“The other week, while in New Mexico for the All American Futurity, there was occasion to mention that a quarter horse had been bred this year to Dr. Fager.
“But it won’t be the last, if the thoroughbred people wake up to the facts of life,” Roy Browning said all the way from El Paso, Tex., this week. Browning should know. He owns the mare that Johnny Nerud accepted as a fitting mate for the 1968 Horse of the Year.
“We’ve been condemned long enough. I sent Assure Me to accept the challenge. Course, I was mighty lucky to have a man like Nerud agree to it in the first place.”
When Dr. Fager was retired, Nerud was asked if the young sire could be as good at stud as he was on the track. The trainer was confident that the Tartan Farm horse would turn out to be just as capable and just as versatile. The owners of Bo-Bett Farm in Ocala, Fla., notified Browning that Nerud would approve a ‘great quarter-horse mare’ and an agreement was quickly reached.
“We’re expecting Assure Me to foal in February at my Roy B. Ranches in Ada, Okla.,” Browning revealed. “She has a private paddock all to herself, with a special guard, and a vet on the ready at all times. I don’t want the thoroughbred folk to think she’s down in a canyon some place trying to find her way out.”
Assured has had seven foals, all stakes winners. The best, Derussa, won five straight handicaps – something unheard of – and sold for $31,000 in a dispersal, then was resold a month again a month ago with a colt at her side for $150,000. Assure Me is a full sister to Derussa.
Browning explained the quarter-horse people are careful not to breed to just any thoroughbred.
“Some of those bean-polled, axe-fannied, Jesse Owens types scare me,” he said. “But Dr. Fager was superb. I’d seen him make Kissin’s George [sic] spit out the bit after five furlongs in the Vosburgh Handicap in New York last fall. And I’ve seen his sister, Ta Wee. What speed! I’ll cross to that any time.
And when I saw Dr. Fager in Florida, he was one of the best balanced horses, with adequate gaskin – great conformation – that I’ve ever seen. Everything fit into the ideal picture. Dr. Fager is syndicated at $3,200,000. They told me an outside season had to be worth about $35,000.”
It was obvious, from the way Browning talked, he was not quoted a quarter price. Nor did he want one. He believes quarter-horse racing and breeding has arrived. Assure Me’s February arrival should reinforce that opinion.” (Gerald Strine / The Washington Post, 09/15/1969)
Moolah Bux (1952), a stakes placed winner of six races in twenty-three starts, was a son of Mahmoud (FR) out of the Reine-de-Course mare Anchors Ahead, herself a daughter of Reine mare Friar’s Carse. Upon retirement to stud, Moolah Bux would service both Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred mares, siring a few successful horses, including 1961 Hollywood Lassie winner Sunday Slippers on the Thoroughbred side.
By the Thoroughbred stallion Direct Win, Assured (1955) was a speedy mare and a solid producer of a number of Register of Merit foals, two of which were Derussa (Moolah Bux) in 1959, and Miss Assured (Little Request) in 1962. Derussa, a swift filly in her own right, would ultimately foal champion filly Go Derussa Go in 1965, while Miss Assured would foal Hall of Fame inductee Streakin Six in 1977.
Assure Me raced only at the age of three, retiring with a record of (6) 1-0-0 and earnings of $689, qualifying for a Register of Merit based on a top speed index of 85. Bred to Dr. Fager in early 1969, Assure Me foaled a bay colt at Roy Browning’s ranch that next year.
Later named Quarter History, the colt raced from the ages of two to four (1972-1974), retiring with a record of (22) 6-3-2 and earnings of $7,384. Quarter History was a stakes horse, finishing third in the Juarez Quarter Miler (440 yards) at Juarez, MX in July 1973, winning the Arizola Handicap (870 yards) at Centennial Race Track (Littleton, CO) in April 1974, and ending his career with second place finish in the Beulah 870 Stakes (870 yards) at Beulah Park in September 1974.
With a top speed index of 96, Quarter History was awarded a Register of Merit as a 3-year-old in 1973. Out of fourteen foals produced by Assure Me, seven* would ultimately go on to receive this honor.
*Quarter History (b. 1970), Ole Promises (b. 1972), Ole Reliable (b. 1973), Beauty Class (b. 1974), Speak Smooth (b. 1978), Fairly Smooth (b. 1980), and Talk Smooth (b. 1981).
Retired to stud for the 1975 season, Quarter History’s first foals arrived in early 1976. Passing away in 1981 at the age of eleven, he would sire eighty-five foals in seven crops from 1976 to 1982. Forty-two of his foals would see the racetrack, with twenty-four (57%) ultimately awarded a Register of Merit.
While Quarter History would sire no stakes winners, ten of his foals were stakes finalists. With total progeny earnings of $155,065, his chief earner was the filly Speck a History (1976), who won $70,949 over a two-year race career (1978-1979).
In addition to Dr. Fager, two other sons of Aspidistra would enter the AQHA sire ranks: Aforethought (1963 c. by Intentionally) and Pollinize (1974 c. by Buckpasser).
Pollinize, an unraced full brother to future influential Thoroughbred producer Magic (1969), would service both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse mares, siring relatively few Quarter Horse foals to little racing success.
Aforethought, a full brother to champion Ta Wee (1966), would race for three years (1965-1967), retiring with a record of (24) 5-10-5 and earnings of $40,645. Upon entering stud, he would service both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse mares, siring three-time champion and 1973 All American Futurity winner Timeto Thinkrich in 1971 and champion and 1977 All American Futurity winner Hot Idea in 1975, among others.