Iowa-Bred Standout Sure Shot Biscuit Retired

by Dan Johnson

Sure Shot Biscuit, the only Iowa-bred to earn $1 million, has been retired.

By almost any measure, Sure Shot Biscuit is the most accomplished Thoroughbred ever foaled in Iowa. The 7-year-old won 23 of 54 races and earned $1,025,480, nearly twice as much money as the runner-up: his full sister, Nut N Better.

He had lost a step after having surgery to remove knee chips during the winter of 2001-2002. He was third in his final race Aug. 19. After that, owners Brad and Cynthia Johnson of Grimes, Iowa, decided to retire him.

"That last race, he didn't perform like we thought he would," trainer Kelly Von Hemel said. "He didn't show much turn of foot of any kind, so we just thought it was time."

His farewell at Prairie Meadows will come Aug. 30, when he will be paraded before the stands during Iowa Classic Night.

Sure Shot Biscuit was the Iowa-bred horse of the year from ages three to five when he won 13 stakes, including five against open company. His 12 stakes victories at Prairie Meadows are the most by any horse. He was the first Iowa-bred to win an unrestricted $100,000 stakes when he took the 2000 Precisionist Handicap at Prairie Meadows and the 2001 Omaha Handicap at Horseman's Park.

He was almost unbeatable at Prairie Meadows in his prime, having won 20 of 28 races through 2001. He had surgery to remove a knee chip that winter and was winless in his last 16 races, though he finished second seven times and third six times.

"He was a spectacular horse," Von Hemel said. "Even though we didn't do as good as we had the last two years, it doesn't deteriorate what he accomplished the other three years."

Sure Shot Biscuit and Nut N Better, who retired in 2002, were the most successful brother-sister tandem in Iowa racing. Both were bred by Roger and Barbara Luebbe of Grand Island, Neb. They mated their stallion Miracle Heights to the mare Native Secretary.

Nut N Better is the leading earner among Iowa-bred fillies and mares with $572,828.

Sure Shot Biscuit is named after Barbara Luebbe's brother, whose nickname is Biscuit and who is known for his basketball shooting prowess.