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 Pacific Bailey

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Pacific Bailey

... Raymond Cates - owner of Savannah Jr. - told Rutland he thought Pacific Bailey was the only horse he couldn't outrun ...

An excerpt from the book,  
"Speed and the Quarter Horse:  a Payload of Sprinters"  
(1973) by Nelson C. Nye

The story of this horse, intertwined with TLC, properly starts way back when Guy Rutland went to the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Show at Ada, hunting a palomino stallion. In all that collection of he-horses he saw only one that even came near the ideal of perfection he had in mind. This was a yearling called Little Fox.

Bred and owned by the Smith Brothers (Jack and Paul) of Indiahoma and sired by Hank H (a former AA son of King from Rock Springs, Texas) Foxy Loxy was only there to be looked at and it cost Guy $1,250 to part the Smiths from him.

Renamed Gold King Bailey, Little Fox filled out and developed into one of the all-time great Palomino Quarter Horse stallions -- if not precisely a Question Mark, near enough as made no difference. A grand champ in the show rings of Fort Worth and Denver, he became also a top match and purse racehorse, defeating all but one horse that ever got the best of him, the sire of thirty-one ROM race qualifiers and eight AQHA Champions. He proved also to be astonishingly prepotent, passing along in large measure all and more of the traits and characteristics Mr. Rutland had glimpsed in that yearling of the long-ago '40's.

And then came Gold Pacific (1958-1964), AAA on the straightaways, an inescapably all-around improvement over his illustrious sire. Guy Ray Rutland declares with understandable pride: "He didn't stand tall on this earth, only fourteen hands and eleven hundred pounds, but he stood tall and mighty on the tracks and as a sire."

Breeder of Gold Pacific was Bud Warren -- remember him? Sired by Gold King Bailey, Gold Pacific was out of South Pacific, a daughter of Leo and Randle's Lady, and was acquired by Rutland in a trade which amounted to a sort of "planned marriage."

This worked out pretty well for Guy Ray, mixing into the brew, with what he already had, the prepotent speed-blood genes of Leo and all those celebrated track performers back of him -- perfect blending of speed on speed -- and without any close-up Thoroughbred infusion.

Now there's nothing wrong with these TB infusions properly administered --  they've been a blessing to the breed. But top sprinting stock without either a Thoroughbred parent or grandparent appears to have become remarkably short in supply.

Gold Pacific, rated AA in first year performance and AAA the next, became one of the toughest match-race horses in the country and, as a four-year-old, was retired to the stud in 1962, standing three seasons prior to his untimely death. He had what it took and he could pass it along, as amply demonstrated by his good son Pacific Bailey, a sorrel foal of '63 out of Nell Bert McCue (by Wyatt McCue from Sue Nell Bert).

When Rutland bred Gold Pacific to Nell Bert McCue his son Cliff said fishy-eyed, "Why?" Rutland's answer: "To raise the fastest horse you ever sat on." Cliff laughed, but it looks like today he shares that conviction.

As a weanling colt, Pacific Bailey wasn't much for looks and Rutland could not unload him even for $400 plus a running commentary on what a pulse-thumping sprinter he would turn out to be. People just grinned and kept passing him up. During PB's days as a yearling, Guy kept hard at it, still flogging the racehorse pitch, and couldn't get shed of him for $1,000.  Guy had told folks so long "Pac" was going to be a kingpin ball of fire on the tracks, by the time the colt was two, he pretty near believed it himself and finally put him into training with son Cliff; Otis Craighead served for ballast. This combination made a considerable impression during Pac's first season on the straightaways, racking up fourteen wins and three place finishes from nineteen starts. It certainly opened people's eyes, and you can lay on that!

He ran his first race at Muskogee, March 6, 1965, winning by day-light. Cliff ran Pac in his halter (under bridle) and, Guy says, "being superstitious, kept up this practice long as he handled him -- even getting it okayed as 'special tack' at Raton." In ten more months of TLC -- Tender Loving Care -- Pacific Bailey had it made, having just won a 350-yard "open" at Blue Ribbon Downs in :17.93 for a new track record.

