The magic cross between AQHA Hall of Famers Sun Frost and Casey’s Ladylove is responsible for four HOTY honorees with eight titles and 10 WPRA World Championships.
In 1989, the American Quarter Horse Association debuted the Horse of the Year to honor the best equine athletes as voted by the top competitors in their discipline. Since its inception, 23 horses have been honored with the title. Join us for a series of mini “deep dive” into their pedigrees.
The first was five-time HOTY and four-time WPRA World Champion French Flash Hawk (“Bozo”). The 1987 gelding carried Kristie Peterson to four WPRA World Championships (1994, 1996-1998), five NFR Championships (1994-1998) and won HOTY (1995-1999).
Bozo was by Sun Frost, a son of Doc’s Jack Frost out of Prissy Cline, a daughter of rope horse and sire Driftwood Ike. Doc’s Jack Frost, by Doc Bar, carried three traces to the great Three Bars (TB)—paternally through Doc Bar’s sire Lightning Bar, and twice on his maternal side, including his second dam, two-time racing champion Bardella, who was a full sister to Lightning Bar. Doc’s Jack Frost made four starts on the track before finding his calling as a cutting horse and later a sire of all around performers and rodeo horses.
Bozo’s dam was Caseys Charm, a daughter of the Tiny Watch son Tiny Circus, a multiple stakes winner that ran AAA on the track before winning the 1979 AQHA Senior Heading Reserve Championship. Caseys Charm was out of Casey’s Ladylove (“Casey”), an appendix mare that Francis Loiseau purchased for $720 when she was a 2-year-old in 1963.
Casey was a granddaughter of Poco Bueno with a double-bred Joe Hancock maternal line. She had several siblings that were winners at halter and in the show ring, Casey was an all-around performer too but was particularly gifted in the speed events.
Although Caseys Ladylove’s offspring had some luck on the track, her daughters crossed with Sun Frost produced exceptional rodeo horses.
Unlike world champions before him, Bozo changed the barrel racing industry. He won more world titles than any horse since Scamper, and he never went to more than 50 rodeos a year to do it.
Most importantly, Bozo’s genetics weren’t an anomaly, they were replicable. While he was especially exceptional, others of his bloodline were successful in their own right.
With the rise in popularity of barrel racing in general in the 1990s, thanks in large part to the development of the divisional system, raising barrel horses expanded beyond the programs of the founding families of the sport. With that expansion came the rise of the “Frenchman” horses—those from Francis Loiseau’s Casey’s Ladylove daughters.
If you can’t beat ‘em…
Sherry Cervi’s first WPRA World Championship in 1995 was sandwiched between Peterson’s titles. In 1997, Cervi’s father, Mel Potter, purchased Bozo’s full brother PC Frenchmans Hayday (“Dinero”) at the Cowan Brothers Production Sale. The PC stood for Pat Cowan, while “Frenchman” was a nod to Ms. Loiseau.
Potter crossed Dinero on Miss Meter Jet, a three-quarter sister to Cervi’s second WPRA World Champion Jet Royal Speed (Count Jet x Miss Meter Charge). Miss Meter Jet was by Bar Tonto Jet, a son of Count Jet, a multiple stakes-placed son of Jet Deck.
Unlike Hawk, Miss Meter Jet carried two traces to the famed Three Bars (TB), Tonta Gal cross. Bar Tonto Jet’s dam, Leap Bar, was by Bar Tanto, a full brother to champion racehorse Tonto Bars Gill. Her maternal line also goes back to Tonto Bars Hank, a champion running son of Tonto Bars Gill.
The cross between Dinero and Miss Meter Jet produced Cervi’s two-time WPRA World Champion MP Meter My Hay (“Stingray”). The 2002 mare won the world in 2010 and 2013, won the NFR in 2009 and 2013, ran the fastest time at three NFRs and set a since-broken regular season earnings record in 2010. Stingray split HOTY honors in 2011 with Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi’s Yeah Hes Firen (“Duke”).
What could have been…
The third horse to claim HOTY honors from the Sun Frost, Casey’s Ladylove lineage was French First Watch (“Custer”), the only HOTY to not compete at the NFR. The late Jill Welsh, who was battling cancer and a myriad of health issues, had ridden Custer to the cusp of an NFR birth in 2015. They finished 16th in the WPRA World Standings, but their peers honored Custer with HOTY that year.
Custer, a 2004 gelding, was by Frenchmans Guy, a son of Sun Frost out of Frenchmans Lady. A stakes winner in the Dakotas, Frenchmans Lady was by Laughing Boy out of Casey’s Ladylove. She also produced Lady Lord, who carried Mary Bonogofsky to the 1988 Badlands Circuit Championship and the 1989 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo Championship. Lady Lord was also ridden at the 1990 NFR by Cheryl Luman. Right as Lady Lord was making a name for herself, Frenchmans Guy hit the ground.
A successful performer himself, Frenchmans Guy is the No. 2 all-time leading sire of barrel horses with $13 million in earners. He’s sired numerous NFR qualifiers including Teasin Dat Guy, Guys French Jet, Guys Six Pack To Go, Frenchmans Jester, Frenchmans Twister and Ima Guy Of Honor, just to name a few.
Custer was out of the Dash Ta Fame mare Dashing To Fame. A barrel racing money earner herself, Dashing To Fame was double bred Tinys Gay, through Dash Ta Fame’s dam and her own dam, Bonnies Gay. Incidentally, Bonnies Gay was out of a daughter of Bar Tonto.
$2.7 million and counting
The most recent HOTY from the famed Sun Frost, Casey’s Ladylove cross is also through Dinero. DM Sissy Hayday, “Sister,” a 2011 daughter of Dinero, earned the honor in 2018.
Sister is out of Royal Sissy Irish, a daughter of stakes winning racehorse Royal Shake Em, who is a son of champion racehorse Royal Quick Dash and Shake Em Six. Incidentally, Shake Em Six, a champion producer, is from the same cross as WPRA World Champion and HOTY winner Sixth Vision, by Streakin Six out of a Dash For Cash mare.
The maternal line of Royal Sissy Irish carries the blood of Dash For Dash, Master Hand (TB)—the broodmare sire of WPRA World Champion Cruisin On Six, and Moon Lark. Her tail maternal line through Pollylarks Hand is the same as WB Toole Ta Fame, the 2014 BFA World Futurity Champion.
Sister has carried Hailey Kinsel to four WPRA World Championships (2018-2020, 2022), an NFR Championship in 2020, the NFR earnings record and the single season earnings record. Sis and Kinsel also hold the arena records at both the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, 13.11, and at Globe Life Field, a 16.56 that was WPRA Standard Pattern record as well.