memphis two weeks prior to Fort Smith.

The Old Fort Days victory offered the special chance for Boucher and Menard to share a win photo together.

“She came here [to the States] and told me last week, ‘I came to Memphis to see you win.’ And I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah, and then we win. Then we came here to Fort Smith, and she said, ‘I don’t want nothing less than taking a picture with a check.’ Because in Memphis, we didn’t take a win picture with the horse. And I was like, well, it’s Fort Smith. I’m not saying Memphis was easy, but it’s Fort Smith,” Boucher said with a laugh. “And now she’s like ‘You did it!'”

2023 Old Fort Days Futurity Final Results

Derby Domination: Pete Oen Makes History as First Rider to Win First and Second in Old Fort Days Super Derby

May 20, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — Pete Oen didn’t leave much for the rest of them in the Old Fort Days Super Derby finals, winning his first career Old Fort Days championship with a 16.360 for $21,733 on DR Famous Legacy and also finishing reserve for $7,969 with a 16.476 on Baptized By Fire. The champion and reserve champion titles marked the first time a rider has accomplished the feat in Old Fort Days history.

“I was shocked, and it wasn’t very long after that I asked Cindy Arnold, the BFA secretary, who was stalled in my barn, if anybody has ever done that, and she said in the history of it she couldn’t think of a single person. It’s amazing; I’m still in disbelief,” Oen said. “I don’t ever really have a derby horse to begin with, and to have four this year in the derby, and getting two of them to the finals and then winning first and second, it was mind-blowing to myself. It’s another big step in my career. I’m proud to have done it, but it takes a special horse to do it with you. Without them, I’m not winning either. As much as you want to take the credit, you better have a good partner in crime when you run down the alley, and I have a pretty good group of horses.”

Pete Oen with winning Fort Smith derby horses
Pete Oen won his first career Old Fort Days championship with a 16.360 for $21,733 on DR Famous Legacy (left) to win the Super Derby and also finished reserve for $7,969 with a 16.476 on Baptized By Fire (right), marking the first time a rider has accomplished the feat in Old Fort Days history. Photo by Tex Parsley Rodeo Photography

Oen’s special group of horses extended beyond the derby, as the Oklahoma-based trainer also placed in the Old Fort Days Futurity finals on Sharin Hall’s Mirakul and Angela Richardson’s Streak Gypsy Streak, on whom he won the 2022 BFA World Championship Juvenile, for a total Fort Smith haul of $41,623.

Oen first ran Baptized By Fire in the Super Derby finals to take the lead at the time. The royally bred 2017 Angela Richardson-owned and Busby Quarter Horses-bred gelding by legendary barrel racing sire Fire Water Flit and out of blue-hen producing mare Lady Perks by Dash For Perks began his career under Dustin Angelle’s training before joining Oen’s program early in his 2022 futurity year and running to more than $57,900 in EquiStat reported earnings before Fort Smith.

“He spun the first and second barrels; fantastic, beautiful, tight barrels,” Oen said. “I lifted my leg up and over top of the first barrel leaving it, and if he nails the first, he’ll clock really big. We got to the third and I don’t know if I got a little anxious or what, but we got tight going in and we didn’t get the finish I hoped for, but I was like just keep going. When I looked up at the clock and saw a 16.4, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, he just ran a .4.'”

Only a few horses later, Oen outran himself on DR Famous Legacy to ultimately win the Old Fort Days Super Derby.

“He missed the first barrel, but he came straight back and was running hard, and I had to lift my leg up over the top of the second barrel leaving it on him. He was running so hard to the third that I thought if he doesn’t slow down, I’m going back there with the tractors,” Oen said with a laugh. “I gave him a little bump, and he just swapped ends and was hauling butt the other direction. That horse is unbelievably, dirty fast. He just turns and goes. Sometimes I feel like he’s ripping the saddle horn clean out of my hands.”

Even with the ultra-fast 16.360 on the scoreboard, Oen couldn’t breathe easy until the rest of the Derby field ran through the gates — including the formidable Hello Stella and Sharin Hall.

“There were three horses to run after me, and I knew I was going to end up second. Then someone else would run, and then it would come down to Sharin on fresh ground. I knew the worst I could be was second and third, which was still unbelievable. I was braiding my futurity horse’s mane as they were dragging and waiting for Sharin’s time, and my hands were shaking so much I could barely braid my horse’s mane,” Oen exclaimed. “When I heard them say a 17, I literally started crying. It’s been a hot minute since that happened — I think the last time I cried was when I won Diamonds and Dirt on Guys Dashing Jet in 2017.”

