Last month players were asked to count all the DARK PINK bunnies. And Yes, it was a trick question. Congratulations to those who figured out the puzzle! Unfortunately that was only one person. So instead of only awarding the winner, I’m going to reward everyone who participated. Please message us using the contact link, with your player name and we will send you your reward shortly.



      Star Wars, The Island, Jurassic Park…Charmayne James? When a person thinks of cloning, an 11 time barrel racing champion certainly doesn’t come to mind.
      Clayton is a healthy young 2006 bay quarter horse stallion. Scamper is an aging 1977 bay AQHA gelding. On the surface, it seems these two horses are only similar due to their coloring, and even that has it’s limits. Clayton has a connecting star and snip, Scamper has a slight shadow of white. They even share the same owner, but they also share DNA.
      After retiring from competition in 2003, James began to focus solely on her quarter horse breeding program. The problem? The horse that brought her to 10 of her 11 championships was a gelding, unable to breed. Scamper was the epitome of a champion, proving so by being the first barrel racing horse to be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. If he wasn’t going to be able to provide future champions for her, she would have to find his clone…litterally. In August of 2006, Clayton was born with the help of ViaGen who charge a whopping $150,000 for their cloning surfaces. Cloning is the process by which an identical DNA specimen is created by replacing the nucleus of a surrogate egg with the genes of the specimen you wish to duplicate.

Photos provided by ViaGen shows the cloned horse, Clayton, with owner Charmayne James near Boerne, Texas.

Second Photo by Candace Dobson, Gunslinger, LLC.

      This astounding breakthrough in the equine industry raised many questions and concerns. What would be the benefit of using Clayton as a breeding sire? Could his foals be registered? Is Clayton healthy, and will his foals be? Breeding to Clayton would be the same as breeding to any other stallion. He’s a replica of Scamper with all the qualities of a champion barrel racer, but with the ability to pass on those traits to another generation. Currently the AQHA does not recognize cloned horses, therefore Clayton and his get would be unregisterable with that particular association. Clayton is as healthy as the average horse, and that isn’t planned to change anytime soon, even for his offspring.
      And for a fee of $4,000, you can have a foal from Scamper…er Clayton.

      In March to celebrate St. Patricks day, Orbis Newsletter staff created two quizzes based on Irish dog and horse breeds. The winners of the quizzes were to have their names posted in the newsletter, and be awarded with a special graphic for their main game page. However it’s been two months now and we have had no winners! Maybe I made them to hard. We already extended it one month, so I will end the suspense and give you all the answers:
Irish Dog Breed Quiz

Q: This breed most likely arrived with the Celts and has been refined over the years with crosses to the Southern Hound and French Hounds.
A: Kerry Beagle

Q: This breeds hair is similar to that of fine human hair and like human hair is not shed but continues to grow throughout the year.
A: Irish Terrier

Q: These dogs must have something to do since lack of activity will lead to a bored, destructive, or even hyperactive dog.
A: Irish Setter

Q: Most puppies of this breed are born dark and have a coat of either red, brown, or mahogany. As they age they lighten up into a cream color.
A: Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Q: This breed is very old, possibly from the 1st century BC or earlier.
A: Irish Wolf Hound

Q: This breed has four coat varieties for this dog: Traditional Irish, Heavy Irish, English, and America.
A: Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

Q: The over use of hunting with this dog resulted in boar and wolves becoming extinct from Ireland.
A: Irish Wolf Hound

Q: The red, harsh double coat protects this dog from well in all kinds of weather.
A: Irish Terrier

Q: Their coat is long and silky, mostly white, with deep red patches. - Irish Red and White Setter

Q: The coat of the ___________________ consists of dense curls.
A: Kerry Blue Terrier

Q: In the 1800 s this dog breed was, red, lemon, and red with white.
A: Irish Setter

Q: Drag and Drop the breed with the correct description
- Irish Wolf Hound: bred as war dogs by the Celts
- Irish Water Spaniel: the largest type of gun dog
- Kerry Blue Terrier: the national god of Ireland

