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 First Down Dash

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First Down Dash ... 
His foundation females didn't hurt him

by Andrea Laycock Mattson

One couldn't help but notice in the list of the ten Quarter Running Champions announced for 2000,  that First Down Dash soundly dominated the pedigrees of the title holders,  being the sire of three Champions (including the World Champion) and the grandsire of three others. Only two other Dash For Cash lines were present in the pedigrees of the Champions. Interesting.  

First Down Dash is the sire of World Champion (Champion Aged Horse,  and Champion Aged Gelding),  A Ransom,  Champion Aged Mare Deelish,  and Champion Aged Stallion Willie Wanta Dash.  He also appears as the Maternal Grandsire of Chicks First Policy, Champion Three-Year-Old Gelding,  and Secret Card, Champion Two-Year-Old Filly.  As a Paternal Grandsire,  he was represented by Champion Two-Year-Old Gelding, Dashing Knud.

First Down Dash get have earned over $33 million,  and he has sired a Running Champion every year since 1991. The  chronological list goes like this:   Royal Quick Dash, 1991 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt;  Dash Thru Traffic, 1992 Champion Two-Year-Old Colt;  Mega Dash, 1992 Champion Two-Year-Old Gelding;  A Classic Dash, 1993 Champion Two-Year-Old, Champion Two-Year-Old Colt;  Royal Down Dash, 1993 Champion Three-Year-Old and Champion Filly;  Four Forty Blast,  1993 Champion Three-Year-Old Gelding;  Down With Debt, 1994 World Champion, Champion Aged Mare;  Ah Sigh, 1994 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly; again, Ah Sigh, 1995 Champion Three-Year-Old, Champion Three-Year-Old Filly;  Dashing Folly, 1996 World Champion, Champion Three-Year-Old, Champion Three-Year-Old Filly; again, Dashing Folly, 1997 Champion Aged Mare;  Speedy Empress, 1996 Co-Champion Two-Year-Old Filly;  IB Quick, 1996 Champion Aged Gelding; Dashing Perfection, 1997 Champion Three-Year-Old,  Champion Three-Year-Old Gelding;  Corona Cash, 1997 Champion Two-Year-Old,  Champion Two-Year-Old Filly;  again, Corona Cash, 1998 Champion Three-Year-Old, Champion Three-Year-Old Filly;  Ive Been Blessed, 1997 Champion Distance Horse;  First Sovereign, 1998 Champion Two-Year-Old,  Champion Two-Year-Old Colt;   Deelish, 1998 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly;  Corona Kool, 1999 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly;  IBA Dasher, 1999 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly;  Okey Dokey Dale, 1999 Champion Three-Year-Old Colt;  A Ransom, 2000 World Champion; Champion Aged Horse, Champion Aged Gelding;  Willie Wanta Dash, 2000 Champion Aged Stallion; and again, Deelish, 2000 Champion Aged Mare 

Of course,  First Down Dash's own performance record is not to be sneezed at either: This World Champion has a Speed Index of 105,  and earned $857,256. along the way to winning 13 stakes races,  including the Kindergarten and Dash For Cash Futurities,  the Los Alamitos and Dash For Cash Derbies,  the Hollywood Park Invitational,  the QHBC Championship Classic,  and finally,  the prestigious Champion of Champions at three.  He was the 1987 World Champion Quarter Running Horse,  World Champion Three-Year-Old and World Champion Three-Year-Old Colt.

Next thought,  since we are so familiar with his sire, Dash For Cash.  What kind of a mare did it take to produce such a phenomenal racehorse and sire?  His dam is a mare named First Prize Rose SI-98 (stakes placed winner of 6 races, $22,754.) She is a daughter of Running Champion Gallant Jet SI-102 (Jet Deck x Leo Jewel by Leo) and out of Rose Bug SI-96 (6 wins, 8 seconds, once third,  from 19 starts to 3, $57,398.) by Lady Bug's Moon (Top Moon x FL Lady Bug.)

First Prize Rose was a good producer,  but none of her other foals ran or produced anything that can stand in the shadow of First Down Dash.  The total earnings of her other 6 foals,  all starters, was only $128,842.,  the majority of which was earned by two offspring.  She is the dam of  First a Rose SI-101 SW (f. by Mr Master Bug). 4 wins to 3, $31,926, QHBC Sophomore Classic-G2, 3rd QHBC Sunbelt Derby);  First Prize Dash SI-101 SP (f. by Dash For Cash). 5 wins to 3, $77,465,  4th All American Derby-G1, Heritage Place Futurity-RG1).  Daughters of First Prize Rose produced Heza Fast Dash SI-89 SW (2 wins at 2, 2000;  $117,772., won Blue Ribbon Futurity-G2, 2nd: Remington Park Futurity--G1);  Hand It To Perks SI-105 SP ($24,410 thru 2000),  Handmearose Too SI-95 ($23,748.); etc.

