Blood will tell: Top Deck

August 23rd, 2007

Several years ago as I browsed through a book about my husband’s ancestors, I was struck by a photo of a Civil War veteran of the Battle of Chickamauga. Put this fellow in a button-down L.L. Bean shirt and Levis and he could walk through our back door while our red heeler wagged her tail.

A few days ago, I was struck in much the same way by a photo of 2-year-old Quarter Horse running sensation Heartswideopen. She reminded me of a stallion I had photographed more than 20 years ago and had not thought about in years. Mighty Deck (pictured) was a world champion in 1968 and the son of the thoroughbred Top Deck, from whom he inherited his stately good looks and prominent blaze.

Heartswideopen’s pedigree doesn’t include Mighty Deck, but it contains Top Deck through Lady Bug’s Moon on her dam’s side and through Streakin La Jolla on her sire’s side. That may seem a stretch, but consider the occurrence of crop-out paint horses. Also consider the occurrence of Top Deck, top and bottom, in the pedigrees the other 2007 All American Futurity qualifiers through the sires First Down Dash, Tres Six, Corona Cartel, Mr Jess Perry, Separatist, Royal Quick Dash, Corona Caliente, and Holland Ease – as well as through their dams.

Top Deck, foaled in 1945, was by Equestrian, who was out of a daughter of Man O’War. His dam was a daughter of Chicaro, who also figures prominently in foundation Quarter running pedigrees. King Ranch owned both Chicaro and Equestrian, who died after having sired just a few foal crops. J.K. Northway acquired Top Deck, who was unraced due to an injury, at three from King Ranch. Northway later sold the horse for $25,000 to wealthy Texas wildcatter J.B. Ferguson.

Two of Top Deck’s sons, Go Man Go and Moon Deck, rank among Quarter racing’s strongest progenitors. Moon Deck sired Jet Deck, who sired Easy Jet, and Top Moon, the sire of Lady Bug’s Moon. Go Man Go sired Go Galla Go, the dam of Rocket Wrangler, who sired Dash For Cash. Top Deck’s daughter Decketta is the dam of Chick’s Deck, the dam’s sire of Chicks Beduino. Of course, these are just a few blades in whole fields of alfalfa.

You can compare a photo of Heartswideopen, taken by Ty Wyant on Thursday, August 16, with the one I took of Mighty Deck (above) in 1981.