Q: This is the national dog of Ireland.
A: Kerry Blue Terrier

Q: Drag and Drop the breed with the correct description
- Kerry Blue Terrier: pups are born black and silver as they age
- Irish Water Spaniel: their coat consists of dense curles
- Irhs Terrier: first native terriers of the english kennel club

Q: This breed was developed to control vermin including rats, rabbits, badgers, foxes, otters and hares.
A: Kerry Blue Terrier

Q: The __________________ often called the Irish Blue Terrier. 
A: Kerry Blue Terrier

Q: This breed has “rat like” tails.
A: Irish Water Spaniels

Q: Which Breed of dog is Irish and not seen in VitrualPups.com.
A: Irish Glen of Imaal Terrier

Q: The historic motto of the ________________ is "Gentle when stroked. Fierce when provoked."
A: Irish Wolf Hound

Q: The _____________ were the first members of the terrier group to be recognized by the English Kennel Club as a native Irish breed.
A: Irish Terrier
Irish Horse Breed Quiz

Q: In the 1700 s Arabian blood was added to which breed?
A: Connemara

Q: Their stud book was established in 1926.
A: Connemara

Q: Clydesdales were used in this breed, but they didn t contribute quality characteristics.
A: Irish Draught

Q: Which breeds name means descendants of Con Mhac, of the sea?
A: Connemara

Q: Drag and Drop the breed to the correct description
- Connemare: fine head with small ears and slightly dished profile
- Kerry Bog Pony: traditionally used for hauling peat fule
- Irish Cob: also called gypys and Tinkers

Q: The conformation and type of these breed is uncannily similar to the Morgan horse.
A: Kerry Bog Pony

Q: This breed is bred to incorporate a kindness and tolerance that is acceptable for a family animal. -
A: Irish Cob

Q: Pinto patterns are not acceptable in the registry. 
A: Connemara

Q: True or false Ireland does not have any true native horses?
A: True

Q: True or False The Kerry Bog Pony, is a competitive sport horse?
A: False

Q: Historians can traces theses horses back as early as 600 BC.
A: Irish Cob

Q: The _____________ is considered the farm horse of Ireland.
A: Irish Draught

Q: Check only the correct facts about the Kerry Bog Pony.
- Pinto patterns are acceptable in the registry
- By 1994 there were only 20 ponies left in the whole of Ireland

Q: The _________ cob is also called Drum, Gypsy and Tinker.
A: Irish

Q: The _________ was developed from Scandinavian ponies that the Vikings brought over.
A: Connemara

Q: This horse is crossed with Thoroughbred blood, or another European Warmbloods.
A: Irish Sport Horse

Q: This breed was crossed with Hackneys and Thoroughbreds.
A: Connemara

Q: This breed averages 10 to 12 hands in height. 
A: Connemara

Q: The _________ has a fine head with small ears and usually a slightly dished profile. 
A: Connemara

Q: This breed has to be at least 1/4 registered Irish Draught.
A: Irish Sport Horse

Thank you everyone for taking the March Madness Quizz!


