Breeders will often seek out and buy mares sired by a
certain stallion because that stallion is noted for his
outstanding daughters. The broodmare sire holds a
special place in the Quarter Horse industry. No one is
likely to dispute the fact that the lasting influence of
the great sire Leo has been as a broodmare sire. Leo has
been described by many authorities as "the ultimate" and
"the greatest" broodmare sire in the Quarter Horse
industry. Leo's legacy as a broodmare sire developed
over a period of years when Leo, King and Three Bars
were establishing their status as foundation sires in
the modern Quarter Horse.
reportedly won 20 of 22 starts while running at Pawhuska,
Oklahoma. He was A rated as a runner from one official start
in 1944. Leo was raced in Old Mexico but his record below
the border is unknown. Leo became a leading sire of stakes
winners with 29, of race ROM with 211, of show ROM with 33,
AQHA Champions with 24 and, of course, he is the leading
maternal grandsire of AQHA Champions with 57. His daughters
have produced 753 racing ROM and 44 stakes winners. J.W.
House of Cameron, Texas, was the breeder of Leo. House
bought the great sire Joe Reed and used him to breed the
likes of Joe Reed II and Little Fanny. He then mated Joe
Reed II with Little Fanny to get Leo. Leo was a 1940 foal.
House later sold all four of these horses, spreading their
influence around the southwest. Joe Reed went to Dr. J.J.
Slankard of Elk City, Oklahoma. Bert Wood took Joe Reed II
and Little Fanny to Arizona. Lester J. Manning bought Leo
and took him to Eagle Pass, Texas, to begin his race career.
Leo made his first start at Eagle Pass at 18 months of age.
Bill Morgan, an Oklahoma trainer, saw Leo run and negotiated
for John Tillman to purchase him from Manning. Tillman took
Leo to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, to race during 1942-43, where Leo
became known as the "Pawhuska Powerhouse." Leo ran 22 races
during this time. He reportedly met and defeated such good
runners as Cyclone, Red Sails, Good Eye and Johnny Barnes.
Leo lost only two races while running at Pawhuska. He was
matched with two different mares on consecutive weekends.
Bill Rowe and Max Michaelis were the men that teamed to beat
Leo and break the bank at Pawhuska with two Louisiana race
mares. Punkin was the first mare to defeat Leo. She was by
Flying Bob and out of a mare by Old D.J. Punkin stumbled at
the start but managed a half length victory. Lady
(later registered as Randle's Lady) defeated Leo the next
weekend. She was sired by Doc Horn, an army remount
thoroughbred, and her dam was an Old D.J. mare. (Some
pedigrees show her dam to be by a son of Old D.J.) Leo
and Lady reportedly ran head and head for 200 yards with
Lady pulling away to win by more than half a length.
Rowe and Michaelis had pulled off the impossible - they had
beaten Leo in two straight weekends. Bud Warren
eventually purchased Randle's Lady and she became one of his
great producers. She was the dam of Leo's great son Croton
Oil and the great Leo mares South Pacific and Rosa Leo. Rosa
Leo was the dam of Warren's great runner Jet Charger.
Enrique Salinas was the next owner of Leo. Salinas took Leo
back to Eagle Pass and then into Mexico. Leo's race record
in Mexico is not known to have been published. His racing
career came to an end when he was injured in a trailer
accident that nearly cut off his front legs. Salinas sold
Leo to Bill Rowe. According to the Quarter Horse Journal
story "A Basis For Performance," by Richard Chamberlain,
Helen Michaelis was responsible for Leo's recovery from the
trailer accident. Helen was the wife of Max Michaelis and
the owner of Punkin. Bob Gray in his biography of Leo,
'The Story Of Leo," Horseman magazine, November 1967,
indicated that Rowe leased Leo to August W. Lohman of
Foraker, Oklahoma, as a breeding stallion. Rowe later
carried Leo to his new ranch in New Mexico.
