Paula Chex - 4 years old in picture at right
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Paula Chex goes to the wall at the 1974 SBF.

Joe Torano presented a rather touching rags-to-riches kind of story in one of the magazines (I forget which) about how he and his wife came to own winning horses. His wife Claudia always wanted one/some in the worst way, and knowing utterly nothing about them, he got her a $250 mare called Cinnamon for her birthday.
One thing led to another, and they became avid readers of the trade publications, where King Fritz made quite an impression on them. They discussed breeding Cinnamon to him, and went to see the Vogts and their horses. This was evidently their first contact with competition grade animals, which surpassed anything they had imagined, and they began to realize that they would need better mare power for the purpose of breeding.
Paula Chex by King Fritz
As he put it, "After paying $250 for a grade horse I didn't realize that they came in so many price ranges". Skipping some detail, they fetched up at White Rail Ranch, and looking around, realized that they would never be satisfied until they started breeding good ones. They became acquainted with John Coffman there, who gave them some understanding of the business, and the upshot was that they arranged to buy Paula Chex on payments.
The terms were that she had to be two-thirds paid for before they could take possesion, and they had to sell Claudia's car in order to get Paula Chex out of hock and into training in time to compete in the futurities. While Paula Chex was in training they also negotiated the purchase of her mother. In a nutshell, these things paid off "in spades", and they were launched into showing and breeding on the money end of things. It should be mentioned that this was an unusually lucky toss, and that things were no longer so easy in the later 80's and 90's. Still, it's kind of nice to see a Disney movie happen for real, and maybe the rarity of it makes it a little more special when it *does* come true.

Paula Chex was on the cover of the California Horse Review, August 1975. That can be seen here, or if you have a Pablo son or daughter and would like to print one to keep, try the higher resolution copy - better print, but longer download.

That issue included a transcript of a taped interview with Les Vogt, and there are a few excerpts from that, below.

CHR: (California Horse Review) "We recently received a letter from Joe Torano, giving some background on how he became involved with you and Chex horses. I gather that Paula Chex was Joe's first real step into the horse show business. Is that correct?"Les Vogt: "Yes, that's correct."
CHR: "Were you the first one to train Paula Chex?"
Les Vogt: "Yes, we started Paula Chex right here at uor ranch in Clovis."
CHR: "I understand that she was actually sold by John Coffman at White Rail Ranch."
Les Vogt: "Yes, her dam was one of the original broodmares that Fritz Watkins had when we bought King Fritz. There were four mares we bought from Fritz Watkins and three mares that we didn't. As it worked out, the three mares that we did not take had not at that time been bred to King Fritz. One of the three, it turned out, was the dam of Moon Chex, so we were sorry that we didn't buy her, and another, Paula Gay, was the dam of Paula Chex. Of course, we were sorry we didn't buy that mare too."

CHR: "Did you start her originally with the idea of her being a snaffle bit horse for the Futurity?"
Les Vogt: "Yes, we started her with the hopes that she would be good enough to go there. She was definitely a prospect from the very first. I think the mare showed a lot of cow earlier than almost any of the other Chex horses that we've started.
"CHR: "Of the various Chex horses that

you've trained, how would you say Paula Chex rates against horses like Chex of Chex or Easter Chex or some of the other great Chex horses you've had?"
Les Vogt: "I think the mare has all of the capabilities of any of the other ones. On a given day, I think that Paula Chex is capable of performing to beat any horse."
CHR: "Paula Chex is primarily a performance horse, isn't she? Was she ever shown at halter?"
Les Vogt: "No, She's a nice mare. She's straight legged, and she's pretty, but she's really not tall enough to be a halter horse at this point. However, she's still growing.
CHR: So the 1974 Snaffle Bit Futurity was was her first public performance?"
Les Vogt: "Right."
CHR: "As I recall, she won the first go-round in the 1974 Snaffle Bit Futurity."
Les Vogt: "Well, she tied for first in the first go-round, and then tied for second in the second go-round."
CHR: "Didn't she go into the finals with the high score of all the horses?"
Les Vogt: "Right, she had accumulated more points than any horse going into the finals. She was first, and Maxi Chex was second".
CHR: "In the '75 Indeo show when Paula Chex won the Hackamore Championship, were you competing against a number of the horses that you also competed against in the Futurity?"
Les Vogt: "Definitely. Maxi Chex was there, Big M Nu King the Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion was there, along with a number of other horses that were in the Futurity."

King Fritz above, and his sire, Power Command at right.
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