Rose Bug,  the 2nd dam of First Down Dash produced some decent foals, but not many that would make you remember her name.  She is the dam of 9 starters earning a total of $121,090,  with her highest money earners being Tiny Gay Bug SI-99,  a non-stakes placer with 5 wins from 18 starts,  $39,949.;  Tonimora SI-93, 8 wins, $22,909;  and Life Line SI-94, winner, $15,143.  She did produce Cash Event SI-90, $5,023., who placed 8th in the All American Sale Futurity.  Rose Bug's daughters produced: Run The Dash SI-97 SP, 2 wins, $50,013., 3rd-PCQHRA Breeders' Futurity-G1,  etc.;  Buzz Word SI-92, 3 wins,  $20,403, 6th-Sun Country Futurity, 8th-Kansas Futurity.  Rose Bug is the 2nd dam of Tonto Thibodeaux SI-100 SW of $73,736,  Denton H., 2nd-MBNA America Mexico Challenge,  etc.

Third dam,  Casco Rose, is an unraced daughter of Levan,  out of a non-producing daughter of Jess Hankins, a son of King P-234.  The 2nd dam of Casco Rose is an unregistered mare,  whose unnamed dam's pedigree is unknown!  Very interesting.  

Casco Rose produced 8 foals,  all starters,  5 winners and 3 stakes winners earning a total of $71,879.  Her best runner was Rose Bug (above) who earned $57,398. even though she was not a stakes placer. Casco Rose also produced two stakes winners: Lady Afton 2 SI-95, $9,355., who won the Keystone State QHRA Futurity, etc.,  and Casco Charge SI-95, $3,560.,  Keystone State QHRA Derby winner,  etc. 

But, when you look into the produce records of the daughters of Casco Rose,  you find some interesting things. Casco Charge (by Some Charge TB) produced Heza Charger SI-109 SW, $300,916., World Champion Aged Stallion.  He won the Texas Futurity, R M Benavides Memorial Futurity, the El Primero Del Ano Derby,  etc.,  and set 2 new track records at 330 and 300 yards.  Casco Charge also produced All World SI-103 SP, $54,612.;  and the dams of Just Dashing By SI-99 SP, $51,014.,  and Charge Me Easy SI-90 SW, $36,476, Rocky Mountain QHA Futurity,  etc. 

Other daughters of Casco Rose produced the likes of: Mr Afton Bug SI-94 SW, $128,632., Kansas Derby;  My Afton Bug SI-96 SW, $66,853., Rocky Mountain QHA Futurity;  A Smooth Bug SI-99 SW $43,286.,  John Phillips Handicap, Mr Jet Moore Stakes;  Charge Me Easy SI-90 SW, $36,476.; Diamond Cam SI-96 SW, $24,853., Austin Futurity; The Swift Lady SI-104 SW, $24,221, Colorado Breeders' Futurity;  Just Dashing By SI-99, SP, $51,014. 2nd-Heat Wave Futurity;  Another Afton Bug SI-96 SP, $34,517., Rocky Mountain QHA Futurity; etc.

Fourth dam,  Prissy Hankins,  a foal of 1947,  produced 7 foals,  none of whom were raced or shown.  Casco Rose was her only producer out of 4 daughters on a 4-generation dams produce record,  with the exception of Taffey Missy who produced a gelding named Pistol Don who had one win from 4 starts and earned $120.  His highest SI was 76.

Where is all this speed coming from?  It's certainly no fluke,  as the sire record of First Down Dash is too convincing.  It is fascinating to think about this.  First Down Dash,  according to Marianna Haun in her Quarter Racing Journal article, "Heart of the Matter," has a large heart.  First Down Dash's siring record has all  the earmarks of passing the X-factor to his daughters,  who are well represented among his best runners,  and who are already producing Champions.  

The source of First Down Dash's large heart could be through his first two dams' sires Gallant Jet and Lady Bug's Moon,  or Casco Rose.  Certainly his maternal grandsire,  Gallant Jet has every right to have a large heart via his dam, Leo Jewel, a daughter of Leo. First Down Dash's second dam,  Rose Bug,  if carrying a large heart,  definitely carried one of FL Lady Bug's x-chromosomes through Lady Bug's Moon,  plus one from either Miss Butler (another daughter of Leo) through Levan, or one from Prissy Hankins.  Again,  the x-chromosomes Prissy Hankins had to offer came from Spider H via Jess Hankins,  and Betty McCue,  who would seem to be a more likely source since she was a double granddaughter of Peter McCue.  We don't know who Betty McCue's dam is,  so that's as far as we can ponder the tail-female line.  It could have been a Thoroughbred mare or  other foundation mare contributing a large heart gene.  That's a mystery that needs to be considered.

This much,  we do know.  The bottom 3/8 of First Down Dash's pedigree is loaded with outstanding ancestors with significant inbreeding to Leo, Joe Reed,  Billy McCue, Peter McCue, King, Traveler and beyond. If you want to include the entire bottom half of First Down Dash's chart,  you can add inbreeding to Moon Deck, Top Deck, Three Bars and 3 more crosses to Peter McCue.  It is rather unusual to find a top modern Quarter Horse racing sire bred like this in the bottom of his pedigree.  Quite obviously,  his foundation female family didn't hurt him a bit! 