Rowe found that his new ranch was not suited to standing a
stallion and he sent Leo back to Oklahoma where he sold him
to Gene Moore. Bud Warren of Perry, Oklahoma, bought
Leo in 1947 from Moore for $2,500. Warren was criticized for
buying Leo, an unproven sire with bad knees and a stifle
injury. The stifle injury occurred when an unruly mare
kicked Leo while he was owned by Moore.
Warren's description of Leo may give us some insight into
why he ignored the criticism and bought Leo. Warren was a
self described true "short horseman" that was looking for
power for that quick burst of speed. This is what he had to
say about his great stallion. "Leo was something else, he
was the most muscular horse I've ever seen to this day. He
looked like a wrestler. He looked like he could whip any
stud that you could turn in the lot with him."
Warren continued, "He was so muscular that he looked like a
weight lifter in a man. Just so powerful all over. He was
not thorougbredy. He was kind of high headed and real high
in the wither, but he was a musk ox. He would knock your eye
out to look at him. He looked like a bear." "He
certainly didn't look like a thoroughbred at all. But he had
binding speed and power and that combined with some of the
other refinements of the thoroughbred and made great short
runnin' horses and, of course, in those days we didn't run
very far - 300 yards was a pretty good distanced Leo was a
proven short distance runner that was built for power and a
look at his pedigree tells where his speed came from Leo's
double grandsire, Joe Reed, was sired by the speedy
thoroughbred Joe Blair, The dam of Joe Reed was the great
Louisiana race mare Delia Moore.
Joe Blair, the race horse, will be remembered as the horse
that ran second to Pan Zarita when she set a world record
for 5/8 of a mile. Joe Blair reportedly set his own record
for 3.5 furlongs in :39. Delia Moore was sired by Old
DJ„ the famous Louisiana broodmare sire, she was out of
Belle by a horse named Shamrock.
Delia Moore reportedly ran the quarter in :22 and is the
mother of two important sires in Joe Reed and Joe Moore.
Joe Moore was sired by Ott Adam's great sire Little Joe, the
grandsire of King P-234, Joe Reed was reportedly bred by
Henry Lindsay, who raced Delia Moore.
Lindsay actually handled Delia Moore for a Mrs. Moore of
Houston, Texas. Legend has it that Delia Moore was
stabled next to Joe Blair at the track. Joe Blair and
Delia Moore were given the opportunity to mate when they
disturbed a poker game with their noise. Delia Moore
was in heat and the poker players put them together to keep
the commotion down.
A second version comes from Lloyd Gary as it was told to him
by Gabriel Strauss, the jockey of Delia Moore. According to
Strauss, Delia Moore was on the verge of being returned to
Louisiana and he took the opportunity to have the aging
Delia Moore bred to Joe Blair. But fate stepped in and
Delia Moore was sold to Mrs. Moore. The new owner was
unaware that Delia Moore was carrying the legendary Joe Reed
P-3. Lindsay kept the foal from the unplanned mating
because he was Delia Moore's son. Joe Reed went on to be a
good race horse and more importantly, a great sire.
Joe Reed II and Little Fanny show outcross speed in their
female families. Joe Reed II is out of Nellene, a Quarter
mare by Fleeting Time (TB). Fleeting Time was by High Time
by Ultimus. High Time was a linebred Domino stallion.
Domino is a major source of speed in the pedigree of today's
sprinting thoroughbred and Quarter Running Horses.
Nellene was out of the Quarter mare Little Red Nell that
carried the blood of Quarter Horse foundation sires Old
Billy and Traveler. Little Fanny was out of Fanny Ashwell by
the thoroughbred stallion Ashwell. Fanny Ashwell was out of
Fanny Richardson who was out of Sister Fanny. According to
Nelson Nye "all four of these mares had track performance
records and were highly considered." He reported that Sister
Fanny had 65 starts with an amazing 62 wins.
Joe Reed II was raced in Arizona at the same time as his son
Leo was running in Oklahoma. He started three times with
three wins in 1942-43. He impressed his opponents so much
that they made him the Champion Quarter Running Stallion for
the year. His title came when he defeated the likes of
former World Champion Clabber while running on three good
feet. He had injured himself doing ranch work and the bad
foot never healed properly.
