While the sale results are not yet official, one sure result of the Walton’s Rocking W Ranch Absolute Dispersal Sale is that there is a new player in the game. Fort Worth, Texas, native Bobby Patton entered the cutting horse industry in a big way, paying the sale’s top price of $500,000 for Boon San.
Patton is no stranger to making headlines. In 2012, his name was in the sports pages of probably every newspaper in the United States as part of Guggenheim Baseball Management’s high-profile purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. The six-man group paid $2.15 billion for the Dodgers, a sum that is reportedly the highest price ever paid for a professional sports team.
On Sept. 22, Patton branched out into a new sport – cutting. His entry into the industry came on the day that another well-known public figure, Alice Walton, was leaving. Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, sold all of her stock – 91 head of horses – at the sale. After the last horse walked through the ring, the turnback horses were unsaddled and the tack sold almost literally right off their backs. The ranch equipment was auctioned off a day earlier, while the ranch itself has been listed for $19.75 million.
The horses represented decades of Walton’s carefully managed breeding program, headlined by 2003 stallion Boon San (High Brow Cat x Boon San Sally x Boon Bar). An earner of $57,580, Boon San was a 2014 Equi-Stat Top 20 Junior Cutting Horse Sire with only two crops of performance-age offspring. When the hammer fell at $500,000 for the stallion and Patton signed the ticket, applause filled the arena.
“I found a piece of property that I liked that had some really good equine facilities on it,” said Patton, who recently purchased Jon and Abby Winkelried’s Marvine Ranch in Aledo, Texas. “Really, before I’ve had the chance to maybe catch my breath like I would have liked to, this sale came up, and quite frankly, I thought it was too good of an opportunity to let it go by. I had enough time to do a little research, and here I am.”
Patton said he purchased a total of 11 horses (not counting recipient mares), including finished show horses, broodmares and prospects. Some of the show horses he bought were entered at the Brazos Bash, which runs from Sept. 23 through Oct. 4 in Weatherford, Texas, potentially giving Patton a quick return on his investments.
His new ranch will soon house some high-powered horseflesh. But the oil, gas, real estate and cattle investor was even more pleased to seal the deal on another front.
“I’m pleased to say that maybe my best acquisition today is going to be Jesse,” Patton said, referring to Walton’s former head trainer, Jesse Lennox. “He’s coming over with me. I hope I gave him something to work with.”
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