      Over 150,000 people flock to Churchill Downs the second Saturday of every May, bringing an end to the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival held in Louisville. May 2nd marks the first leg of the Tipple Crown and the most exciting 2 minutes any sport can offer, marking it as the 135th one and a quarter mile race open to colts, geldings, and fillies.
      At the time of writing this story, this years favorites appeared to be Pioneerof the Nile (8-5-0-1), Desert Party (6-4-1-0), I want Revenge (8-3-1-4), and Quality Road (4-3-1-0). For those that don’t know what these numbers mean, let me explain: First number is the number of starts, Second number is the number of firsts, the Third is the number of seconds), and the last is the number of thirds.
      The total value of the race was over $2million dollars, and of the favorites only Pioneerof the Nile came in second. I Want Revenge came up lame that morning and was scratched. Desert Party ranked 14th, and Quality Road never entered due to a crack in his hoof.
      Mine That Bird wiped the track with the other Thoroughbreds, turning the Kentucky Derby into two races. There was no doubt that once Mine That Bird got his head, he wasn’t going to stop, so the race became one for Second Place between Pioneerof the Nile, Musket Man, and Papa Clem.
      His jockey, Calvin Borel, also rode my favorite Rachel Alexandra to first, in the Kentucky Oaks the previous day. Mine That Bird was a 50-1 shot, who had never won on dirt before, and came to win by a stunning 6 3/4 lengths! This power-horse went from last, to zoom past the favorites, and really opened up along the stretch.
      Spectators commented on how Borel’s ride in this years Derby, resembled the 2007 ride on Derby winner Street Sense. Middle Eastern owned Pioneerof the Nile never knew what hit him as this duo flew past.
      After being shaken up by Mine That Bird, Pioneerof the Nile had to contend with another power-horse Papa Clem, who had been surging upwards after a good start. Battling it out down the stretch with Papa Clem and Musket Man, Pioneerof the Nile prevailed to win runner-up honors by a nose, not what his owners had expected, but better then the rest of the track – excluding Mine That Bird that is.
      After being given the garland made up of nearly 400 roses, owners of Mine That Bird paid tribute to the 2006 Derby winner Barbaro, who’s sculpture stood in front of the Churchill Downs’ Gate 1 entrance. Visitors coming to the Barbaro Memorial and Kentucky Derby Museum the day after the race, got to take a little something of Mine That Bird home with them as co-owner Mark Allen and trainer Chip Woolley handed out roses from the champions garland. “We just want to show how important horses really are. That's what this is all about. We want people to know just how important these horses really are to us. They're not just animals, they're a part of us.”, said the winners trainer.
      Owners Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine, announced that they will be taking Mine That Bird to Maryland to run the $1million dollar Preakness at Pimlico on May 16th.
      It appears this horse was overlooked by the media, maybe because he wasn’t built for speed, but for stamina. In fact his entire pedigree suggests that he’d have no qualms about going the distance. But we’ll never know till he does. We’ve seen the Triple Crown eat great horses alive, or make champions out of ones we didn’t expect. Mine That Bird’s father was the 2004 Belmont winner, Birdstone who took the Triple Crown championship away from Smarty Jones. Birdstone’s first foal crop is showing up this year with some promising prospects. Mine That Bird’s half-brother Summer Bird was also in the derby, but he came up 6th. Both are bred for distance, and have a pedigree filled with winners from different Triple Crown races. Mine That Bird is from the unraced mare Mining My Own, as her first foal I think she did well. The mare is out of Smart Strike, which makes her half sister to two-time Horse of the Year, Curlin. Going back generations on Mine That Bird he’s chock-full-o distance. Will he have what it takes to go the other two legs of the Triple Crown?


Making the Kentucky Oaks Garland
      The day before the Kentucky Derby, the finest fillies get together to strut their stuff in a battle for the lilies and $500,000. The Kentucky Oaks is an annual stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies held at Churchill Downs. Here fillies are expected to finish a one and a quarter mile track while carrying 121 pounds.
      Last years winner was three-year old Proud Spell, earner of $2,131,610 from 13 career starts before being retired. And in 2007, Rags to Riches won the Oaks, as well as being the 3rd filly to ever win the Belmont, and the first one since 1905. The Kentucky Oaks, which marks the first leg of the Filly Triple Crown, has played host to all kinds of Queens. After Rachael Alexandra’s May 1st performance spectators are beginning to wonder if we have another Queen in the making.
      This years Kentucky Oaks looked to be a show down at first, but do to a number of pulls and scratches it was a one-class-act line up. The favorite fillies were Rachel Alexander, Stardom Bound, and Justwhistledixie who latter was scratched due to an abscess in her left front foot. Stardom Bound’s owners, IEAH Stables decided not to race the filly after a flop workout one morning. So with the two fillies who could match Rachel Alexander gone, what’s a girl to do? With the only competition out of the field, no wonder she won by over 20 lengths.
      IEAH Stables had a second filly named Laragh already entered in the Oaks, but she was later pulled to compete in the 25th running of the $115,300 Edgewood, and come out winning. She is half sister to Stardom Bound and cousin to Rachel Alexander by the Irish champion Thoroughbred stallion El Pardo. Some of you might be familiar with IEAH Stables, as they were the owners of champion race horse Big Brown.
      Had Stardom Bound entered and been in her prime, she could have given Rachel Alexandra a run for her money. Prior to the Oaks she was the only filly of this field to win near $2million dollars in 8 races, finishing with 5 firsts, 2 seconds, and a third. Stardom Bound had a winning steak of 5 firsts until she was defeated by Hooh Why and Gozzip Girl in the Ashland Race at Keenland. Her sire Tapid had a decent enough race record, but was a disappointment in the Derby. His progeny however show him to be a better stud then race horse. Her dam My White Corvette was out of the very well-bed 3 times California stakes winner Tarr Road, and she has had

