Breeder and owner A.C. Taylor is raising fast horses in Oklahoma.
By OQHRA | April 15, 2014
When you look at the lists of qualifiers each year to the major Quarter Horse futurities, you can’t help but notice a lot of the same names year after year under the breeder or owner columns. And rightfully so, these successful breeders and owners are the backbone of our industry. Specials Jamie, this year’s fastest qualifier to the Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Futurity (R) has a lot of people asking the question, “Who is A.C. Taylor?”
A native Oklahoman from Cherokee descent, A.C. Taylor along with his wife, Connie, own a small breeding operation they run under the name T Bar Ranch in Seminole, Oklahoma. In the last three years, A.C. Taylor has been listed in AQHA’s top 200 leading breeders by earnings and he’s done so with only two broodmares, American Dove, by Toast To Dash and the late Special Anywhere, by Make It Anywhere. Special Anywhere is the dam of Specials Jamie, an embryo foal and one of her last two foals born the year she died during foaling.
“I decided to keep 'Jamie' after Special Anywhere passed away,” said Taylor. “I am hoping she will eventually replace her mother in my breeding program.
"We bought Special Anywhere as a yearling and raced her,” recalls Taylor. “She was a stakes winner and won the first ever Cherokee Challenge Race at Will Rogers in 2007. Special Anywhere has had three foals to race, one graded stakes winner (Specials Gold, $106,959), one graded stakes placed (Specialscountrychick, $109,952), and of course one finalist to the Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Futurity (Specials Jamie).
"American Dove has had five to start and each one has been a winner, one stakes winner (The American Corona) and one stakes placed (Spit Curl American).” Her 2012 foal, a gelding named American Ivory, is owned by Alexia Mehrle. The Ivory James 2-year-old won his schooling race on March 6, posting the fourth-fastest time from fifteen schooling races and won his trial heat to the Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Futurity.
Carefully selecting a stallion to breed his mares to each and every year is a task Taylor does not take lightly. When asked what his secret to success in the breeding business is, he will tell you he looks not only at a stallion’s race record, but most importantly the bottom side of the stallion’s pedigree.
“I pay a lot of attention to that bottom side,” said Taylor. “Probably more attention than to the topside.”
He credits his eye for a good horse to his father who was a cowboy and roping horse trainer.
“He taught me everything I needed to know about conformation and what to look for in a good horse.”
While Taylor sure likes to talk about his horses, he will also tell you how proud he is of his family. A.C. and Connie have 10 grandchildren, two of which are students at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Jillian, a senior, has been a member of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band for four years. She is a trumpet player and graduates this spring with a degree in communications. Jillian’s younger sister, Olivia, is a freshman at the university. An Arkansas 6A 3200-meter State Champion, Olivia was invited to walk on to OU’s track program and made the team.
Family is a priority in the Taylor home. Each Christmas for the past 10 years, A.C. and Connie have hosted a playday for all the children, grandchildren and great grand-children in lieu of gifts. The entire family meets at the Seminole ranch the day after Christmas. The following morning, they depart for their destination in rented van large enough for the entire family. Each year, Grandpa and Grandma put a lot of thought and planning into making the trip a success.
“An educational stop, followed by a fun stop,” says Taylor with a smile. “In the past we have visited such places as museums, art galleries, the Chickasaw Cultural Center, the Jenks Aquarium, snow tubing at the ballpark, ice skating in Bricktown, and most recently a day-trip to Dallas to watch a theater production of The Wizard of Oz. These playdays are filled with entertainment and, most of all, something you can’t put a price on… memories.”
You can bet Grandpa’s college girls will be at the races this Saturday in support of his homebred in the richest Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Futurity to date. Earlier in the day, he will travel to Norman to cheer on Olivia in her race. OU will be hosting the John Jacobs Memorial track meet in Norman Saturday beginning at 11. Olivia will be competing in the 3000-meter event. Here’s hoping both of the “Taylor-bred” ladies run fast this weekend.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, watch the AQHA Racing Newscast and visit www.aqharacing.com.