Della Moore

Her blood runs through ranch horses, show horses and sprinters.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Foaled on the farm of Ludovic Stemmans a few miles north of Scott, Louisiana, Della Moore’s ancestry is shrouded in the mists that fog the bayous of the area. Various reports have her born as early as 1903 and as late as 1915 (the latter is more likely), out of a mare that had outrun everything in the country. Just who or what the mare was is open to conjecture. There at least seems to be universal agreement on Della Moore’s sire. According to historian Robert Denhardt, when it came time for Stemmans to breed his mare, he first planned to take her to Dewey, reputedly the fastest stallion in Louisiana. Before the mating, however, Dewey was matched against a young upstart Thoroughbred.

Dewey lost, and Stemmen’s mare went to the newcomer, a stallion named Dedier, often listed in pedigrees as Old DJ.

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Bred and born to run, Della Moore had won several races by the time she was 2. Pretty soon, she was sporting quite a reputation around Lafayette, and it became impossible to match her. According to some reports, she was then sold to Demonstran Broussard, while others say she went to Zan Rasberry. In either case, Della Moore was next bought by Boyd Simar, a trainer from Abbeville. Figuring Texas was ripe for the picking, Boyd boarded up one end of a boxcar for a stall, threw a bedroll on the opposite end for himself, and he and the mare rolled off across the Sabine River. Taking in piles of money from quarter-mile match races around Texas, Della Moore was a much-feared competitor and a much-sought commodity. Boyd finally sold Della Moore to a rancher from Granger, Henry Lindsay. In 1920, the mare wound up at a race meet in San Antonio. While there, she caught the eye of a legendary Thoroughbred sprinter named Joe Blair. One night, the stablehands were having themselves quite a game of craps, interrupted only by the banging, kicking, squealing, nickering and general carrying-on of the stallion and mare. By about 2 in the morning, the hands decided that to have any peace at all, they would have to turn the stallion in with the mare. Several months later, neither Henry nor the mare’s trainer, Will O’Neal, could figure out what was wrong. Despite all efforts to keep her in shape, Della Moore was getting fatter and fatter. Finally, Della Moore dropped a colt. After months of trying to draw the mare down, she was in no shape to nurse a colt. Della Moore went back to racing, while her baby was raised on a bottle. A year later, while still scrawny, the colt had something that tipped off the owner to put out numerous inquiries about the breeding of his little runt. When finally someone confessed, Harry figured he might be on to a nice kind of racehorse. He was right. That foal, Joe Reed, was the third horse registered with AQHA. He sired a host of fine horses, including Joe Reed II, the sire of Leo.

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In the meantime, Della Moore had attracted the attention of another couple of masters, Ott Adams and George Clegg. Adams owned Little Joe, but by the early ’20s, Little Joe was starting to show his age. When Adams saw Della Moore, he thought that her femininity would cross well on Little Joe’s compact masculinity. In 1922, Adams coughed up $600 for Della Moore. Her first foal with Little Joe was a filly, and then Adams could only get Della Moore in foal every other year. In 1925, she foaled Grano De Oro, who went on to become a successful sire. In March 1927, Della Moore foaled the colt that Adams had sought, a little bay he named Joe Moore, who became the worthy successor of Little Joe and the equal of Joe Reed. Della Moore died December 5, 1931, on Adam’s ranch in Alice, Texas. But her blood lives on ranches, on the track and in the arena.