August 6, 2010
Fillinic gave us generations of great horses.
From America’s Horse
Back in 1961, Greg Ward of Tulare, California, was the stereotypical struggling young horse trainer. At 26, he had two horses for which he was being paid $75 a month to ride, a wife, a kid, a car and not much else. He’d ridden up to the neighbor’s to help doctor cattle, and as he rode back home, he could see the dust stirring up by the barn.
As he rode closer, he found the source of the dirt cloud: a lathered little chestnut mare someone had left tied to the fence.
“She had pawed and pawed until she was standing in a hole you could have buried two or three horses in,” Greg said. “I thought, ‘Oh, boy. What a rinky-dink this is.’ She had wire scars on her nose and big ol’ wire scars on her back legs. In those days, when you halter broke your horses, you didn’t want to hurt their hackamore nose, and here she was with this big scar across hers.”
The unbroken 4-year-old belonged to Frank Maitia, a Basque businessman from Bakersfield, who told Greg she’d come in on a carload of horses from the Clovis, New Mexico, sale yard.
But she had papers, he assured the trainer. Her registered name was Fillinic.
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“I went to riding her and, in three days, it seemed like she just wanted to do everything,” Greg said. “She was light, real sensitive – could just feel you breathe. She just wanted to be great.
“I’d be bragging on her to someone, and they’d just grin at me when I’d tell them how she was bred. Nobody’d ever heard of her sire, Arizona Junie, or Alouette, her mother, who was by a Thoroughbred named Master Boss.
“I got to bragging to her owner, telling him how good she was and he said, “Let’s sell her. What’s she worth?’ I said, ‘I bet I can get $3,000 for her.’ We’re talking 1962, $3,000 for a green, unproven mare with no breeding.”
G.D. Turnbow, a multimillionaire, started expressing some interest in Fillinic.
“The closer it got to him paying for the mare, it scared me, so I borrowed the money from my mother at 6 percent interest, and I bought her,” Greg said. “I didn’t have 50 cents, but I had Fillinic. I was the richest guy in the world.
“She just won and won and won and won, Salinas, the Cow Palace. And I didn’t know anything. I was just as green as a gourd. But I figured she was so great I’d just stay out of her way. I think she’s the only horse to ever win the Cow Palace in a hackamore and then win it in the bridle two years in a row.”
Fillinic passed many of her traits to her 10 foals, especially her super sensitivity.
“They were just like little deer,” Greg said. “Some said I was probably the only one who could have ridden them, that I was the only one who would put up with the insanity. You know how they say, ‘Genius borders on insanity?’ Well, that’s kind of where I put them, right there on the edge.”
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Riding descendants of Fillinic, Greg won the Snaffle Bit Futurity, the premier reined cow horse competition, three times outright. He also rode six reserve champions in the event, all who traced to Fillinic. Her offspring also excelled at cutting. They took Greg to the finals of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity and Super Stakes.
Fillinic’s daughter, Sugarnic, won a number of California Reined Cow Horse Association events, then produced Sugar Remedy, by Doc’s Remedy. Sugar Remedy produced Peppy Remedy, who foaled Reminics Pep, aka “Magic,” who won $128,500 in National Reined Cow Horse Association earnings.
Greg and Magic’s performance at the 1998 NRCHA Futurity – their last performance together – brought the crowd to its feet. Greg died of cancer only a few weeks later.
Wininic produced Master Remedy, who won more than $175,000 in reined cow horse competition and more than $145,000 in NCHA competition. Master Remedy sired Otoe Master, who won the 1990 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity; No Mo Master, who won the junior tie-down world title at the 1993 AQHA World Show; and Master Checks, who won the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 1991 and the 2003 NRCHA Novice Non-Pro Bridle Championship.
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Reminic, Fillinic’s last colt, earned more than $80,000 in NCHA competition. Of the 926 foals he sired, there were seven open, amateur and youth AQHA world champions and four open, amateur and youth reserve world champions. The world champions included Tuckernic, Chex A Nic, Reminikit, Ima Train and Reminic Moon Shine.
In 1983, Fillinic was euthanized due to a broken leg. She was buried in Greg’s front yard.
“I can look down through the barns here, and Fillinic’s in all these horses,” Greg said. “She’s responsible for this whole place. The best way to explain how I feel about her is written on her tombstone: ‘A man is lucky to have one great horse in his lifetime. She gave us a lifetime of greatness.’ ”