For you pedigree pundits who would like to explore the nitty-gritty of this pedigree,  it is available through the Del Mar All-Breed Database.  Click this box to bring up a chart using our exclusive access to their pedigree generator.  Once the chart opens,  be sure to explore the linebreeding reports or click on ancestors of interest to explore beyond the 9th generation: 

From my own storehouse (admittedly getting foggier each year) of pedigree tidbits in the deep recesses of memory,  several things in the bottom of this pedigree jump off the page.  Included are the well established nicks of Jet Deck and Leo,  of Leo and Vandy, the intensely inbred and successful pedigree of FL Lady Bug,  and the double Peter McCue cross at the very bottom of First Down Dash's pedigree. 

Also,  this pedigree conforms to the advice of Bruce Lowe in an important excerpt from his Book "Breeding Racehorses by the Figure System,"   published in 1895,  regarding the pedigree of Domino. He said: "If I have not made this clear before, it cannot be too strongly impressed upon stud masters that an outbred sire should always be mated with mares inbred closely to his best strains, and vice versa."

In view of this advice,  the double Moon Deck / Top Deck lines in the pedigree of First Prize Rose placed under the Go Man Go / Top Deck lines of Rocket Wrangler,  the grandsire of First Down Dash is quite fascinating.  FL Ladybug's pedigree is nothing less than astounding when you follow it back several generations.  No question as to what it did for her and her descendants.  It certainly shows that intense inbreeding to superior genes will work,  and carry down strongly for generations. Pedigrees like hers are what make many people believe that,  even today, Peter McCue is the most influential Quarter Horse ancestor of all time.

FL Lady Bug  is sired by Sergeant,  out of Yeager's Lady JA by Will Stead, who is Sergeant's full brother.  Not only that,  but Billy McCue,  the sire of Sergeant and Will Stead is out of a full sister to Silver,  the dam of both Sergeant and Will Stead.  Was this an accident?  If so,  perhaps one of the greatest mishaps to bless the Quarter Racing Horse world.  In her chart,  below,  note that Silver and Sorrel Alice are full sisters.

The sire of Sergeant and Will Stead was Billy McCue by Jack McCue, and they were out of Silver by Chickasha Bob. Going back on the female line, we next come to Maud (the Allen Borden mare) who was a double-bred Old Billy. She was out of Old Alice, one of the fabulous Old Billy x Paisana progeny, bred back to her sire, Old Billy!  If you study their pedigrees, especially the bottom lines, you can easily believe that a cross of these two stallions would be pure dynamite!

FL Lady Bug

AQHA #9733
1945 sorrel
Br: W. A. Yeager
Woodward OK


Billy McCue Jack McCue
Sorrel Alice
Silver Chickasha Bob

Yeager's Lady JA

Will Stead Billy McCue
JA Mare ---

FL Ladybug is a Leading Dam of Race ROMs, having produced 10 from 11 starters, including TOP LADYBUG AAAT ($195,942. Champion Quarter Running Two-Year-Old Mare of 1966), LADY BUG'S MOON AAAT ($191,573. Kansas QH Fut., Ruidoso Rainbow Fut., 2nd-All American Fut, etc.; a Leading Sire whose get include CHICORY MOON SI-102, 1973 Champion Quarter Running Three-Year-Old Gelding; SHAWNE BUG SI-101 $277,022.; MR HAY BUG SI-102, $182,328.; etc.), Barnes Ladybug AAAT ($112,787.), Lady Bug Leo AAA (dam of 8 ROMs), Lady Lasan AAA (dam of 9 ROMs, including TOP BUG AAAT, $103,693. Champion Quarter Running Two Year Old Mare of 1968), etc. Yeager's Lady JA produced 18 foals, and all seven who raced received their ROM. Her foals include LADY BIRD LEO AAAT (dam of 6 ROMs from 7 starters), FL Kingbee AAA, King Bee Leo AAA, Leo's Queen Bee AAA (dam of 7 ROM, including LION CHARGE SI-104, LION QUEEN SI-103, etc.), Twayna AAA (dam of 6 ROM from 6 starters, including CASADY CASANOVA SI-96 $157,173., CARLOTTA 2 SI-97 $67,685., Easy Sage SI-94 $45,952., etc.), etc. 'Nuff said about this great daughter of Sergeant!   (Read related info here.)

My pen grows weary,  but there is so much else to explore in this interesting pedigree of First Down Dash. Have fun with the All-Breed Pedigree database,  and while you are in there,  I hope you will add some pedigree data on some other lines you like.  This is a great place to gather with others who share our passion about pedigrees and theories about what makes racehorses run!

Copyright (c) 2004 Andrea Laycock Mattson.  All rights reserved.  Do not reprint without written permission.

Related Articles:

M. L. McGehee ... Breeder of Legends 
Heart of the Matter ... by Marianna Haun
Leo ... The All Time Horse ... by M. K. Fredlund
King ... the Leader of Quarter Horse Cadence, Then and Now

 "First Down Dash" posted 4-30-2001 


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