Pete Oen turns the second barrel on DR Famous Legacy
Pete Oen dominated the Old Fort Days Super Derby finals, winning his first career Old Fort Days championship with a 16.360 for $21,733 on DR Famous Legacy (pictured) and also finishing reserve for $7,969 with a 16.476 on Baptized By Fire. Photo by Tex Parsley Rodeo Photography

Despite being out most of his futurity year in 2022 with an injury, DR Famous Legacy has come back in fine form since September of last year. The 2018 gelding owned by Travis and Johnna Dobbs ran the fastest time of the 2022 BFA World Championships to win the first go of the futurity, and his EquiStat earnings stood at more than $129,300 before Fort Smith.

The gelding by Famous Bugs is out of 2013 American Quarter Horse Association World Champion mare Bars Sweet Legacy, by Rare Bar and out of Sheeza Cash Legacy by Cash Legacy. Oen actually rode the dam and says DR Famous Legacy strongly takes after his mother.

“I didn’t train her, but I got the opportunity to ride the mother long before he was ever on this earth. I qualified her for the AQHA World Championship Show, and Chad Crider the world on her,” Oen said at the 2022 BFA. “It’s a very similar style — bay, head-down, just run in tight, hit a spot and go the other way. Not bendy or wrappy horses, just drag that hock, stop and go the other way. He’s very similar to his mother’s style and looks a lot like her, too.”

2023 Old Fort Days Super Derby Final Results

First Ever: Jamey Hunt Earns Fourth Career Fort Smith Title, Wins Inaugural Old Fort Days Senior (5-Year-Old) Futurity

Jamey Hunt turns second barrel at Fort Smith
Jamey Hunt won the inaugural Old Fort Days Senior (5-year-old) Futurity and his fourth-career Fort Smith championship, worth $23,117, thanks to a 16.435 on Ever Eddie (Eddie Stinson x Curiocity Corners x Silver Lucky Buck), owned by Edwin Cameron and Tiany Schuster. Photo by Tex Parsley Rodeo Photography

May 20, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — Jamey Hunt estimates he’s run 75 horses in his lifetime down the historic alleyway in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Three of those times have resulted in championship titles — he won the Futurity in 1999 and the Super Derby in 2003 and 2006. In 2023, he added a fourth Old Fort Days championship to his resume by winning the inaugural Senior Futurity for 5-year-olds with a 16.435 on Ever Eddie, worth $23,117,

“I’ve figured out the dos and don’ts in that arena for sure. That arena is tricky if you don’t know that place, and I’ve been there for years and years, but it’s been since 1999; a long time ago since I won the futurity there. It’s one thing I’ve wanted to do for so many years,” said Hunt, who took a hiatus from competing full-time at a high level until the past five years. “For that to be able to happen, the hard work and everything we’ve put into it, me and [my wife] Ashley and everybody who helps us, the work and the long hours and the no sleep and so much stuff we’ve put in the last two or three years to get to this point to be able to do that, it was huge. This is the most meaningful win I’ve had this year for sure.”

The No. 9 highest-earner in Fort Smith history is now tied with Troy Crumrine, Cody Bauserman and Kay Blandford for most Old Fort Days championship titles with four across the Futurity and Super Derby, thanks to the fast 5-year-old gelding owned by Edwin Cameron and Tiany Schuster.

—> Read more: Old Fort Days Champions and Times 1978-2022

The 2018 gelding by Eddie Stinson and out of the blue hen mare Curiocity Corners by Silver Lucky Buck is a full brother to Kelsey (Lutjen) Treharne’s 2020 Old Fort Days Futurity champion VF Cream Rises, as well as Mark Bugni’s big winner VF NFL Draft, and a half-sibling to other winners out of the EquiStat producer of more than $1.5 million, such as WPRA world champion Perculatin.

“I’ve been waiting for that colt, patiently waiting for me not to do something stupid — he’s tried to win a couple futurities already and I messed up at least one round, so finally for me to keep everything together and be smart and let him do what he’s supposed to, I was really tickled. I’ve been waiting for that,” Hunt said with a laugh. “He’s one of my most favorite colts I’ve ever had, and I think because he’s a really sweet horse on the ground, like a little dog, but on his back he can be fractious, fresh and frisky. He acts a lot like my good open horse (Gripe Gut) in that he’s a little quirky, but you figure out how to work around those things.”