Watch Rachel Alexandra run against the boys May 16th at the Preakness. Check your local TV guide for times.


      Normally I'm selfish in my rants, but the Hobbits wanted me to remind everyone how our Furkids enhance our lives.
      Furkids, be they kitties, puppies, horsies, or a pet rock, aren't just animals. My Hobbits aren't just lazy cats. They're great at finishing left overs. They always attack and eat the killer moth that tries to flutter across the tv during my favorite scene in a movie. They always let me know when someone is at the door. ( they break into 4 part kitty singing. ) Sam monitors toilet paper use. Frodo always reminds me to clean my ears before I leave the house. Pip fancies his skills as a leg warmer while I'm watching Frasier. Merry always knows when I need a cuddle, need an opinoin, or need motivation.
      I, like most pet owners, go out of my way to make sure they have a roof over their heads, food in their bowls, Places to pewp, and enough toys to keep them entertained while I work. They get lots of love and cuddles, are spoiled rotten, and most importantly, they think I make an amazing pet.
      My mother lost one of her 'babies' a few days ago. I just got off the phone with her, and shes still a mess. Sometimes people don't understand how attached we get to out pets, and in many cases they aren't pets at all. They're one of the family.
      When was the last time you picked up a tennis ball and played fetch with your dog? When was the last time you rubbed you cats belly for half of a movie?
      The Hobbits ask that you spend a few extra minutes with your pet. They also ask that you send me cartons of cottage cheese, since they are no longer allowed near the stuff. ( Don't ask. I wont even keep the stuff in the house anymore because of what happens when Pip gets into it :/ )
three previous foals, all of whom place in the money.
      Rachel Alexandra, the current racing favorite and champion filly of the Kentucky Oaks, started her racing career in May of last year by coming in 6th place in the Maiden Special Weight race at Churchill Downs. Two weeks later she competed in that same race to come out on top. Since then she has been in a total of 9 races, with 6 firsts, and 2 seconds. She is by a $5.7million dollar earning son out of Irish champion El Pardo, and a promising mare named Lotta Kim who’s outstanding racing career was cut short when a runaway horse almost cost her her life.

Photo from the 135 Kentucky Oaks

      The next favorite is unrelated to the other two, but was just as promising. Justwhistledixie is out of the million dollar winning sire Dixie Union and a Honour and Glory mare. In all her starts she has not placed worse then 3rd, and since August of last year she has had 7 races, with 5 firsts, and 2 thirds.
      Unlike the Derby, which brought in 20 of the best colts, the Oaks only had a race of 8. With a limited field, and most the class to the side of the track or not entering. It’s not surprising the power-horse Rachel Alexander kept on going.
      Every Derby season, the community of VHR typically favors one particular horse. And with Rachel Alexandra scheduled to run in the Preakness now, I wonder if this girl will be the next idol of worship. A couple of new things have happened in this fillies life this month: she won the Oaks by 20 lengths, she was sold to new owners Harold T. McCormick and Jess Jackson, and has a new trainer Steve Asmussen. The only thing that appears to be consistent is her jockey, Calvin Borel who won the Derby on Mine That Bird the following day. This might not be the smartest career move on his part, seeing as he’ll be the first Derby winning jockey to switch horses for the Preakness since 1945. But in an interview Borel had commented, “I think she's the best in the country right now.”
      I often worry that the current excitement and hype of the racing season, causes people to overlook certain influences, or historic events. I find that people use “worlds greatest horse” and other similar phrases to loosely. Not to take the spot light off of Rachel