Ralph Dye's story, "Leo Was A Mighty Horse," (Quarter Racing
World, November 1973) tells us that Little Fanny had two
starts as a 2 year old and then she was bred to Joe Reed II.
Little Fanny produced seven foals by Joe Reed II and they
include the ROM runners Leo, A; Firebrand Reed, AA and
Little Sister W, AAA. Warren stated with assurance in
a 1984 interview that Leo was a "combination of genes that
clicked." He added that they would breed Leo to any mare
"because the mare owner knew what he wanted, Leo crossed
with mares from the Little Joe sire line, the Joe Hancock
sire line, Oklahoma Star sire line, King sire line and the
Three Bars sire line.
Warren's first foals by Leo were Leota W and Flit. Leota W and Flit became successful race
horses and hold the distinction of placing first and second
in the first organized Quarter Horse futurity, Leota W out
ran Flit in the premier running of the Oklahoma Futurity.
Leota W and Flit have each played a major role in the
success of their sire.
Leota W raced 16 times for Warren,
winning 14 of them. Warren readily admitted that Leota W
could "easily have been the best" he'd raced and he was sure
she was the "best looking." He reinforced that by saying
that she raced with the best and had held her own against
Leota W was a good representative of
Leo's ability to "nick" with most any type of mare. Warren
was advised by fellow horsemen not to buy Swamp Angel.
According to Warren, he paid $30 for the "little ole bay
mare" and she foaled "a beautiful filly," Leota W was the
"big bay" Swamp Angel foaled. She developed into a good mare
with the "biggest hindleg" he'd even seen. Leo and
Swamp Angel produced four ROM foals Including the AAA/AQHA
Champion Leoitta. Leolita was owned by Ed Honnen of Denver,
Colorado. The Leo/Swamp Angel foals have an
Interesting pedigree. They are linebred to Delia Moore
through Joe Reed and one of her other sons Grano De Oro.
Leota W's dam. Swamp Angel, is sired by Grano De Oro, a son
of Little Joe. This makes Grano De Oro a full brother
to Joe Moore, the stallion Ott Adams bred to replace Little
Joe. This makes Leota W 4 X 4 X 3 linebred to Delia Moore.
Leota W was a very successful runner that became a
successful producer as the dam of several AAA and AA running
horses. Her foals include the AAA Citation Bar, Stepping
Star and Little Leota.
Stepping Star by Top Deck was a
stakes winner in The Bardella Stakes at Los Alamitos. Bob
Cuatro, a son of Leota W and sired by Cuatro De Julio,
earned 55 performance points In the arena. An Interesting
side note on this family comes through Leollta. Quincy Brand
was sired by Firebrand Reed and out of Leolita. Firebrand
Reed was a full brother to Leo, thus intensifying the blood
of Delia Moore. Quincy Brand was an AQHA Champion with 63
points in halter, 19 in calf roping, 11 in reining, 3 in
heeling and .5 in working cowhorse. Leolita was the dam of
two other performers in Good, a AAA/AQHA Champion and the AA
stakes placed runner Rellta. Both of these performers were
sired by thoroughbreds.
Flit came in second in the Oklahoma
Futurity, but Warren sold Leota W and kept Flit as a
broodmare. Warren talked about Flit this way, "I had this
Leo mare, Flit She was second in the first futurity written
in the United States for Quarter Horses...I took Flit, she
was a AA race mare and I raced her all over the country from
El Paso out to Arizona. She was a little bitty bulldog
powerhouse and 1 took her down to Jess Hankins' King by
Zantanon, if you remember him. I did that because I owned a
nice little King horse, a halter horse that I ran a bit. So
I took her down to Ole King, She had a stud colt that we
hadn't even named yet and Jim Calhoun bought him,"
Warren bred Flit to King P-234 and got the 1957 NCHA World
Champion Cutting Horse, King's Pistol. King's Pistol was the
first stallion to win the NCHA World Championship. In
addition, King's Pistol earned his AQHA Championship with 65
cutting points, 30 halter points and 2 reining points.
