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By Plugged In Equine MarketingPress ReleaseMarch 14, 2014
In this 1970 photo, Sonny and Weetona Stanley sit with Marvin and Lela Barnes.
On Remington Park’s 2014 opening weekend, Im A Fancy PYC breaks her maiden in her first start. First Prize Shaunda wins her allowance in preparation for the Decketta Stakes (G3). First Prize Parisa wins by 2 ½ lengths in the Oklahoma Futurity (G3) trials to set the third-fastest qualifying time. What do these fillies all have in common, other than the obvious attraction to the winner’s circle? The name Weetona Stanley appears on their papers, a name stamped on the papers of $1.8 million in money earners from a mere 35 starters in 2013 alone.
From a modest farm two miles outside of Madill, Oklahoma, population 2,000, sits a little nest of Quarter Horse superstars. Some of the highest flying horses not only in the state of Oklahoma but in the Quarter Horse world have hatched from this nest. Since the early 1960s, the Stanley family has not only raised, sold, and raced Oklahoma-bred racehorses, but they have created an unparalleled legacy in Quarter Horse racing.
Weetona Stanley, born February 21, 1926, lost her husband, A.F. “Sonny” Stanley in 1993. Since then, she has carried on her late husband’s breeding business along with their sons Stan, Steve and Fred.
“Dad always said to throw the sale catalog and pedigree sheets away,” said Fred. “You breed for a runner and when you come with that runner, they’ll offer you more money than you can spend. When you’re in the winner’s circle, you’ve got their attention.”
This blue-collar breeding program has had the industry’s attention for nearly half a century. They are the breeders of all-time leading sire First Down Dash as well as 2013 leading sire Heza Fast Dash.
Stanley bred matriarch mare First Prize Dash, the only broodmare to have ever produced four Grade 1 winners at Remington Park. The full sister to First Down Dash has produced more than $2.3 million in money earners, securing the No. 8 place on AQHA’s list of all-time leading dams by money earned, much of which has been won at Remington Park.
First Prize Dash’s daughters have already shown promise to be equally impressive as dominant producers. One of her top money earners is Grade 1 winner First Carolina, who earned $415,047. In 2013 alone, her foals earned $969,369, including Rainbow Futurity (G1) winner Ms First Prize Rose, Remington Park Oklahoma Bred Futurity (R) winner Coronado Cartel, and Firecracker Futurity (G2) runner-up Itea. First Carolina also found herself sitting at No. 3 on AQHA’s 2013 list of leading dams.
In a changing of the guard of sorts, we see a new class of Weetona Stanley-bred runners make headlines at Remington Park. With First Prize Parisa aimed at the March 22 Oklahoma Futurity finals, the dynasty shows no sign of weakening. First Prize Parisa is out of a full sister to First Carolina and First Prize Leesa, First Prize Dash’s leading earner at $488,270. Both mares broke their maidens in first starts at Remington Park and scored wins in the Heritage Futurity (G1) and Remington Park Futurity (G1), respectively.
Will we see Weetona Stanley this year at Remington Park? Probably not, she prefers to stay close to home to keep an eye on all of her mares and foals. When her sons offered to build a carport for protection from the Oklahoma weather, the 88-year-old horsewoman wouldn’t hear of it, saying, “No you’re not. I won’t be able to see my mares and colts and you never know when something’s going to need some help. I want to be able to see my horses.”
She’s a product of the depression, lived through the dust bowl and has stayed the course in Quarter Horse racing, never failing to think big. She is Weetona Stanley.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, watch the AQHA Racing Newscast and visit www.aqharacing.com.
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