The 2019 Purina PRCA Heel Horse of the Year presented by the American Quarter Horse Association is DT Sugar Chex Whiz, a former AQHA World Champion black mare ridden by Billie Jack Saebens and owned by Dixon Flowers Quarter Horses.
“She’s been a horse labeled as a show horse,” Saebens said. “That’s typically a 7- to 9-second run. But she’s adapted in every situation I’ve put her in—the lights, the noise, walking through the fair at Puyallup. She’s willing and she’s on your team.”
[Related: Saebens Cracks Out AQHA World Champion Mount on Rodeo Road]
The stand-out mare, who won the 2015 AQHA Junior Tie-Down world title with JD Yates at the helm, is by Shiners Lena Chex, who also sired two-time American Rope Horse Futurity Heading Champion DT Air Jordan, and out of King Snazzy Sugar, by NFR barrel stallion Fols Classy Snazzy, who was jockeyed by WPRA World Champion Marlene McRae.
[LISTEN: Billie Jack Saebens on The Score Podcast]
Yates got her as a 3-year-old and sold her to Dixon Flowers Rope Horses in 2013, and Yates continued to show her. She qualified for the AQHA World Show in 2014, where she made the finals in the Junior Heeling and Junior Tie-Down, and she went on to win the Junior Tie-Down in 2015.
After spending 2017 and 2018 riding Sugar at the jackpots, Saebens cracked the mare out at Odessa. He and partner Tyler Wade placed in the first round there, and went on to see big success with wins at Estes Park, Colorado, Lawton, Oklahoma and Gooding, Idaho. Saebens finished the year 16th in the PRCA world standings with $68,941.18 won, while helping get Wade to his third NFR at 14th on the head side with $73,394.24 in earnings.
“Tyler and I are planning to rope again next year,” Saebens said. “And she’s going to be here for me as long as I need her. She was sound all year. She’s been great as far as that goes. As long as she’s sound, I’ll ride her.”
Sugar has two 2-year-olds by Hickory Holly Time and a yearling by CD Lights, as well as one weanling by Once In A Blue Boon. She didn’t get bred this year, but will be bred in 2020 to Stevie Rey Von, the son of Metallic Cat out of the Dual Rey mare Miss Ella Rey.
“Dean (Tuftin) really likes his, and the one we are riding is with Tyson Benson in Weatherford. He’s doing the cow horse on her, and so far she’s looking really good. The yearling by CD Lights we have here is very good looking, too.” TRJ