The team of Dacota Rae Monk and TNR WannaSeeMyCanCan have been on a hot streak seemingly all of their 2023 futurity season, and that streak held up with a $78,200 win at the Breeders Challenge Finale.
On Saturday, September 16 in Fort Worth, Texas, Monk and “Can Can,” a 2019 mare by Eddie Stinson and out of Chase This Ivory by Ivory James, went 15.797 in the shootout round of 30 of the top horses and came out victorious, despite a tack malfunction that would have stopped many competitors in their tracks partway through their run.
“I felt my reins get really long about three-fourths of the way around the second barrel,” Monk said. “The snap on my right rein came undone. Thank God it was the outside rein. I thought ‘Don’t let this mess your run up, just keep going for it. She’s going to be fine.'”
Earlier in the week, Can Can’s third barrel had been a touchpoint for Monk. The mare was slightly nervous in the setup at Will Rogers in her earliest exhibitions, so Monk noticed her favoring a wider pocket and wanting to go a step past her third barrel before snapping back. Fortunately, he stayed hooked on keeping the mare tuned up throughout the week, even lightly working her on Saturday morning during futurity exhibitions before her finale run. One thing Monk has learned about Can Can is that when he leads with confidence, she tends to follow and work her best, as demonstrated by their cool head during Saturday’s run.
“I used to kind of treat her like a baby,” Monk said. “I felt like that confused her. She would look back at me and not focus on her job, or start looking around because she didn’t feel confident. I probably treat her more like a derby horse than a futurity horse.”
Keeping Can Can
Can Can and Monk have banked $235,942 in 2023 and the mare is ranked as one of the top three futurity horses of the year so far, but their journey together was nearly over before it started. Niki Saggione purchased Can Can from the Pink Buckle Sale as a 2-year-old, along with another mare. Monk worked with both mares, and the summer of their 3-year-old year, it was time for Saggione to pick which one she would keep, and which she would sell.
She made the decision to sell Can Can because her counterpart was clocking quicker times on the pattern. Monk quickly went to work, and called up Suzonne Franks. She and her husband didn’t hesitate, rushing over to see Can Can the following morning before any other buyers could move in to purchase her and promptly purchased her from Saggione. Monk was thrilled at the opportunity to keep the mare he believed had so much potential, plus he felt a personal connection with due to her kind personality and demeanor.
“I told them that I just loved this mare,” Monk said. “She’s just a winner and has so much grit and try. Plus, she’s super sweet. It was a perfect fit for them, plus they thought she would make a great addition to their breeding program.”
Fast forward a few short months, and the mare who was clocking slower times in the summer quickly realized she craved the competitive space.
“The BFA (in November 2022) was the first time she really felt the atmosphere of an event with a crowd and commotion,” Monk explained. “She loved it. She won (The Kinder Cup in February 2023) and just started rolling. She’s been first or second nearly everywhere we’ve gone.”
Icing on the cake
Not only did Monk take home a passive payday, he had a bonus at the end of the week. The winners from The Breeders Challenge classes during the finale are put into a drawing for a horse trailer at the end of the week, and Monk’s name was pulled. He noted it was a bucket list item for him.
Breeders Challenge Futurity Results
|1||15.797||Dacota Rae Monk||TNR WannaSeeMyCanCan||$49,920||$23,460||$7,820|
|2||15.807||Brittany Tonozzi||Tres Chasin Babe PZ||$28,560||$14,280||$4,760|
|4||15.858||Taylor Hildreth||JH Single Lady||$14,280||$7,140||$2,380|
|5||15.876||Emily Efurd||Hyper By Design||$12,240||$6,120||$2,040|