Prestwich began showing Hollywood Jac as a 3-year-old, and he started to accumulate reining points almost immediately. In his first trip to the Minnesota State Fair, one of the biggest reinings in the upper Midwest, Jac placed third in the junior reining. The next year as a 4-year-old, he won it. The following year he won it again as a senior horse. But on one of those occasions, Jac literally made an impact.
“We were showing at the Minnesota State Fair and he stopped so hard that he slid about 50 feet and hit the wall,” recalled Prestwich. “Boy, those guys were really screaming. But the judge said, ‘As long as he didn’t fall down, he’s going to win the reining.’ And he did win the reining!”
It was during that same time when Hollywood Jac made a strong first impression on Tim McQuay, a reining horse trainer who has since become legendary himself for his association with this family line. Tim, who now lives in Tioga, Tex., was living in Minnesota at the time.
“I saw Hollywood Jac when Spain still owned him, and I fell in love with him then,” McQuay acknowledged. “I don’t know how to explain it. It was a different style back then. But he was a great stopper. He’d just curl up in a ball, bury his butt, and slide for what seemed like forever. He just had his own style.”
McQuay remembers watching Prestwich and Jac win the tough senior reining class at the Minnesota State Fair. When the duo came back the next day to compete in the reining stake, Prestwich really called on the horse. When Spain asked Jac to back up, the horse went into reverse with so much speed that he lost his footing and went down. The glitch only served to heighten McQuay’s respect for Hollywood Jac. He recognized that the stallion’s talent was exceeded only by the size of his heart.
Although Jac didn’t look like the kind of horse who could stir up controversy, he sure enough did. He had so much ability and try that judges tended to look past his mistakes. Prestwich recalls another ruckus they caused at a northern Minnesota horse show.
“I remember it was a long arena, and when I came out of a rollback, my saddle slipped to the side. So I stood up and started to straighten it, and the horse just buried his butt and started sliding. There wasn’t supposed to be a stop there, so I kicked him out of it. Well, there was one particular trainer who was mad because we won the reining anyway. He said for all rights and purposes, we’d broke pattern. The judge looked at the trainer and said, ‘No, that horse scotched, so I knocked him 3 points because it was a bad scotch, but he still beat you by 2 points.”‘
Of course, the judges weren’t the only ones taking stock of Hollywood Jac’s talent. Richard Greenberg was in the stands one day watching a versatility class in Madison, Wis., when Spain rode in on Jac. Clark Bradley, another respected reining horse trainer, sat beside him. As they watched Jac work, Bradley commented that the palomino looked like a pretty nice horse. Since Greenberg was in the market for a non-pro horse, Bradley suggested that Richard try to buy him.
Greenberg tracked down Prestwich after the class to ask if the horse was for sale. Although Prestwich and Greenberg have slightly different versions of what transpired, the bottom line was, Spain was in no hurry to part with Hollywood Jac 86. Prestwich had once sold Jac as a 3-year-old to a Minneapolis police officer named AI Crepeau. When Crepeau lost interest 5 months later, Prestwich was happy to take the horse back.
Incidentally, Crepeau never transferred Jac’s papers into his name, but he did briefly stand him at stud, advertising his services for a $75 fee.
However, it wasn’t long after Greenberg made his inquiry that Prestwich’s situation changed. He was purchasing a farm and needed capital. So he called Greenberg on a Monday morning to find out if he was still interested in buying the horse. The price was $3,000. He could deliver him that evening.