* Photo by John Brasseaux.

Topsail Whiz to Enter AQHA Hall of Fame

One of the all-time great reining horses and ancestors of two other stars of the sport will soon be inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Hall of Fame.

The AQHA recently announced that Topsail Whiz, Easter King and Big Step are among six horses and seven people chosen for induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022.

Topsail Whiz

The first stallion in the sport of reining to break the $12 million mark, Topsail Whiz was a horse who made a lasting contribution to the sport. Though Topsail Whiz was a good show horse — he and Bob Loomis were third in the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open – Topsail Whiz is one of the all-time great leading sires in reining.

The son of Topsail Cody and out of Jeanie Whiz Bar (by Cee Red) is on the verge of becoming an Equi-Stat Elite $13 Million Sire — he currently has more than $12,958,255 in progeny earnings on his sire record. In addition, his daughters have produced the winners of more than $9 million.

A few of his many top offspring also include:

  • NRHA Derby Open Champion Walla Walla Whiz, a stallion out of Shiney Walla Wanda x Shining Spark) who is an Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Sire.
  • Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Sires Conquistador Whiz (out of Sugarita Chex x Bueno Chex) and Whiz N Tag Chex (out of Tag Chex x King Fritz)
  •  Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Sire Whizkey N Diamonds (out of Princess In Diamonds x Shining Spark)

A few of the many prominent horses out of Topsail Whiz mares include NRHA Triple Crown Champion Spooks Gotta Whiz, CFR Centenario Wimpy and Spooks N Jewels.

Easter King

Easter King was a cutting horse, but he’s most prominent today in the pedgrees of reining horses – especially through his grandson, the great Hollywood Dun It. 

The 1951 sorrel stallion by King and out of Gocha H (by Cuate) was bred by Jess Hankins and owned by John Bowling. After a short career as a cutting horse, Easter King excelled as a sire. 

According to the AQHA, offspring of Easter King have earned in excess of $20 million in National Reining Horse, National Cutting Horse and National Reined Cow Horse associations. 

He figures into the pedigree through his son, Hollywood Jac 86, who was the first NRHA One Million Sire and the father of Equi-Stat Elite $7 Million Sire and AQHA Hall of Fame inductee Hollywood Dun It.

Some of the prominent horses that have Easter King’s blood in the first three or four generations of their veins include NRHA Futurity Open champions Hollywood Vintage, Whizard Jac and Custom Crome; NRHA Derby Open Champion Platinum Vintage; National Reining Breeders Classic Open Champion Mr Boomerjac; and Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million sires Jacs Electric Spark and Hollywoodstinseltown.   

Big Step

Best known in Western performance horse circles as the maternal great-grandsire of Equi-Stat Elite $12 Million Sire Wimpys Little Step, Big Step actually competed as a racehorse. The son of Parker’s Trouble and out of Little Bit (by Charlie Helpler) was bought in 1962 by ProRodeo Hall of Famer Don Wilcox and pointed to a new career as a sire of all-around horses, including point-earners in halter, reining, cutting, roping, racing, barrel racing, western pleasure and western riding. Big Step sired 18 open champions and 10 youth champions. 

On the track, Big Step sired nine race starters. In the show ring, foals sired by Big Step earned 14,101.5 points in a time when points were hard to come by. 

In addition to being in the pedigree of Wimpys Little Step and all of that stallion’s descendents, Big Step can be found in the third or fourth generations of the pedigrees of $147,000-earner and Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Sire Great Resolve (Einstein); NRHA Futurity Open Champion Custom Crome; and also Spat Olena, who was the first European-based EquiStat Elite $1 Million Sire.

Other honorees: 

