The Roan Powerhouse
Setting: Hacienda Moltacqua, Tucson
In the Gates: Red Man
Going way back to the beginning of quarter racing history on an organized
scale, Melville Haskell, in the first yearbook published by the newly organized
American Quarter Racing Association (AQRA) (1943), declared: "We think it
safe to say that the top horses of the past years, about which we have accurate
information, probably ran about as fast as horses ever did. Shue Fly has
been World's Champion for two years, and her track record at Moltacqua -
:22 3/5 from a flat-footed start - will probably stand for some time. Started
behind the line and timed from a flag, she was credited with :21 4/5 at
Albuquerque in 1942. At least three thoroughbreds had made that time under
the same conditions - Atoel, Air Flame and Galley Slave; official time for
the first quarter of their world's record 3/8s at Santa Anita, California."
I note that this coincides with opinions formed by this writer with regard
to times hung up by current sprinters, as compared with some of the greats
of long ago.
During the first three years of racing at Tucson's Hacienda Moltaqua track,
100 quarter running horses competed. From these 100, 20 were chosen to be
known as Celebrated American Quarter Running Horses on the factual basis
of conditions and times established. Those 20 were Shue Fly, Clabber, Joe
Reed II, Red Man, Alex The Great, Nobodies Friend, Painted Joe, Arizona Girl,
Blueberry Hill, Don Manners, Chicaro, Little Joe Jr, Cyclone, Cowboy, Red
Racer, Pay Dirt, Domino, Bartender, Prissy and Sugar Foot.
It may be interesting to learn what times were made by the top six...
|JOE REED II
|ALEX THE GREAT
In this sketch we'd like to say a few words about Red Man. The photo [above]
shows Red Man at Hacienda Molttacqua. The track was just a flat place scraped
in the desert; the time posted was :18.3. Behind Red Man came Cyclone, Arizona
Girl and Clabber. Red Man held two track records - 220 under 150 pounds in
:12.6, and 350 packing 123 in :18.3.
Red Man was a horse of tremendous Power. He measured 27" around the forearm,
with stifle and gaskin in proportion. He was a hard horse to beat from the
gate. He finished third to Shue Fly and Clabber in the 1943 World's Championship
Quarter, beaten by only one-half of a length.
He was sired by Joe Hancock, whose sire was John Wilkens (by Peter McCue).
The owner of Red Man was a cowboy, Kenneth Gunter of Benson, Arizona, where
he stood the horse for many years.
A chart on page 7 of the Quarter Running Horse (1945) shows Red Man credited
with going 200 yards, while carrying 150 pounds, in :12.6. He had what it
took and unstintedly passed along his best qualities: his amazing speed,
power and ability to pack weight. From very ordinary mares he put quite a
number of straightaway runners smack into the Register of Merit, such as
Lilly Belle, who won her first race under 125 pounds when only 11 months
old and still sucking, and at 16 months was plain greased lightning; there
was also Wampus Kitty, High Gear, Step In, the very good Worryman, John Red,
Red Dan, Bunkie, Red Juniper, Wac Chaser, Victory, Miss Atomic and many others.
Today, with money and promotion behind him, Red Man might have come powerfully
near to the top as a progenitor of straightaway sprinters.
Red Man ran well at any distance. How well may never be determined, but the
evidence is there in the light of track conditions, surfaces and the electric
timer currently used to eliminate guesswork and human errors of clocking.
Red Man's record, established in '41 or '42 at Moltacqua-a harrowed strip
scraped out of the desert - of: 12.6 under 150 pounds for 220 yards, was
not much lowered until Tonto Gal hung up a mark of: 12.1 for that distance
under 120 pounds in 1946 and she ran it at Rillito on a much improved
A Chapter from Nelson Nye's Book "Great Moments in
Quarter Racing History"
Submitted by Lee Jones