Louisiana Hosts Richest Futurity in Its History

Evangeline Downs to host the first $1 million futurity in Louisiana history.

By Richard Chamberlain
Q-Racing Journal
November 16, 2012


This weekend, for the first time in the long and distinguished history of Cajun racing, American Quarter Horses are set to run for a seven-figure purse in Louisiana. On November 17, fastest qualifier T Boy C and nine other freshmen will go to post for the $1 million-guaranteed Louisiana QHBA Breeders’ Futurity (RG1) at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas. Last year, the 400-yard race carried a purse of $517,844 and was won by Rapid Transit.

It’s high time for the high-figure purse. Many of the fastest sprinters on earth today trace to the backwater bayous and dripping deltas of southern Louisiana. From Dewey and Old DJ to Go Man Go and First Down Dash, Della Moore to Streakin La Jolla, Mr Jess Perry and One Famous Eagle, Acadiana is the cradle of the modern racing American Quarter Horse. Long after short-distance sprinters were supplanted by route horses in most parts of this nation, horsemen from Lafayette, Ville Platte, Abbeville, Jeanerette, Carencro and, yes, Opelousas – more commonly known as the Cajun country – were still breeding and racing horses fast enough to water the eyes of their riders.

“The golden age of Louisiana sprinters began when Dewey was imported in 1900 and reached its peak in the 1930s when Flying Bob began producing colts and fillies with blazing speed,” wrote Bob Denhardt in his book “The Quarter Running Horse”. “It did not take the Southwest long to realize that if you couldn’t beat them, you’d better join them, and a long train of buyers began beating a path to the Cajun country for horses.”

Flying Bob was one of the first outstanding sires recognized by the American Quarter Racing Association. During AQRA’s 1944-45 racing season, two of his get, Queenie and Dee Dee, were the champion mare and champion stallion, respectively, while Flying Bob was the first sire to be represented by simultaneous champions and was AQRA’s horse of the year. A son of Chicaro, a Thoroughbred who had displayed blazing speed at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Flying Bob was bred by Noah Zeringue, a sugarcane farmer at Erath, Louisiana.

That was but the beginning. Go Man Go’s dam, the Very Wise (TB) mare Lightfoot Sis, was a Cajun match racer that J.B. Ferguson brought to Texas to breed the legendary “Roan Rogue”, the three-time world champion who in turn became a leading sire of racing Quarter Horses all across the country.

The Cajun horses weren’t limited to speed, however. The folks in the bayou country expected class in whatever endeavor they chose for their horses. Leo, for example, was as fine an all-around sire as there ever was, and traced both top and bottom to Della Moore. Dee Dee was out of a mare by Doc Horn, a Remount stallion that stood in Lafayette Parish, where another Doc Horn mare became the dam of Lightning Bar, a leading speed sire in the 1950s who also sired Doc Bar, whose descendants include some of the finest cutting horses to ever look at a cow.

Flying Bob finished his stud career in Texas, Leo made his name in Oklahoma, Dee Dee stood in California and Oregon, Lightning Bar was in Arizona, and Go Man Go wound up in New Mexico. So while the Cajun country is known for its culture, food and music, it also deserves a salute for its horses. Consider Dash For Cash, who through the dam of Rocket Wrangler traced to Chicaro and Go Man Go, or Mr Jess Perry, who was bred in Louisiana and won five of his first six races at Delta Downs. Wherever they are now – on ranches or racetracks, pastures and paddocks, in show rings or rodeo arenas – today’s American Quarter Horses hold testament to horses from the Cajun country. And on Saturday night, they run for $1 million at Evangeline Downs.

The LQHBA Breeders’ Futurity is the ninth race on Saturday’s card with a post time of 9 p.m..

Tom Dawson and Chris Kotulak will host a one hour program dedicated to the race, starting at 8:15 p.m. They will also provide enhanced simulcast coverage of the race card. The coverage can be seen on Q-Racing Video at www.qracingvideo.com, and any ADW outlet that carries the Evangeline Downs signal. The program is sponsored by AQHA and the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association.

The field from the rail out, including jockey:

Perrys Runaway (Donald Watson)
Bigtime Beau (G.R. Carter Jr.)    
T Boy C (Raul Ramirez Jr.)
Heza Lucky Charm (Alfonso Lujan)
Cougar Hill (Jerry Lee Yoakum)
Open Me a Corona (David Alvarez)
Logans Mountain (John Hamilton)
Dashin Gage (Stevie Gillum)
Heza Fast Snow (Danny Lavergne)
Special Fine Corona (Floriberto Maldonado)