August 20, 2009 -- American Quarter Horse runner Silent Cash Dasher won at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Okla., August 16. Owned and trained by Gary Earp of Jay, Okla., the gelding by Dash Easy is 16 years old.
That's eight times as old as the starters in the All American Futurity trials happening today in Ruidoso, N.M. In a sport with the majority of its participants competing in futurities for 2-year-olds and derbies for 3-year-olds, Silent Cash Dasher has captured the hearts of many racing fans because of his longevity.
"He had 'em outrun pretty near all the way from the gates to the wire," said Earp. "He lacked just a hair outrunning 'em daylight. That second horse's head was just close enough that you couldn't call it daylight, but he outrun 'em pretty near a length. The old man, Roy Brooks, just sat on him."
This was a triumph of age. A retired heavy equipment operator, Earp is 65 years old. Roy Brooks on August 1 turned 68. The horse that finished second in the race was the 4-year-old Bay To Bay, while show-finisher Miss Susie First is 5. The second-oldest horse in the race was 10 years the gelding's junior.
Foaled April 20, 1993, Silent Cash Dasher is the second-oldest American Quarter Horse to ever win an official race in North America. The oldest is Go Devil, who was foaled April 3, 1949, and won at Missouri Meadows on August 29, 1965.
The Oklahoma-bred Silent Cash Dasher was running for a claiming price of $15,000. He went to post in the 10th race, with a $9,600 purse, plus another $1,200 for Oklahoma-breds. The gelding had failed to win in his five previous races this year.
"I run him at Tulsa a couple times and he had a muscle in a back leg that had been kind of swelled up on him," Earp said. "He'd run a couple of bad races down there, so I didn't think nobody would bother him, pick him up."
The gelding was winning his first race since September 15, 2008, when he scored by 1 1/4 lengths in a starter allowance for 3-year-olds and up that had started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less. He was defeated in his next race, his last of the '08 season in which he won three of seven races while earning $35,680. In his career, which spans 13 seasons at the track, Silent Cash Dasher has won 19 of 87 races, with 11 seconds (including one in a stakes) and 11 thirds (including one stakes). Silent Cash Dasher has earned $166,747.
"He pulled up just fine," Earp said. "I'm gonna keep running him 'til he can't win no more. I'm gonna wait and see what Blue Ribbon is going to do. They've been writing some starter allowances for horses that run $15,000. If I can get him in one of them, why, then they can't pick him up."
Bred by Carl J. Kirby, also of Jay, Silent Cash Dasher is out of the winning Silent Devil mare Barrbom Babe and is a half brother to the stakes-winning Roll The Cash gelding The Devils Cash, who earned $94,298.
"They were announcing it on the loudspeaker a race or two before the deal, that in race 10 it would be the oldest horse running in America," Earp said. "Boy, the whole crowd down there was rootin' for him. And when he won, why, they were all down there for the win picture. That's something unusual, isn't it?"
--American Quarter Horse Racing Journal