Warren continued talking about King's Pistol "He was a
powerhouse. He could carry a 200 pound man and a
cuttin' horse saddle and do things you wouldn't believe.
That's why he had to be made that way." Warren went on to
explain that a skinny horse or a weak horse couldn't do the
things that King's Pistol could do and that King's Pistol
would "send the crowd wild." Warren credited the success of
King's Pistol for Leo's entry into the performance horse
industry and not just the race horse industry.
Flit is also the dam of AAA Leo Bar by Three Bars, Sugar Leo
AAA/AQHA Champion, Flit Bar, a successful sire and Bar Flit,
earner of 82 halter points, all by Sugar Bars.
The dam of Flit was the mare known in some pedigrees as the
Triangle Mare or Julie W as she was registered. Warren
credits Julie W with starting the Leo/Joe Hancock nick. He
fondly remembered her this way, "She (Flit) was out of an
old Joe Hancock mare that came from the 6666 Ranch. Her name
was Julie W. She started It. She wasn't much of a mare, a
little ole parrot mouthed mare that couldn't do anything,
but she was a Joe Hancock mare." He added, "She was rugged,
stout and not very pretty. Damn, she produced any number of
good horses. There was a lot of other Hancock mares
bred because of Flit and several others that we raised from
Julie W at that time."
Julie W was the dam of Juleo by Leo.
Juleo was the dam of the great horse Otoe and his full
brother Justice Bars, by Sugar Bars. Lena Horn was out of
Julie W and sired by Dock. She was the dam of Lena Leo, the
great producing mare by Leo that was the dam of the likes of
Dan's Sugar Bar, Sugar Maker and Sugar Bull, all AQHA
Champions by Sugar Bars. Another cross that worked well with
Leo was the Oklahoma Star mares.
A prime example of this cross was actually a granddaughter
of Oklahoma Star named Osage Star Lady. Osage Star Lady was
sired by Osage Star by Oklahoma Star. The first foal
of note from this cross must be Leo Star Lady. Leo Star Lady
was the winner of the 1953 Oklahoma Futurity, the sixth Leo
foal to win this great race from 1947 to 1955. Leo Star Lady
was an ROM race producer with foals like Whiskey Bert.
Whiskey Bert was sired by Joe Reed II and out of Leo Star
Lady by Leo by Joe Reed II. This makes Whiskey Bert 1
X 3 inbred to Joe Reed II.
Whiskey Bert was being used as a
foundation sire for Fletcher Farms of Lonoke, Arkansas,
supplying the blood of Joe Reed II. The farm's owner, Bill
Fletcher, is linebreeding to the foundation bloodlines of
Joe Reed II and King and Whiskey Bert was an integral part
of this breeding program.
The next foal of note from
this cross was Palleo Pete, the 1954 AQHA World Champion
Quarter Running Stallion. Palleo Pete was a successful
sire with such foals as Golden Note, Co-champion 2 Year Old
Filly of 1961 and her full brother Palleo's Note, a AAA/AQHA
Holey Sox was a good son of Leo and out of Osage
Star Lady that made a name for himself in the arena as a
1963 NCHA Top 10 finalist Holey Sox was the sire of the
great cutting horse Mr Holey Sox, a two time NCHA Reserve
World Champion Cutting Horse. The Leo/Oklahoma Star
nick is an interesting one because of their ties to the
great sire Bonnie Joe. Bonnie Joe was the sire of Joe Blair,
the sire of Joe Reed P-3. Several pedigrees exist for
Cutthroat, the darn of Oklahoma Star The pedigree that
Ronald Mason believed to be correct was that the sire of
Cutthroat was Bonnie Joe. This makes the Leo/OkIahoma Star
cross linebreeding to Bonnie Joe, Ronald Mason was the last
owner of Oklahoma Star.
The King daughters 89'er,
Sorrel Sue and Betty Warren were top producers for Warren.
