Long before AQHA initiated the MD Barns Silver Spur award recognizing Quarter Horses’ contributions to the industry, a Texas-bred sorrel stallion had his name listed among the credits in a B-grade, black-and-white film in the spring of 1950.
His name was Texas Dandy, and he was an early – although perhaps unintentional – crusader for Quarter Horse popularity.
Foaled in 1942, Texas Dandy was sired by My Texas Dandy, a renowned sire of sprinters such as the “Iron Horse” Clabber, the first Quarter Horse racing world champion. His dam was Streak, sired by the unregistered stallion Lone Star. The sorrel stallion’s breeder, R. C. Tatum of Gatesville, Texas, regretted letting Texas Dandy get away.
Owner Tom Finley ran Texas Dandy in Tucson, where the 5-year-old won his first two starts. His racing career was rather short-lived; he earned his Register of Merit and was retired to stud duties at Finley’s farm in Gilbert, Arizona, where he covered about 30 Finley broodmares and a few outside mares a year.
Texas Dandy sired only 239 foals, with more than half of that number started in races, and half of those were winners. Of those 239 foals, 137 walked into show rings, and four earned AQHA Champion titles. He is better recognized as a broodmare sire and grandsire to horses that have earned more than $466,000. Twelve won stakes races, three have earned AQHA Champions titles, and 60 performers racked up 2,093.5 performance points.
Texas Dandy took a short break in the middle of his stud career when a Hollywood scout discovered the stallion for a 1950 film, “Boy From Indiana.” Although his racing career ended with three wins from 14 starts, Texas Dandy had no trouble outrunning the camera truck many times during the filming, even when the vehicle had a generous head start.
Texas Dandy died at age 28 in 1970. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1995.