Still wearing his lucky halter, Pac's first "official" start was made at Marble Downs, Carthage, Missouri, on April 11 of that year, winning by daylight in AA time. On the 17th he ran in the trials for the Ozark Futurity. There were no mutuels, but side betting flourished. They were laying two to one on Bird Man against the field. Rutland told them if they'd lay him four to one he'd take Pacific Bailey and give them the field -- "one man almost tore off his pocket getting the money out to bet me." When the gates flew open, Pac swiftly took the lead and won, going away, by two and three-quarters, setting a new track record of :18.05 for 350; Bird Man was second, ten lengths ahead of the rest of the field. On the 24th in the futurity finals, the following horses went to the post: Pacific Bailey, Bird Man, Cee Bar Deck, Suwanee Bars, Little John Dial, Leo's Reckonette, Bailey Marble and Ator's Mary Leo. A good many punters wanted to put their money on Pac but were scared off by Web Steele's plastic-hoofed Cee Bar Deck and Bird Man.

Pac won by three-quarters, defeating Bird Man, Cee Bar Deck and all the rest, lowering his own recent record to :18.03. "It looked," said Guy Ray Rutland, "as though my drum-thumping for Pacific Bailey was about to bear real fruit."

And, right about then, his crop of good luck went head-first straight into the fan. At La Mesa Park in the Oklahoma Futurity trials just before they took off, Raymond Cates -- owner of Savannah Jr. -- told Rutland he thought Pacific Bailey was the only horse he couldn't outrun. While they were still in the saddling paddock getting ready for Pac's trial heat, one of those freak mountain storms swept across the track with a twenty-seven mph headwind ramming right into the horses' faces. Pac, as favorite, was bet right off the boards - down to $2.20 for a $2.00 ticket. While they were loading, it started to hail, a phenomenon Pac hadn't encountered before. When the rest took off he stood there, astonished. The jock started to pull him up, then spied a hole and booted him toward it. Pac caught and went past every one of those bangtails but Cee Bar Deck which got there first by a neck. The storm had put the electric timer on the blink, and this heat was hand timed; Pac failed to qualify, Cee Bar Deck being the last horse given gateroom in the finals. The Rutlands loaded Pacific Bailey and headed for home - "A mistake," says Guy. "I should have hung around and carried out my plans for paying late penalties and entering Pac in the Raton and All American futurities. But I was feeling pretty down and said to hell with it."

Pac's next start was in the Kansas Bred Futurity. Winning his trial by two lengths, he came back and took the finals on July 4 by three-quarters over Becky Marble (AAA), a filly Rutland had bred and raised by Carrara Marble (TB) out of Becky Bailey (AAA).

Summing up, as a two-year-old Pacific Bailey (TAAA and AQHA Champion) was stakes winner of four -- the Ozark Quarter Horse Association Futurity, the Kansas Bred Futurity, the Bluestem Downs Futurity and the Eastern Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity at Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was second in the Missouri A. H. Futurity and the Magic Empire Fall Futurity. A total of nineteen starts, fourteen wins, and three place finishes, setting a new world's record (unacknowledged) for two-year-old stallions at 300 yards - the AQHA weren't crediting world's records that year. A lot of you folks will remember they did away with Champion Quarter Running titles, too. I sat in on the meeting where this was decided and protested vigorously, as did several others, without avail. This was the last Racing Committee meeting I attended. I remember pointing out that this decision was pulling the rug out from under the best promotion gadget Quarter Racing had come up with.

At three, Pacific Bailey started eight times, garnering two TAAA ratings, four AAA and one AA. He was retired to stud in '67. He has sired twenty-six straightaway starters in 1970 through, I believe, September and -- as of July 20 of that year - had eighteen of these qualified for ROM ratings, some of them stakes winners. Like, for instance, Pacific Bird (AAA) and Pacific Levan (AAA), besides Zareta Bailey - AA Stakes winner of three futurities - and Pacific Time, AA stakes winner of two. Through September, 1970, latest figures from the Performance Department of the AQHA show Pacific Bailey with twenty-one ROM racing qualifiers, including AAA and AA stakes winners which have won nine different futurities to this point; only six of these qualifiers having Register of Merit dams, all the rest being from maiden and unproven mares.

Rutland's goal for 1970 was to have Pacific Bailey announced as Leading Sire of Two-Year-Old Qualifiers and, as of September, he was running neck and neck with Jay Chambers' Jet Deck for that honor.

A few mint copies (sealed in original boxes) of this book are available. This is the 6th,  and by far the largest of only 6 horse books written by Nelson C. Nye,  Quarter Horse historian and western novelist.  Click here for information and availability.

Related Articles:

Sugar Bars
Three Chicks
Tiny Charger
Tiny Watch

Heart of the Matter ... by Marianna Haun
Leo ... The All Time Horse ... by M. K. Fredlund

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