Alexandra, but by three years of age, the world has seen a number of Thoroughbred fillies who have accomplished more in that short time.
      Many historians will say Go For Wand was one of the best fillies the 80's bought us, hands down. By two years old she was already four-for-five and was given the 1989 Eclipse Award. The following year she had raced a total of 12 times in her life time, with 10 firsts and 2 seconds, and was once again awarded the 1990 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Three-Year-Old Filly. In the Beldame Stakes she faced older fillies, and nearly shattered Secretariat’s track record. Unfortunately during the 1990 Breeders’ Cup while in the lead, she shattered her right ankle. She lost but she finished the race, and had to be euthanized on the spot.
      Some followers of racing have been comparting Rachel Alexandra to historic filly Lite Light, who’s time in the 1991 Kentucky Oaks matched that of Rachel Alexandra. It was at this point that people thought Lite Light would never loose a race, but in fact she lost her very next one.
      2007 Kentucky Oaks champion Rags To Riches went to play with the boys in the Belmont. It had been over 100 years since a filly had won this race, and she came out on top over all three Derby and Preakness winners.
      The list goes on, Bayakoa, Beldame, Busher, Dance Smartly, Genuine Risk, Hollywood Wildcat, Personal Ensign, Serena's Song, Silverbulletday, Shuvee , TaWee , Zarkava and Zenyatta. Just to name a small few. Rachel Alexandra has just won her first Grade 1 stakes, has already had a surgical operation, and hasn’t run against anything yet that would give reason to call her a champion. So lets wait and see what this filly has to bring on May 16th.

Rachel Alexandra at the 135 Kentucky Oaks

      Greyhound racing is the sport most commonly thought of when discussing dogs and the track. The general concept is the dogs chase a lure all the way to the finish line on a dirt track, the first one that arrives is the winner. In most countries lure racing is just done for enjoyment, but in other countries it’s considered equal to horse racing, and these animals tend to be looked at as strictly a profit maker. As a result Greyhound rescues are very popular these days.

      Many breeds can be used for racing, mostly sight hounds like the Greyhound, Saluki, and Afghan hound. However other dogs are used for different kinds of racing, like the Husky, or even the Dachshund. In some competitions, like flyball, the ideal dog is actually a crossbreed, or mutt. What is racing after all? It’s just setting two or more dogs against each other in a competition where time is graded. It can be on a track like lure racing or dryland mushing, or on an obstacle course like flyball. Objects like bikes, sulkies, carts, sleds, scooters, or skies may be used to team the dogs with humans. Or the race may be on natural terrain with no additional aids, such as Canicross, a popular European cross-country running competition where owner and dog are a team. Who would have thought that a leisurely jog
with your dog in a park would actually be a world wide sport? But then again, who in the world thought of harnessing a dog to a scooter as a sport either.
      Your mushing sports vary based on season and location. During winter time you have sled dog racing, and skijoring. The sport of skijoring, in which a skier is pulled by something over a snow-covered course, is popular wherever there is snow. The course can have jumps and ramps, or just be flat. Some northern countries will have pulka races for fun, which is similar to a weight pulling contest but the dogs start all at once instead of being individually timed. Here a dog is required to pull a small weighted toboggan (a low to the ground sled) along a flat snow course. In summer and spring time when the ground isn’t covered in snow or slush, carting, scootering, and bikejoring contests may be held. In these competitions dogs are still harnessed but trade in their sleds for wheels.
      Coursing sports typically involved a live animal, but now most have switched over to a lure. Dogs may run on a single direction round closed off track, or out in an open field where direction may change depending on the course layout. In these races you see a wider varity of breeds then you do at the track, breeds like the Borzoi, Whippet, and Deerhound are a familiar sight. There are even little dog races for the terriers or doxies.