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All American: Down, Not Out

Tayte Me Down turns the page on the next chapter in the Quien Sabe saga.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
August 28, 2013

tayte me down

Tayte Me Down. PHOTO: Andrea Caudill

One month to the day after Joe Kirk Fulton died, the American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer will be represented by a homebred in the richest race in the history of the fastest horses on earth.

Tayte Me Down has the sixth-fastest qualifying time to the $2.8 million All American Derby (G1) on September 1 at Ruidoso Downs.

“It’s going to be an emotional day,” said Fulton’s adopted son Tim Fulton, 33, who has taken the reins at the Fulton Quien Sabe Ranch at Stonewall, Texas. “It’s going to be a day of sadness but also a day of joy.”

Joe Kirk Fulton died August 1 at age 81. Tayte Me Down races in the name of the Fulton family’s Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches LP of Lubbock, Texas. The bay filly is by Joe Kirk Fulton’s homebred 1991 world champion Special Leader ($292,605), who has sired champion Leading Spirit ($811,413), 63 other stakes winners, 438 other winners and the earners of more than $13.37 million. Tayte Me Down is the first starter out of Fulton-homebred Defining Difference ($21,789), a stakes-placed daughter of Feature Mr Jess.

Clocking :21.236 with Jose Alvarez riding for trainer Mike Robbins, Tayte Me Down finished second by half a length to Point Break Dash in the eighth trial. In 2012, Tayte Me Down won three races but was scratched from the Dash For Cash Juvenile (R). Though winless in four races this season, the filly has finished second three times and was fourth in Wicked Courage’s Ruidoso Derby (G1). She has earned $94,781.

“When we started on her, Tayte Me Down looked like a really, really good Thoroughbred filly,” Mike Robbins said. “She’s by Special Leader, and of course I have a lot of sentimental ties to her because I trained Special Leader, who was the world champion running horse in 1991. I also trained her granddam, which is Daring Difference, who ran second in the Remington Park (Futurity, then Grade 1) and won the Heritage Place Futurity (G1). She also had the fastest time to the All American Futurity (G1), but got in trouble at the gate and ran back.

“We got Tayte Me Down going at home on the ranch at Stonewall, and it really was uneventful,” Robbins said. “She was a little nervous acting, but she settled down quite a bit. She’s still somewhat thataway, but we brought her up here last year and got her ready, and ran her one time in a maiden race before the All American (Futurity, G1) trials. She won that maiden race and then she won her All American trial, but ran awfully green and didn’t qualify.”

The point is, Tayte Me Down did win her All American time trial.

“Her second out was at 440 yards,” Robbins said. “Her first out, the maiden race, was at 400 yards. She’s never run shorter than 400 yards. She ran fourth in the Ruidoso Derby (G1), where she got beat half a side by some really nice horses. She got in a little bit of trouble in the Derby, or otherwise she probably would have run a decent third.

“OK, look, Tayte Me Down is probably not the best quarter-of-a-mile horse I’ve ever trained,” he admitted. “But what she lacks in that last 40 yards she makes up in heart and try. If those other horses stub their toes on Sunday, she’ll win that race. She has that capability. They have got to be on top of their game if they’re going to outrun her.

“There is not one thing I’d change on her,” Robbins declared. “Tayte Me Down leaves there hard and runs as fast as she can every step of the way. Heart – she’s got tons of heart. She can go a quarter of a mile – that’s all she’s done in her life – but with Wicked Courage and those kind of horses, she’ll be in front for 350 and 400 yards, but they’ve got more stamina for that last 40 yards. And the way Wicked Courage can run on the end reminds me so much of Sgt Pepper Feature.”

There is one thing that Robbins would change if he could.

“I wish Joe Kirk could have hung around just a little longer,” he said. “He would have enjoyed this and it would have meant a lot to him. This is how the legacy begins and starts over – or not start over, but continues. This is all those years of breeding and building and being very selective, and this is the outcome of all that he started.”

Tayte Me Down is named for Tim’s youngest son Kylan Tayte Fulton. Tayte Me Down was foaled in 2010.

“That year, Dad said to name three foals after the grandkids,” Tim said. “So we had Smooth As Iyce, Kirklyns Dynasty and Tayte Me Down. Dad called Tayte ‘Tater’ or ‘Tater Tot’. Smooth As Iyce is named after my oldest son, Iyceton Fulton, and Kirklyns Dynasty is named after my son Kirklyn.”

On Sunday, Tayte Me Down will represent them all.

“It’s going to be sad, because Dad is not going to be there,” Tim said. “Even though we know he’s going to be watching from above, he’s not going to be there in person with Mom and myself and my family to see what this horse can do. But it’s also happy, in a bittersweet sort of way, because Tayte Me Down qualified and she is part of Dad’s success, whether she wins this race or not. He’ll be there with her, on golden wings flying her to the finish line.”

Turn the page: The Quien Sabe’s next chapter starts here.

The All American Futurity and Derby are September 1-2 at Ruidoso Downs in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Extended coverage of the All American weekend is provided by the
Q-Racing Journal. Read the digital Q-Racing Journal at www.aqharacing.com. If you cannot attend the races live, watch them on Q-Racing Video at www.qracingvideo.com.