  • Sun Frost is a name known for speed. Bred by Stanley Johnston and owned by Cowan Brothers LLC, the stallion showed considerable promise as a young cutter, but even greater promise as a sire. The 1979 palomino stallion was by Doc’s Jack Frost and out of the Driftwood Ike mare Prissy Cline. Sun Frost became the head of a broodmare band rich in the blood of the Stanley Johnston-bred horses. By the mid-1990s, Sun Frost was one of the North Country’s most celebrated sires, thanks to his progeny French Flash Hawk and Frenchmans Guy.  Sun Frost sired the earners of more than $2.2 million and is the grandsire of the earners of more than $14 million in barrel racing, roping, cutting and reining. Sun Frost died in 2007.
  • Impressive is a name synonymous with halter horses. The stallion bred by Perry Cotton of Pleasanton, California, and owned by Maurine Faulkner from Pass Christian, Mississippi, was known as a leading halter sire and world champion aged stallion. The 1969 sorrel stallion was by Lucky Bar 54 and out of the Lightning Bar mare Glamour Bars. In 1974, Impressive was the AQHA world champion aged stallion at the first AQHA World Championship Show. During his show career, Impressive earned 48 points and 20 grand championships. He sired 2,251 foals from 24 crops, and they earned 19,249 halter points and 5,628.5 performance points. He sired 23 open world champions, two amateur world champions and four youth world champions that won a total of 38 world championships. He sired 25 reserve world champions that won 28 reserve world championships. He died in 1995 at age 26.
  • Corona Cartel: The 1994 bay stallion by Holland Ease and out of Corona Chick (by Chicks Beduino) was bred by Robert Etchandy and owned by the Corona Cartel Syndicate. He earned $577,142 and won three stakes races during his race career, including the Los Alamitos Million Futurity (G1) and Kindergarten Futurity (G2). He finished his race career with six wins and three seconds in 14 starts. At the time of his death, he had 1,862 foals registered from 21 crops, and progeny earnings of more than $62.8 million. He sired 1,069 winners from 1,542 starters, and 179 stakes winners.  Corona Cartel died December 18, 2019.
  • John Andreini: AQHA 30-year breeder, horseman and AQHA Director Emeritus John Andreini became involved in the horse industry in 1965 when he was invited to a trail ride. In his own name, Andreini raced the earners of more than $2.1 million, plus more in partnership, including champion Jumping Tac Flash ($147,065). He bred the earners of more than $6.9 million, including, among others, top runners like Volcom ($430,433) and Deefirst ($319,029) and AQHA Dam of Distinction Jusjumpin. Andreini was the founder, chairman and CEO of Andreini & Co., an insurance brokerage he established in 1951. He served the racing industry in many capacities, including as a leader in the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association and a partner in entities such as the Los Alamitos Equine Sale and Ruidoso Downs. After his death in 2018, a special racing recognition award, the John Andreini Special Recognition Award, was renamed in his honor.
  • Sandra Arledge: AQHA Past President Sandra Arledge of Encinitas, California, has a long history with horses. From serving as an AQHA director since 1997 and elevated to director emeritus in 2011, to owning and operating Sandy Arledge Quarter Horses, her commitment to the American Quarter Horse is evident across her career. She has served on the membership, shows and professional horsemen, judges, stud book and registration, and Hall of Fame selection committees. Arledge also served on the nominations and credentials committee and served as the committee’s chairwoman in 2010. She has bred and trained numerous AQHA world champions and reserve world champions, in addition to being named the 2010 AQHA Professional Horsewoman of the Year. She was inducted into the Pacific Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 2015. Arledge was elected to the AQHA Executive Committee in 2011 and served as the Association’s president in 2016.
  • James V.A. Carter: James V.A. Carter spent the 1940s on a ranch in Shaville, Oregon. He bred Moon Deck to his band of Barred and Midnight Jr mares to create horses that could run faster and further, including Top Moon. He eventually left the cattle business to focus on raising fast horses. He then moved to Clovis, California, and was a leading trainer on California tracks while running only horses he bred and raised. Many of Carter’s horses are still found in racing pedigrees today, including 2008 champion racing 3-year-old Heartswideopen who traces through her dam, Dashing Phoebe, to Top Moon.
  • Mary Hopkins: AQHA judge, trainer and advocate for youth and equestrians with disabilities riders, Mary Hopkins, better known as “Miss Mary,” is best known for her service, philanthropy and charitable efforts. She was Mississippi’s first youth adviser, taking youth to the first AQHJA World Championship Show in Amarillo and has volunteered with the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo as manager and show secretary. She became a judge in 1975 and judged many prestigious shows, including the International Summer Special Olympics in 1991 and 1995. Hopkins has been called the “First Horse Lady of Mississippi” and in 2015 helped guide the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Dixie National.
  • Walter T. Hughes: Trainer and judge Walter T. Hughes and wife Nancy of Damascus, Maryland, saw themselves as ambassadors for AQHA and for the American Quarter Horse breed. Walter served as an AQHA director from 1971 until 1995, serving on the youth, membership, Hall of Fame and judges committees. He also served as chairman of the AQHA Judges Committee. Nancy served on the American Quarter Horse Foundation Committee and Council for many years. Through their travels, they served as exemplary AQHA ambassadors and assisted in the development of international growth and awareness of the American Quarter Horse and were recognized as lifetime achievement recipients from the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s council. As breeders, they were accredited with Skips Dilly and Brio.
  • Jerry Wells: All-around hand and competitor Jerry Wells was born in Sulphur, Oklahoma, where in his early teens he discovered a knack for handling horses. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, his farm was breeding 750 mares a year, and he and his wife, Betty, were among the nation’s elite owners, trainers and exhibitors. In AQHA competition, Wells won 61 world championships, one of them in tie-down roping, a record that stood for many years. He showed Kid Meyers to AQHA’s first open Supreme Champion title. Wells was a 20-year breeder. Horses bred in his own name earned 1,523 points and three reserve world championships. As an exhibitor, Wells earned 2,148 points in halter and 130 points in tie-down roping.