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Delta Flyer (PT) and Kenny Patterson made some history in 1986. • Photo by Pat Hall.

From The Archives: Delta Flyer (PT)

Turning heads with his loud, tobiano markings, Delta Flyer (PT) stood out from his sorrel cutting counterparts. He backed up his flashy looks and made some history in the 1986 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Derby Open, winning the title and coming home with more than $170,000.

Flying to New Heights

For owner Floyd Moore, the result had been a long time coming. The 1985 NCHA Futurity semi-finalist is said to have cost him around $80,000 as a 2-year-old, and Moore’s gamble paid off. According to a 1986 QHN article, Delta Flyer was the first Paint to have won a major NCHA aged event at the time. 

Following the NCHA Super Stakes success, Delta Flyer was syndicated. Forty shares were sold at $10,000 each with two breedings available per share owner in 1987, and one breeding every year following, according to QHN

Bred by Lynn Anderson of Nashville, Tennessee, Delta Flyer was sired by the household stallion Peppy San Badger and out of NCHA Hall of Fame Horse and 1973 NCHA Open Reserve World Champion Delta (PT) (by Lemon Squeezer).

Delta held her own with some of the sport’s all-time greats. In addition to placing second in the 1973 NCHA World Championship, she placed fifth in the 1977 race behind Peponita, Doc’s Starlight (future mother of Grays Starlight, Gallo Del Cielo and Paddys Irish Whiskey), Kingstream and Mr San Peppy.

Delta Flyer (PT) is in the bloodline of many winning Paints, including 2006 Klamath Ranch Festival Derby Open Reserve Champion Ricochet Rascal (PT). The gelding, pictured with Andrew Coates, won more than $81,370 and traces to Delta Flyer multiple times. • PhotoFAST/Larry & Dale Smith

Raking in more than $260,000 in lifetime earnings, Delta Flyer continued to show in cutting with trainer Kenny Patterson. As a sire, Delta Flyer went on to produce $171,736 in progeny earnings, including several APHA World and Reserve World Champions. 

According to APHA, Delta Flyer’s progeny have earned more than 2,400 APHA points. As a broodmare sire, he sired earners of $263,690, according to EquiStat. Delta Flyer was inducted into the APHA Hall of Fame in 2015.

For owners Floyd and Maryann Moore, Delta Flyer was their staple contribution to the Paint breeding community. Moore appreciated the son on Peppy San Badger so much he sought Delta Flyer’s dam Delta, a NCHA Open World Champion and 1977 NCHA Hall of Fame Inductee. With both Delta Flyer and Delta in his barn, Moore began breeding paint horses with punchy cow sense. 

Delta Flyer passed in June 1999 at age 17, according to APHA, but his descendants still continue to make an impact in APHA competition today.

Ode to the Owners

Cutting horses became a passion for Moore, a cattle auction owner who had supplied the NCHA with cattle for a decade before taking the plunge into cutting horse ownership. Understandably, the horse bug was all-consuming and according to APHA, the Moore’s registered more than 1,300 Paints throughout their lives, growing the associations’ international influence with people from other countries snapping up the flashy cutters and becoming APHA members themselves.