Vandy's Flash

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2016

Vandy’s Flash was the first gelding to be the world champion racing American Quarter Horse.

“A horse of his caliber deserved great respect, and he got it,” wrote Quarter Horse historian Nelson Nye. “In his best years, not a bangtail could touch him. He took the best quarter racing could throw at him and, pretty near laughing, ran plumb away, furnishing sportswriters with reams of ecstatic copy.”

Bred by Dee Garrett of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the world champion gelding was by Garrett’s stallion Vandy and was foaled in 1954 out of the Leo mare Garrett’s Miss Pawhuska.

With speed to burn, Vandy’s Flash stood atop the world. But it was not only speed that got him there. The gelding was as tough and hard-knocking as a horse could be. Unraced as a 2-year-old, he was sent to the track at 3 in 1957, where in his first season of racing, he won six of 19 races.

Vandy’s Flash followed as a 4-year-old in 1958 with a win in the Ruidoso Maturity and the title as champion gelding.

“Then, in 1960, he showed everyone and his uncle why he got so much space from sportswriters,” Nye wrote. “From 13 starts, he took seven, placed in two and showed in one, collecting bankable assets in excess of $38,000 while running against the best horses in training.”

Vandy’s Flash opened the 1960 season with a 350-yard track record, and less than a month later set a :21.7 world record at the quarter mile in the Los Alamitos Championship. He wrapped up his world championship campaign by becoming the first horse to win both the Los Alamitos Championship and the Autumn Championship in the same year.

Vandy’s Flash raced another four years, setting a track record at Sacramento and outrunning champions in the Barbra B Handicap at Los Alamitos.

Vandy’s Flash went into retirement in December 1964 after winning more races than any sprinter before him. The gelding exited the track with 28 wins from 106 lifetime starts, including another 15 seconds and 11 thirds. With 71 finishes in the money, Vandy’s Flash earned $101,848.

That was, noted Nye, “a pretty fair score in anyone’s language.”