“Ever” posted a 16.935 in the time trials, even after stumbling and catching a shoe in at the second barrel. Hunt had the gelding dialed in before the 5-year-old finals in which he had two horses qualified.

“I was a little worried, because he got ansty right before I got ready to go. I had two horses close in the finals, so I warmed them both up and then took him back and tied him up while I ran the other horse, and he came back down. If he gets up and going too much, he’s so fast I’m worried he’s going to get himself in trouble,” Hunt said. “When I went in the back of the arena, he was focused and quiet. I know him pretty good, and when he’s like that, he’s usually on. Coming down the alleyway, he let me hold him and waited until I wanted him to go, so it was easy to get a good start — you have to pay attention there to where you start. He left running hard, and I let up a stride before and got my inside rein a bit early because I didn’t want him to get down the pen, and when I did, he smoked the first barrel. The second and third, he’ll get a little straight, but if I ride him all the way, he’ll turn every time. The third barrel, with it being Fort Smith, I was worried because he was running really hard to the third barrel, but I sat up and it was perfect.”

While the win is meaningful for Hunt in his return to an arena in which he’s had much success, he says it’s more rewarding that he finally gave Ever the title the horse deserves.

“It’s been a long, long time, and I know I’ve put the work in and have the right kind of horses. I think everybody deserves to win, but this one I felt like I really put the work in and I deserved it, but more than anything, it’s that horse,” Hunt said. “I’ve failed him a couple times this year for him to be first or second at a few futurities, and it was not his fault. For me finally not to do that and to work and me and him both get the chance to win that futurity, that was huge.”

He thanked his sponsors Oxy-Gen, J&C Bits and Buckeye Nutrition as well as his wife, Ashley, their helper Emily, and veterinarian Dr. Nate Lea, DVM.

2023 Old Fort Days Senior (5-year-old) Futurity Final Results

Of Note: Producer Power

It’s no secret mare power is the key to producing winning barrel horses, and several mares have stood out as producers at the 2023 Old Fort Days Futurity and Super Derby by producing multiple Fort Smith finalists.

Babe On The Chase, Brittany Tononzzi’s National Finals Rodeo mare by Chasin Firewater and out of Streakin Six Babe by Streakin Six, is an EquiStat earner of more than $510,000 herself and also produced two of the ‘twinningest’ horses of the 2023 futurity year, Tonozzi’s Teton Ridge-owned 4-year-old futurity mare Tres Chasin Babe PZ and the Ashley Schafer-ridden and Kelly Tovar-owned 4-year-old stallion Seis On The Chase, full siblings and twin flushes by Tres Seis. The two won champion and reserve champion, respectively, at the Ruby Buckle Futurity in April, and in Fort Smith went one-two in the Futurity Time Trials (see story below).

“Breeding, obviously [makes those horses winners],” Tonozzi said. “It doesn’t get much better than the dam, and there’s no telling how much Tres Seis babies have won in the barrel pen. So we start there, and ‘Rosie’ just keeps proving those genetics time and time again.”

Brittany Tonozzi and Tres Chasin Babe PZ
Brittany Tonozzi’s Tres Chasin Babe PZ, owned by Teton Ridge, has been a winner since her first competitive run at the 2022 BFA World Championships where she won the first round of the Juvenile Futurity. Photo by Kenneth Springer

Highpoint Performance Horses’ mare Rods Last Ladybug’s producing prowess is seen in multiple horses in the Fort Smith Futurity and Super Derby finals. The 1999 mare by Sharp Rodney and out of Ladybugs Move by Lady Bug’s Moon has produced EquiStat earners of more than $651,000, including the former standard pattern world record holder Rollin In The Fame, by Dash Ta Fame.

Two full siblings have proven that cross again this year as futurity horses with the Ashley Schafer-ridden and Highpoint-owned Chrome Plated Fame, who placed second in the Old Fort Days Senior (5-year-old) Futurity Time Trials. Caroline Boucher also rode HP Rollin Rollin to a finals-qualifying 16.717 in the Old Fort Days Futurity Time Trials (see results and more below).

Ryann Pedone and the 3/4 sibling HP Feel The Fame, by Dash Ta Fame son Feel The Sting, won first in the Consolation Round to qualify for the Old Fort Days Super Derby finals.

