OKLAHOMA CITY — December 7, 2023 —  She’s an EquiStat earner of more than $1.2 million and has won multiple futurity and derby championships, but the largest single payday on one run in Janna Brown’s career as a futurity trainer came Wednesday night at the 2023 OKC Futurity. Janna banked $95,000 for her biggest career futurity slot race win, thanks to a 15.636 on SH Ima Bullionaire. 

—> Read more: 2023 OKC Futurity Results and Stories

Janna and “Timmie” set the pace early as the No. 2 draw of the evening and never relinquished their lead as the field of 34 young horses beginning their 2024 futurity campaigns gave it their best for the title.

“I knew a 15.6 was a good run, but I thought well, somebody will probably run a 15.5, because I was so early. When I finally realized I’d won, I looked at Timmie and was like ‘You did it!’ It was a lot of fun. It was one of those moments where all the work finally paid off, for that moment,” said Janna, who owns the gelding with her husband, Jody. “All the times I’ve messed up, all the horses I’ve started, all the times I thought I had something and it didn’t work — the most rewarding part about this one is he’s mine. I’ve trained a lot of horses for a lot of people, but there’s something about owning your own horse — it’s like I did it, we did it. He’s special, obviously, because he’s ours, and I’ve always liked him.”

2023 OKC Futurity Slot Race Top 10
2023 OKC Futurity Slot Race Top 10. Find full results at OKCFuturity.com

The OKC Futurity Slot Race and the Barrel Futurities of America SuperStakes mark the two marquis slot races every December and November for horses beginning their futurity year. Unlike the BFA SuperStakes a few weeks prior, which is only open to 3-year-olds beginning a 4-year-old futurity year and requires them to have never made a competitive run prior to the race, the OKC Futurity Slot Race changed its rules this year to allow both coming 4- and 5-year-old horses to enter, so long as they did not compete prior to the traditional November 15 futurity year start date and did not run in any other stand-alone slot races. 

Timmie is a 4-year-old who will run as a 5-year-old futurity horse in 2024, and the Browns have owned him since he was a yearling. Bred by Shantell Hayes, he’s by Bullseye Bullion and out of Last Honor Ta Fame by Una Frio Cerveza. Janna has ridden, trained and really liked three other Bullseye Bullion offspring and bought Timmie sight unseen from videos and photos.

“I didn’t even see him in person. The day I got him I was like, oh my gosh, he’s little! I didn’t like him any less for it. I love the way he’s made, he’s got really good bone, he’s just smaller,” Janna said. “He’s got a great personality, super friendly, wants to be in your business. He’s a pleaser.”

The gelding came along in training nicely and in line with Janna’s previous experiences riding Bullseye Bullions.

“He’s been easy. I’ve ridden three other Bulls babies, and they’ve all been super easy, willing, they don’t forget things and retain everything you show them. They try too hard sometimes and get themselves over-thinking, but super easy to train,” Janna said. “Timmie is mine, so he didn’t get rode every day. I didn’t start him until end of his 3-year-old year, because I got him broke a little later. Every day I rode him, he got better and better, and he wasn’t being ridden every day. Probably 20 times around the barrels, he was loping through pretty dang good.”

—> Watch: Janna Brown Training Videos

Janna Brown turns second barrel at OKC Futurity Slot Race
Janna Brown rode 2019 gelding SH Ima Bullionaire (Bullseye Bullion x Last Honor Ta Fame x Una Frio Cerveza), owned by herself and husband Jody Brown, to a 15.636 to win the OKC Futurity Slot Race for $95,000. Photo by Traci Davenport Photography

By the time she started adding speed, the only hiccups Janna encountered in Timmie’s training were due to an abundance of try and athletic ability.

“There’s been a few things I’ve had to work on — he’ll get in a hurry because he wants to do it so bad, and he’s really fast. He gets somewhere quick and then kind of scares himself. He’ll beat himself across the pen; he’s dirty fast,” Janna said. “Even his run in the slot race wasn’t perfect; he had some little moves there, like going to the third. He moves his feet really well, and the one thing about him I love is he pays attention to me, and he moves his feet. I love a horse that’s quick on their feet. His foot placement isn’t always perfect, but he’ll always come back to me.”

As any horse trainer knows, everything doesn’t always come together at the right time, even for the best horses and riders. Janna says this win on Timmie is exciting but overall just one stepping stone in both his life and her program of building solid barrel horses for the long haul, not just one run.  

“Training horses is so up and down. I’ve learned not to have expectations anymore; they’re babies. He may not win another dime this week, but that run was when it really mattered to me this week, and it worked. I always thought he was capable of being that horse, and I know a 15.6 isn’t the fastest time running here, but he did exactly what I thought he could do. For me and my program, of course I love to win, but I want them to be solid and get better as they go,” Janna said. “Now I’m like OK, just keep building on this — stay solid, stay on track. I’m not going to try and win first every time, he’s a baby, but keep that solid pattern, keep his mind good, keep him sound, and it’ll end up working out.” 

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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