In The Blood—Best Stop and her Joe Cody Influence

A look at Best Stop’s pedigree will show the influence of the great reining horse foundation sire Joe Cody and the role line breeding plays in this family of horses. 

Since its inception in 2019 The Run For A Million (TRFAM) has become an integral part of the western performance horse industry. Five horses have earned the championship in the four years it has been run, with the 2019 winners being co-champions. The 2021 winner was Gunna Stop (Kole Price), Best Shine and Jason Vanlandingham scored a 231 to win the 2023 TRFAM. Their wins cemented a mare named Best Stop into the history of this event, as the dam of Best Shine and the maternal grandam of Gunna Stop, her family has produced two TRFAM Champions.

Best Stop (Custom Chrome x Rest Stop x Topsail Cody) is owned by Wagman Ranch Inc. of Kellyville, Oklahoma. She earned $43,180 and was a multiple aged event finalist including the 2002 Congress Reining Futurity Non-Pro Co-Reserve Champion and the 2004 Cordyville Breeders Derby Non-Pro Reserve Champion. Now she is the dam of horses that have earned over $1 million. Her leading money earners include Best Shine ($682,562), Hey Joe ($131,675), Late Night Stopper ($101,637) and Stop Like A Dream ($101,097). 

Custom Crome (Chrome Plated Jac x Another Greyhound x Greyhound Step) was the 1993 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Champion. He won $116,577. He is an EquiStat Elite $4 Million Sire. His leading money earners include four horses that have earned over $200,000 including Custom Pistol ($254,858), Custom Cash Advance ($231,056), Custom Legend ($228,287) and Custom Mahogany ($211,203). His sire, Chrome Plated Jac, is by Hollywood Jac 86 and out of Miss Doll Pine, by Great Pine. 

Another Greyhound ($6,054) was out of April King Cody by Joe Cody. Another Greyhound’s granddam was Major King Miss by Major King by Royal King by King P-234. 

Rest Stop (Topsail Cody x Villa Eddie x Edmond Star) was the 1988 NRHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion and the 1990 NRHA Non-Pro Reserve World Champion. She earned $64,425. She is the dam of horses that have EquiStat earnings of $250,380 and her leading money winner is Better Not Rest ($121,638) a full brother to Best Stop. Rest Stop is in the NRHA Hall of Fame. 

Topsaid Cody * QHN File Photo

Topsail Cody (Joe Cody x Doc Bar Linda x Doc Bar) was the 1980 NRHA Open Futurity Champion and the 1981 AQHA World Champion Junior Reining Horse. He would sire foals with earnings of over $1.6 million, his top money earner Cee Blair Sailor would become the only three-time NRHA Open World Champion and be inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame one year before his sire. Topsail Cody is the sire of dams that have produced over $4.7 Million.

The dam of Rest Stop is the unshown mare Villa Eddie (Edmond Star x Lady Star Skip x Reger’s Skip). Rest Stop was her only NRHA performer. Edmond Star was sired by Harlan, by Hank H by King P-234. Harlan’s dam was the legendary mare Dixie Beach by Beetch’s Yellow Jacket. Villa Eddie’s dam was Lady Star Skip by Reger’s Skip, and she was out of Mag’s Jo Star by Kansas Star. Kansas Star’s sire was Nowata Star by Oklahoma Star P-6, and his dam was Star Jean by Oklahoma Star P-6. This gives Kansas Star a breeding pattern of 2 x 2 to Oklahoma Star P-6.  

Joe Cody and Line Breeding

Joe Cody (Bill Cody x Taboo x King P-234) was phenomenal in reining to the point of becoming legendary. He was a successful show horse earning an AQHA Championship when he was three and earning 10 halter, 42 cutting and 4 reining points. He sired horses that earned $130,000 in the early years of the NRHA as well as two NRHA Futurity champions, Topsail Cody and Cassandra Cody. He was inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame in 1989 and the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1995.

Looking at Best Stop’s pedigree, she has a breeding pattern of 4 x 3 to Joe Cody. Joe Cody appears in the fourth generation through his daughter April King Cody and in the third generation through his son Topsail Cody. Line breeding is the mating of individuals that carry a common ancestor, it helps keep more of the genes of the common ancestor in the foal produced. Contrary to popular opinion, line breeding is a less intense form of inbreeding. Inbreeding is the mating of animals more closely related than the average of the population. The type of inbreeding we often see is called close inbreeding, which is the mating of sire to daughters, or siblings such as full brothers/sisters and half brothers and sisters. We saw this last example in the horse Kansas Star with a breeding pattern of 2 x 2 to Oklahoma Star P-6.  