These great mares reinforce the success of Leo with the King
89'er is a leading dam of Register Of Merit with 11 of her
foals running ROM. She is the dam of Whimper, AAA; Leo
Bob, AAA; 89'er's Boy, AA: Miss Sabre, AA; Mr. 89'er, AA;
Mora Leo, AA and Sooner Leo, A, all by Leo. Mora Leo is the
sire of the great cutting mare Moira Girl, the dam of Shorty
Lena and Moira Lena. Sorrel Sue was the dam of such
noted Leo foals as Okie Leo, AQHA Champion and great sire of
reining horses; MacLee, a AAA stakes winner and Leonelia, a
AA race mare. Lemac was a son of Leo and Sorrel Sue that
sired a stallion named Leolark. Leolark is the
broodmare sire of the only two time AQHA Super Horse Rugged
Leola was the third Leo foal to win the Oklahoma Futurity
during the years 1947 to 1955. She was a AAA/AQHA Champion
out of Betty Warren by King. Her full sisters included
Soonerette AAA and Idaho Betty Lee, dam of Quincy Lee, an
One of the all time great combinations was the Three Bars
and Leo cross. Warren had seen Three Bars and he had a very
high opinion of this great thoroughbred stallion. He found
Three Barsto be an excellent "Quarter type thoroughbred." He
even sent Flit to the court of Three Bars to produce the
great stallion Leo Bar, a AAA rated runner.
Warren summed up the success of Three Barsand Leo this way.
"Three Bars and Leo were great because Leo had the power and
Three Bars had the short distance speed for the thoroughbred
and the two of them made good looking horses for show or
One of the early successes of the Three Bars/Leo cross was
Bar Bob, a AAA/AQHA Champion that was sired by Three Bars
and out of Delia Bob by Leo. Bar Bob earned some of
his per-formance points in cutting. He was a noted sire with
Irish Bar Bob and Bobbibar Bob leading the way.
In today's pleasure horse side of the industry, we find a
significant contribution coming from the late Zippo Pat
Bars, a son of Three Bars and the Leo mare Leo Pat. Zippo
Pat Bars Is considered a foundation sire in the pleasure
horse field with his great sons Zippo Pine Bar and The
Investor leading the way. Zippo Pine Bar has been the
perennial leading sire of performance horses in the AQHA and
the leading money earning sire of pleasure horses.
The 1989 top money earning pleasure horse Principle
Investment has an interesting tie to Leo. Principle
Investment is sired by The Big Investment by The Investor,
who is a son of Zippo Pat Bars. The dam of Principle
Investment is Tiger Serena by Tiger Leo. This makes
Principle investment 5 X 3 linebred to Leo. Principle
Investment, investments Style, Classic Zippo and Zip N Win
were all money earning pleasure horses out of daughters of
Tiger Leo. They made this late great son of Leo the leading
maternal grandsire of money earners in the pleasure horse
field. Classic Zippo and Zip N Win were sired by Zippo Pine
Bar. This makes them 4 X 3 linebred to Leo.
The legacy of Leo as a broodmare sire is a fitting tribute
to this great stallion, It is a legacy that is reinforced by
such noteworthy titles as the leading maternal grandsire of
AQHA Champions and further reinforced by his racing Register
Of Merit producing daughters. Leo has five daughters
that have each produced more than 11 ROM, They are Barbara 2
with 13 ROM, Rosa Leo with 12 ROM (from 12 foals), Rosita
Leo with 12 ROM, Miss Olene with 11 ROM and Loro Leo with 11
ROM. But Leo the broodmare sire, must be considered
more than just a sire of mares. He was a powerful performer
with an outstanding record. He was a powerful sire that
nicked with a variety of bloodlines and types of mares.
He was truly a powerful influence on the Quarter Horse that
must be remembered for his overall contribution.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Larry Thomton is the author of the
books "The Working Lines' Volumes 1 and 2, These books bring
together many of the informative stories of the prominent
stallions and mares, and both are valuable for use as
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