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The Darkk Side and Miles Baker * Photo from Solo Select

In The Blood—The Darkk Side and the Hybrid Vigor Phenomenon

When The Darkk Side and Pro Rodeo Hall Of Fame Cowboy Trevor Brazile won the 2023 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Champion Junior Heading Horse title they put an exclamation point on this colt’s destiny to be a top roping competitor. He had shown prowess in the roping pen at multiple events earning such titles as the Royal Crown Oklahoma City 4-Year-Old & Under Open Heading Futurity Reserve Championship and the Royal Crown Buckeye 4-Year-Old & Under Open Heading Futurity Reserve Championship.

The Darkk Side (Once In A Blu Boon x DT Sugar Chex Whiz x Shiners Lena Chex) was bred by Dixon Flowers Quarter Horses. He was purchased by Solo Select Horses LLC (Melanie Smith) in 2021 and then he was transferred to the partnership of Solo Select Horses and Relentless Remuda (Trevor Brazile and Miles Baker) in 2022. They made headlines in May of 2023 when they syndicated his ownership forming The Darkk Side Syndicate. 

The pedigree of The Darkk Side is filled with champions. A pedigree that is built on great cutting horse bloodlines and great rope horse bloodlines. His pedigree pattern also serves as a great example of one way to take advantage of hybrid vigor in the development of a foal.

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The Darkk Side was an AQHA World Champion in 2023 * Photo from Solo Select

Hybrid vigor is defined as “the phenomenon that occurs when animals from two different breeds or two unrelated lines or bloodlines within a breed are mated producing offspring with increased vigor over that of the parents.” We have built our horses on inbreeding and linebreeding to set type. But it is through hybrid vigor that we can improve our horses’ genetic diversity and introduce qualities that might be missing when we line- and inbreed.

Here are three examples of pedigree patterns that enhance hybrid vigor–

                              Cross #1 – Breed Inbred (unrelated) to Inbred (unrelated)

                              Cross #2—Breed Inbred (unrelated) to Outcross Breeding (no inbreed­ing)

                              Cross #3—Outcross (similar type) to Outcross (simi­lar type) 

                                               (neither parent shows inbreeding)

The Darkk Side is a result of the second type of hybrid vigor breeding.

Once In A Blu Boon’s Lineage

Once In A Blu Boon (Peptoboonsmal x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep) earned $319,002 with titles such as the 2014 AQHA Senior World Championship and the 2014 NCHA Open Classic/Challenge Championship. He is an EquiStat Elite $10 Million Sire. His leading performers include; All Spice, 2021 NCHA Open Horse of the Year; Twice In Santiago, the 2020 NCHA Horse of the Year; Here Comes The Boon, 2019 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion. 

The Darkk Side’s paternal grandsire is EquiStat Elite $28 Million Sire Peptoboonsmal (Peppy San Badger x Royal Blue Boon x Boon Bar), he was the 1995 NCHA Open Futurity Champion.

Autumn Boon won $258,185 and captured the 1998 NCHA Super Stakes Open Championship and the 1999 NCHA Super Stakes Classic Open Championship. The $2 Million Dam is the mother of Im Countin Checks, a Breeders Invitational Open Derby Champion and sire of horses that have earned over $8.5 million.

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James Payne and Once In A Blu Boon * Photo by Kelsey Pecsek

Autumn Boon was sired by Dual Pep (Peppy San Badger x Miss Dual Doc X Doc’s Remedy) the 1990 NCHA Open Classic/Challenge Champion and the 1990 NCHA Non-Pro Classic/Challenge Champion. His winners include a two-time NCHA Open World Champion, Dual Rey Me.  

Autumn Boon’s dam is Royal Blue Boon, the 1984 NCHA Super Stakes Open Co-Reserve Champion. Her offspring include Red White And Boon, a three time NCHA Non-Pro World Champion and an NCHA Open World Champion. Her sire was Boon Bar (Doc Bar x Teresa Tivio x Poco Tivio), and her dam was Royal Tincie (Royal King x Texas Dottie x Royal Texas). Royal Texas was a son of Royal King giving Royal Tincie a breeding pattern of 1 x 3 to Royal King. 

The mating of Peptoboonsmal with Autumn Boon is the mating of a three-quarter brother and sister. Peptoboonsmal was sired by Peppy San Badger and out of Royal Blue Boon with Autumn Boon sired by Dual Pep by Peppy San Badger and out of Royal Blue Boon. This is an intense form of collateral inbreeding of three-quarter siblings. This is close inbreeding, and the theory is that this leads to homozygosity of the genes or the gene pairs in that the gene pairs carry the same code, and this means that the homozygous genes pass on the same genetic code to their foals. 

