Miss Olene

She made her mark on horse-breeding history by passing along some speedy genes.

From the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum

Miss Olene was a product – and a producer – of American Quarter Horse racing royalty.

Bred and raced by A.B. Green, who also raced Go Man Go and stood the stallion on his Green Pastures stud farm at Purcell, Oklahoma, Miss Olene was by Leo, and her dam was the Patriotic (TB)

mare Barbara L., both parents members of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. A.B. named the mare for his wife’s best friend, Olene Cobb.

Miss Olene was a winner on the Quarter Horse tracks, where she earned $31,022 while compiling a record of 11-3-3 in 33 starts. However, the mare is remembered most for the biggest race she didn’t win, the first running of the All American Futurity. Earlier that summer, Miss Olene finished third in the Ruidoso Futurity and went to post as the favorite in the 11th race at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day 1959. With Richard Lujan in the irons for Jerry Fisher, Miss Olene took the early lead out of the gate, while Tonta Lass broke so hard she lost her rider. But Miss Olene could not maintain the pace and faded to finish third behind Galobar and Panama Ace in what would become Quarter Horse racing’s signature event.

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But at least that was a case of what goes around comes around, with a certain revenge factor that came into play. Just as Galobar ruined Miss Olene’s All American, Table Tennis then ruined Galobar’s first start after the All American, in the trials to the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity in California, and that was followed by Miss Olene winning the Bardella Handicap at Los Alamitos, thus ruining Table Tennis’ first start after winning the PCQHRA final.

It wasn’t her ability as a racehorse that put Miss Olene in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Owned for a time by Vernon Pool and Henry Hurd, both of Oklahoma, and others, the mare later went to New Mexico, where Sarah Henderson and Harriett Peckham made her a mainstay on Peckham’s Buena Suerte Ranch at Roswell. Miss Olene last was owned by Herbert Dillon and Myron Palermo of Houston.

It was her ability, then, as a broodmare that made Miss Olene a Hall of Famer. The dam of the earners of $700,673 on the track in the 1960s and 1970s, Miss Olene produced 17 foals, of which 15 started on the track and 10 came back as winners, four of those in stakes.

Little Blue Sheep, Miss Olene’s 1972 foal by St Bar, was the world champion aged mare twice and produced stakes winners Browns Dasher and Rheaetta, and the stakes-placed The Louisiana Girl, whose six stakes winners include the track-record-setting champion Jess Louisiana Blue, who has sired the earners of more than $7.2 million.

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Miss Olene produced Little Blue Sheep’s full sisters Miss Angel Eyes, who won the Kansas Futurity and was third in Hall of Famer Rocket Wrangler’s Rainbow Futurity, and went on to produce one stakes winner and three other winners from five starters; and Takeme Freely, who won the Debutante Handicap and was third in Game Plan’s Bay Meadows Futurity, and produced three starters, all winners. Miss Olene was also the dam of Rillito Derby winner Master’s Angel by Master Hand (TB), who produced six winners from seven starters.

Miss Olene also produced the stakes-placed Bar Tonto mare Prissy Olene and Little Bar Olene, a Three Bars (TB) filly who was second in the 1965 Rainbow futurity and earned points at halter to become an AQHA Champion. And one of her unraced foals went on to produce a black-type performer, Teenie Weenie becoming the dam of the stakes-winning Cashcan ($114,012).

Miss Olene continued the royal line.

“If you take the money that her babies earned in the ’60s and ’70s and factored it in today’s dollars, you’d have millions,” says Frank Merrill, an AQHA past president. “When you look at Miss Olene’s place in history, you see that she was just one of those great ‘blue hens’ that left her mark on the breed.”

Miss Olene was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2013.

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