April King Cody has multiple examples of line breeding in her pedigree. * QHN Graphic

The next part of line breeding is “returning the blood.” This version of line breeding brings the common ancestor to the foal through the foal’s dam and the paternal granddam. The sire’s dam and the foal’s dam share the common ancestor. This increases the influence of the sire’s dam on the foal, as she shares the common ancestor with the foal’s dam. 

Look at Best Shine and his line breeding pattern to Joe Cody. His sire is Shine Chic Shine (Smart Chic Olena x Ebony Shine x Shining Spark). Ebony Shine’s dam is Ebony Whiz by Topsail Whiz by Topsail Cody by Joe Cody. With the line breeding to Joe Cody in the pedigree of Best Stop, Best Shine has a breeding pattern of 6 x 5 x 4 to Joe Cody. This may not seem like much, but Joe Cody moves forward in the pedigree giving him an influence on Best Shine. 

The percent of blood is used as a measuring tool to define the percent of blood as the number of genes a horse inherits from horses in their pedigree, and it is based on the position of the ancestor. Sire and dam each contribute 50%. The grandparents each contributed 25% and great grandparents contributed 12.5% and so on down the line halving the number as we move back in the pedigree. Geneticists don’t use this anymore, but it is useful to show how line breeding works.   

The breeding pattern for Best Shine to Joe Cody is 6 x 5 x 4 where Joe Cody is found in the sixth generation (1.5625%), fifth generation (3.125%) and the fourth generation (6.25%). (1.5625 + 3.125 + 6.25 = 10.9374). This shows that as many as 10.9375% of the genes in Best Shine could’ve theoretically come from Joe Cody. This is just an “estimate” as we don’t know how many Joe Cody genes are passed down, things like crossover genes or genes that trade place could change that percentage. But we can use it to show potentially how line breeding can increase the influence of a common ancestor on the individual. That is the purpose of line breeding. 

Stop Like A Dream is another Best Stop foal that is linebred to Joe Cody. Her sire Magnum Chic Dream (Smart Chic Olena x Sailin Barbee x Topsail Cody) is linebred to Joe Cody with a breeding pattern of 4 x 5 x 4. This breeding pattern has a percent of blood of 15.625%. 

Joe Cody * QHN File Photo

Best Stops Belle (Spooks Gotta Whiz x Best Stop x Topsail Cody) the winner of $35,286 is another performer with this breeding pattern. Spooks Gotta Whiz is sired by Spooks Gotta Gun, and he is out of Prettywhizprettydoes by Topsail Whiz by Topsail Cody by Joe Cody. The breeding pattern is 5 x 5 x 4 to Joe Cody.

Best Stop, Stop Like A Dream and Best Stops Belle also serve as examples of “returning the blood” as the line breeding to Joe Cody comes to the foal through the sire’s dam and the foal’s dam. 

Gunna Stop, sired by Gunnatrashya is out of Stop Little Sister a full sibling to Stop Like A Dream. So Stop Little Sister has a breeding pattern of 4 x 5 x 4 to Joe Cody. This gives Gunna Stop a breeding pattern of 5 x 6 x 5 to Joe Cody through the dam side of the pedigree. This is not line breeding to Joe Cody in the pedigree of Gunna Stop because Joe Cody doesn’t appear in his sire’s pedigree. It would be considered an example of an outcross pedigree, because the line breeding to Joe Cody was outcrossed on the pedigree of Gunnatrashya.

Stopping In Jersey was out of Stop Little Sister and another qualifier for The Run For A Million with Jason Vanlandingham. He was sired by Yellow Jersey. Again, we see the line breeding to Joe Cody outcrossed this time on Yellow Jersey. 

Line breeding in today’s performance horses has been widely used to keep the great foundation horses as an integral part of current pedigrees. Joe Cody has been an integral part of The Run For A Million because of his line breeding in Best Stop and her foal Best Shine as well as relatives Gunna Stop and Stopping In Jersey.