Few people outside of northeast Oklahoma had heard of Decketta before the 1964 All American Futurity.
The sorrel filly, sired by the Top Deck (TB), had one stakes win worth $3,270 to her credit, in the 330-yard Midway Downs Futurity in Stroud, OK. By contrast, Tonto Parr, the richest starter in the 1964 All American Futurity, had already earned $62,005.
Not even her owner, ranch manager Wilbur Wilson, one of the few people ever to breed, own and train an All American Futurity winner, could have predicted Decketta’s far-reaching impact on Quarter Racing.
Eight of the 10 finalists in next Monday’s $2.2 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs carry the blood of Decketta.
“I never thought Decketta would make much of a broodmare,” Wilson told me in a 1990 interview. “Some of her colts brought money, but very few Top Deck mares make good broodmares.”
Bred by King Ranch and foaled in 1945, Top Deck had the pedigree of a Kentucky Derby winner, but was unraced due to injury and eventually wound up in Wharton, Texas with Quarter race breeder J.B. Ferguson.
“When I bred Decketta’s mama, they all wanted me to breed to Go Man Go,” remembered Wilson. “But I told them, no, I’ll breed to Go Man Go’s daddy. And in the All American I outran three Go Man Go colts.”
Go Man Go, Top Deck’s most celebrated son, held world records at 350, 400 and 440 yards and became a leading sire and broodmare sire. Moon Deck, another Top Deck son, sired Jet Deck, who in turn sired legendary Easy Jet.
Decketta’s dam, Lady Thomas Wilson, was a daughter of David Thomas, an inbred son of FH Bill Thomas, whose paternal grandsire was Peter McCue. Lady Thomas Wilson’s dam, Bonny, was a granddaughter of the famous thoroughbred Sweep.
Wilson had purchased Bonny, along with a 2-year-old gelding, for a total of $125. He then paid $20 for the breeding to David Thomas that produced Lady Thomas Wilson, in 1946.
“Lady Thomas Wilson never did run a lick,” Wilson noted. “She wasn’t too great to look at either, but she was a great producer.”
Wilson lost Decketta in a divorce settlement and it was Paul Travis of Norman, OK, who bred the mare’s only stakes winner, Chick’s Deck, by Three Chicks. Strictly considered, Wilson’s assessment of Decketta as a broodmare was justified, since Chick’s Deck was her only foal to achieve success. Chick’s Deck never approached the breeding success of his grandsires, Three Bars and Top Deck, but he gained immortality for himself and Decketta through his daughter, A Classy Chick, the dam of Chicks Beduino, by Beduino.
Chicks Beduino (photographed by me in 1987) is the sire of the earners of $34.4 million and 139 stakes winners, and his daughters have produced 94 stakes winners, including 3-times champion and Broodmare of the Year Corona Chick, dam of leading sire Corona Cartel, who through July 2009, at the age of 15, had produced 101 stakes winner and earners of $29 million.
Wilson died in 1996 at the age of 87. Had he lived he would be 101 this year. Decketta lives on in the 2009 All American Futurity on Labor Day, September 7, through Love Samba, Runnning Brook Gal, First Corona Cash, Favorite Cartel, Shesa First Ratify, Winners Cartel, Swingin Daddyo, the seven fastest qualifiers in that order, as well as Brooks Midnight, the tenth fastest qualifier.