Overnight Pow Wow looks to continue McKee legacy

Virtually from the time that she saw the filly hit the ground at Beau Ridge Farm, Cynthia McKee attempted to convince her late husband, breeder John McKee, to give her Overnight Pow Wow.

Certainly the bloodlines were there. Overnight Pow Wow is a full-sister to prominent West Virginia-breds Late Night Pow Wow, a graded stakes winner; Muad’dib, just shy of a million dollars in earnings; and the emerging Duncan Idaho.

But John McKee insisted he would only share ownership of the then-weanling filly with his wife and offered to sell her a one-half interest in the daughter of Fiber Sonde out of their productive broodmare Holy Pow Wow. Previously John McKee had sold the full siblings for $80,000 each, so he insisted that his wife ante up exactly one-half: $40,000.

“When it came to selling his yearlings, John set a price, and he was going to sell to the first person that brought the check for that amount,” Cynthia McKee said of her late husband. “When Overnight Pow Wow hit the ground, I just fell in love with her. I told John I wanted her, but he wouldn’t give her to me. He insisted on keeping one-half of her and he wanted to sell me the other half. He knew that I had the money, so I gave him the $40,000 for my half. Of course, since he passed away, all of the horses became mine, but I had to write him a check for $40,000 at the time.”

Overnight Pow Wow missed her freshman season partly due to a minor injury, an abscess in one of her hind hooves that nevertheless required ample time to heal. She was then poised to make her career debut in January, but the combination of a sloppy track and a minor illness prompted McKee to scratch her that night and wait three weeks until another one-turn maiden special weight for state-bred three-year-old fillies appeared in the conditioned book.

When Overnight Pow Wow finally made her career debut on Valentine’s Day, February 14 at Charles Town, she was made the 9-10 favorite from the rail with Reshawn Latchman aboard. But in the saddling enclosure before the race, Overnight Pow Wow tossed Latchman then darted up the hill and nearly made her way to the track before being corralled by Javier Contreras, trainer of her talented older sister Late Night Pow Wow.


Overnight Pow Wow did not have any further issues being saddled again or loading into the starting gate. But when the gates opened for that event, the sophomore filly broke a step slow and spotted her rivals three lengths before leaving the chute.

Once she settled into stride, however, Overnight Pow Wow was all business, rushing up under stout restraint to join the leaders.

“When she tossed Reshawn in the paddock, I thought this was going to be a long night,” McKee said. “But thankfully Javier got her before she could get onto the track. When she broke slow I thought she was in trouble. But she got back into the race right away and she was just pulling her way up there.”

Overnight Pow Wow
Overnight Pow Wow won at first asking at Charles Town. Photo by Coady Photography.

Nearing the lane, Latchman had his filly under a stranglehold while awaiting room. Then leader Margarita Sunset drifted off the fence, opening an inviting seam, and Overnight Pow Wow slipped through it and drew off to a four-length score while stopping the timer in 53.29 for the 4 1/2-furlong dash distance.

“I was screaming for her to get room [at the top of the lane], and when she did she went right through there and won easily,” McKee said. “I wish John had been there to see her win. I know he would have been hollering the whole time.”

Overnight Pow Wow will likely point to an allowance race next out and perhaps make her stakes debut in one of a couple of upcoming dash stakes, the April 27 It’s Binn Too Long for three-year-old fillies and the June 1 Fancy Buckles for fillies and mares.

Although the full-sister to Late Night Pow Wow and Muad’dib – runners with combined earnings of over $1.6 million – appears to have a very bright future, she is currently only the second-best sophomore filly in the McKee barn. Direct the Cat, last season’s champion West Virginia-bred two-year-old filly, won three stakes to close her 2023 campaign and owns the “best sophomore filly in the McKee barn” title until further notice.

“When Reshawn came back to the winner’s circle the other night, he said that this filly scared him,” McKee said. “But not because she tossed him and then didn’t break that sharp. He said she might be better than Direct the Cat. I know that’s a long way away from finding out. I want to keep them apart as long as I can.”