RC Back In Black continues to produce winners as well. Jane Melby’s NFR mare by Ninety Nine Goldmine and out of Rabbit Redux by Royal Quick Dash has produced EquiStat earners of more than $677,000. Melby’s daughter Cayla Small is showcasing two of them in the Old Fort Days Futurity Finals — Back By Design, by Slick By Design, and Brookstone Is Back, by Brookstone Bay.

2023 Old Fort Days Consolation Round Results

May 19, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — Ryann Pedone took full advantage of her mulligan in the Consolation Round, posting a fast 16.614 on her special 2018 mare HP Feel The Fame (Feel The Sting x Rods Last Ladybug x Sharp Rodney) to win the race and also earn the No. 1 spot of five fastest derby horses in the Consolation to advance to the Old Fort Days Super Derby Finals on May 20 at 11 a.m. CST.

2023 Old Fort Days Consolation Round Results

Hello Again! Sharin Hall Tops Old Fort Days Super Derby Time Trials on Hello Stella

May 19, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — Sharin Hall and her incomparable 2017 mare Hello Stella (The Goodbye Lane x Go Go Fame x Dash Ta Fame) ran a 16.550 to clinch the Old Fort Days Super Derby Time Trials and come into the clean-slate finals May 20 as top gunners.

Hall says the run felt liberating after a few weeks of struggling in the arena.

“It felt good to get back in sync and be a team again. I really had to bring my mental game today,” Hall said after the run. ”I rode my horse to her potential, and my mental prep was to ride my horse with confidence.”

The Fort Smith, Arkansas, event was one of Hall’s first futurities she ever entered as a teen. The arena and setup provide an array of challenges that the veteran competitor welcomes.

“Fort Smith is a challenge; there’s a lot to overcome here — the long alleyway, a straighter shot to the first barrel, and the third barrel literally sits in the middle of nowhere. You have to block out all the obstacles and focus on what you and your horse can do,” Hall said. “It’s been my favorite futurity all my career, because it is such a challenge that when you do well it’s that much more rewarding.”

—> Read more: Taking Care of Hello Stella

2023 Old Fort Days Super Derby Time Trials Results

Twins for the Win: Brittany Tonozzi, Ashley Schafer Go 1-2 in Old Fort Days Futurity Time Trials on Twins Tres Chasin Babe PZ and Seis On The Chase

Brittany Tonozzi turns the first barrel in Old Fort Days Futurity
Brittany Tonozzi rode the Teton Ridge-owned 4-year-old mare Tres Chasin Babe PZ (Tres Seis x Babe On The Chase x Chasin Firewater) to a 16.430 to win the 2023 Old Fort Days Futurity Time Trials. Photo by Tex Parsley Rodeo Photography

May 18, 2023 — Fort Smith, Arkansas — With the fastest time so far of the 2023 Old Fort Days Futurity & Super Derby, Brittany Tonozzi and 4-year-old Teton Ridge-owned mare Tres Chasin Babe PZ won both the 4- and 5-year-old Futurity Time Trials with a 16.430 to lead the pack into the 45-head clean-slate finals May 20.

The mare’s twin Seis On The Chase, owned by Kelly Tovar and ridden by Ashley Schafer, placed second in the 4-year-old futurity with a 16.648. It’s the second time both horses by Tres Seis and out of Tonozzi’s NFR mare Babe On The Chase, by Chasin Firewater, have gone one-two after finishing as champion and reserve champion last month at the Ruby Buckle Futurity.

Schafer continued her hot streak in the 5-year-old (senior) futurity, placing second with a 16.649 on 2018 mare Chrome Plated Fame (Dash Ta Fame x Rods Last Ladybug x Sharp Rodney), owned by Highpoint Performance Horses.

—> Watch: Ashley Schafer Training Videos

The top 40 horses from the Futurity Time Trials plus the five fastest 4-year-olds from the Consolation Round move on to the 45-horse finals, and the top 25 from the Senior (5-year-old) Futurity plus the top five 5-year-olds from the Consolation move on to their respective finals, beginning at 11 a.m. CST on May 20. Watch at 321actionvideo.com.

2023 Old Fort Days Futurity Time Trials Results
2023 Old Fort Days Senior (5-year-old) Futurity Time Trials Results
Author

Blanche Schaefer is an avid barrel racer and managing editor of Barrel Horse News. Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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