DT Sugar Chex Whiz’s Bloodlines

DT Sugar Chex Whiz (Shiners Lena Chex x King Snazzy Sugar x Fols Classy Snazzy) put together a phenomenal show record that started in the AQHA. She earned 15 halter points and 498.5 performance points to earn her ROM and an AQHA Championship. She earned Open Superior titles in heeling, heading and tie-down roping to become an AQHA Performance Champion. She was the 2015 AQHA World Champion Junior Tie-Down Roping Horse and the 2015 AQHA Reserve World Show Super Horse.  She was the 2015 AQHA Reserve High Point Junior All Around Horse. She earned points in heading, heeling, tie-down roping, ranch riding and pole bending, not to mention barrel racing and working cow horse where she was a National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) money earner. She competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and in 2019 she was named the PRCA/AQHA Heeling Horse of the Year.  

DT Sugar Chex Whiz has become the most prolific rope horse producer in recent history. Her money-earners include DT Hickory Blu Steel ($88,671), The Darkk Side ($72,685), The Notorious B I G ($68,691) and two others. Her offspring have earned $238,064 according to EquiStat, and they average $47,613 per horse.

Shiners Lena Chex (Shining Spark x Lil Smarty Chex x Smart Little Lena) is DT Sugar Chex Whiz’s sire. His show record tells the story of an NRHA and NRCHA money earner and an AQHA ROM. He has sired 46 foals with 17 performers. His World Champions include DT Sugar Shine Whiz, DT Elenor Shine Whiz, DT Air Jordan, DT Shine Blue Brandy and DT Shiners J Lo.

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DT Air Jordan and JD Yates were ARHFA Heading World Champions in 2017. * Photo by Primo Morales

King Snazzy Sugar (Fols Classy Snazzy x Slynking Sugar Whiz x Kings Zantanon) was an unshown mare but is the dam of foals who’ve earned $150,225 according to EquiStat. She’s produced 15 foals, seven of them earners. DT Sugar Shine Whiz and DT Sugar Chex Whiz were sisters that were sired by Shiner Lena Chex that won World Championships. The other World Champion produced by King Snazzy Sugar was DT Summershines (by Lena Docs Diamond) the 2021 and 2022 AQHA Select World Champion Heeling Horse.  

Fols Classy Snazzy (Fols Native x Lady With Class x Snazzy Man) was an ROM racehorse and arena performer. He was a stakes finalist on the track, and he was a World Show qualifier in barrel racing. He earned 28-barrel racing points in five shows with two wins. 

Slynking Sugar Whiz (Kings Zantanon x Slynking Sugar Whiz x Topsail Whiz) was an unshown mare. Her sire Kings Zantanon was sired by Continental King and his dam was Aces Breeze by Continental Ace by Continental King giving him a breeding pattern of 1 x 3 to Continental King. An added note: Slynking Sugar Whiz is a full sister to Kings Sly Sugar who produced Rey Shines On Top, the 2014 and 2015 PRCA/AQHA Heeling Horse of the Year. Rey Shines On Top is sired by Shiners Lena Rey, a son of Shining Spark. 

Step back and look at the five-generation pedigree of DT Sugar Chex Whiz to see that she is not linebred. She carries no multiple crosses of a common ancestor between both sides of her five-generation pedigree. The only common ancestor in her pedigree is Doc Bar. Her sire Shiners Lena Chex is sired by Shining Spark by Genuine Doc by Doc Bar. His dam Lil Miss Smarty Chex is sired by Smart Little Lena by Doc O’Lena by Doc Bar. This gives his pedigree a 3 x 4 breeding pattern to Doc Bar. But DT Sugar Chex Whiz is not linebred to Doc Bar as this stallion doesn’t appear in her five-generation pedigree on the dam’s side of the pedigree. This gives her an outcross pedigree that is based on heterozygosity which is the opposite of homozygosity as the gene pairs carry the different codes. This pedigree carries a lot of genetic diversity.  

In Conclusion

When Once In A Blu Boon was crossed on DT Sugar Chex Whiz they produced the second hybrid vigor breeding pattern that was mentioned earlier. Crossing the homozygous pedigree of Once In A Blu Boon with the heterozygous pedigree of DT Sugar Chex Whiz. Breed Inbred (unrelated) to Outcross Breeding (no inbreed­ing) and the result this time was The Darkk Side.