Top Deck

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1990

Top Deck

Blackjack dealers pull cards off the top of the deck.  For the players, the card could be a low card or the ace they need.  For J. B. Ferguson, Top Deck (TB) was the ace he needed to win the game.

Top Deck (TB) was foaled in 1945 on the King Ranch.  The colt was sired by Equestrian and out of River Boat, by Chicaro.  The colt boasted such ancestors as Equipoise, Man O'War and Sir Gallahad III.  Bred to run, Top Deck was unable to race due to an injury.

Robert Kleberg Jr., president of the King Ranch, either sold or gave the 2-year-old to Ernest Lane, of Odom, Texas.  No one is sure which story is true.  Either way, Lane bred Top Deck to a few mares.  One of the mares was owned by J. B. Ferguson of Wharton, Texas.  The mare, Skippy F, foaled Stardeck F, winner of the Texas Futurity and a AAA runner.

In 1952, Ferguson bred another mare to Top Deck, and the following spring, the mare foaled a roan colt.  As a yearling, Go Man Go showed great promise as a racehorse and Ferguson decided he needed Top Deck.  So in 1954, Ferguson paid $20,000 for the brown stallion.  A huge sum in those days, but Ferguson had a feeling about the Thoroughbred.

Top Deck stood at Ferguson’s ranch from 1954 through 1959, and the rancher had trouble booking the stallion.  Ferguson advertised the stallion’s successful offspring, Stardeck F, Amber Star and Moon Deck, all AAA offspring.  He also listed all the good AA runners by Top Deck, but it did not help.

So in 1960, Ferguson leased the stallion to A. B. Green of Purcell, Oklahoma.  Top Deck was moved to Green’s ranch, where he became an overnight success.  Around 1962, Green bought half-interest in the stallion.

Top Deck sired 405 foals.  Of these, 228 earned Registers of Merit, five were world champions and earned 15 world championships.  Among the noted get of Top Deck were Go Man Go, Top Flight, Decketta, Barbara 3 and Moon Deck, sire of Jet Deck.

The stallion died in 1965 at 20.  He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1990.