GENIUS BOURBON KING

A well known photo (1953) of Genius Bourbon King by Horst said to be best likeness of this great Saddlebred stallion.

Valley View Supreme, Supreme Sultan, Sultan's Santana, Supreme O' Lee, Miss America, Mr America, Young America, The Rambler, Fancy Fortune Cookie, Holiday Symphony,  Magnificent Obsession,  Merchant Prince etc... all these great horses in the USA & South Africa have one ancestor in common - the great GENIUS BOURBON KING, considered by many as the most beautiful stallion in his time.                          

 

 

 

 

Bourbon Chief

 

 

 

Bourbon King

 

 

 

 

 

Annie C

 

 

King's Genius

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chester Peavine

 

 

 

Princess Eugenia

 

 

Bourbon Genius

 

 

Queen of Lincoln

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Higland Flower

 

 

 

Sun Flower

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Eric

 

 

Kate Haines

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rex Monroe

 

 

 

Kathryn Haines

 

 

 

 

 

Japanette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My McDonald

 

 

 

McDonald's Majesty

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Coe

 

 

Silver Mac

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rex Bernard

 

 

 

Dapple

 

 

Blessed Event

 

 

Minnie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rex Peavine

 

 

 

Jack Twigg

 

 

 

 

 

Gladys Twigg

 

 

Fair Promise

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden King

 

 

 

Razzle Dazzle

 

 

 

 

 

Maud Cloud

His sire Bourbon Genius won the World Grand Champion Fine Harness Stake in 1937 as a four year old with Frank Bradshaw driving. He was retired to stud the next year and prove to be an outstanding breeding horse. He died at a very young age of 13 in 1946 and his contribution to the Saddle Horse Industry was probably not appreciated until after his death.

The dam of Bourbon Genius, Kate Haines, was also the dam of The Genius, Genius of Stonyridge, Leatherwood King and Leatherwood Genius, all full brothers sired by King's Genius. Her dam, Kathryn Haines, was an outstanding show horse and was one of the great broodmares of Kalarama Farm. Sunflower, the sire of Kate Haines, was the Fine Harness Champion in Louisville in 1914, the same year that  Kathryn Haines was a yearling champion.

Blessed Event had several full brothers and sisters who were good show horses. One of them, Silver Sioux, won the two-year old fine harness stake at the Ohio State Fair. Her sire, Silver Mac, was a beautiful masculine stallion that stood at Douglas Davis' High Hope Farm, near Paris, KY. He sired many great horses, including the winner of the three-year old five gaited stake at Kentucky State Fair in 1931, The Silver Plate. Many of his mares became good broodmares.

The extended pedigree of Genius Bourbon King shows the following:

13 times through Black Squirrel, 6 times through Rex Mc Donald, 4 times through Chester Dare, twice through Highland Denmark with the remaining cross to Black Squirrel through Red Squirrel.

He traces 29 times to the foundation sire, Denmark FS and five times to Harrison Chief, the foundation sire of the Chief family.

This is his story ...

Two events in Spring of  1933 in Kentucky had an important role to play in Genius Bourbon King's story.

In March 1933 , a select Saddle Horse Sale, "sale of 400" were held in Lexington. A grey four year old mare, the consignment of A.K. Grass topped the sale. She was already racking well when she was sold and the mare, Silver Twigg (by Silver Mac) went to Ross Long, the manager of Dixiana Farm, Lexington, for $3200. She had been bred by G.A. Ballard of Paint Lick, KY who owned her dam Fair Promise. Ross Long immediately sold her to another Ballard (Ed Ballard - no relation to the breeder) for his daughter, Mary.

Ed Ballard was extremely wealthy - his fortune reaching from $20 - 100 million. He owned the famous West Baden Springs Resort Hotel and  also a gambling casino at French Lick, Ind. amongst others. He was introduced to Saddle Horses through his daughter, Mary and L.S. Dickey.

He got in the horse business big time, buying the 1933 reigning World Champion Five Gaited Champion, Belle Le Rose and also a top three gaited contender, Flashing American.

Emmerson Dixon, one of the grooms (who also became a noted horseman in his own right) was on the farm upon Silver Twigg's arrival and said: "She was a very beautiful mare, the finest, most delicate thing you ever saw. She was bought for Mary Ballard to show, and they really expected big things from her. She never quite lived up to expectations."

The Ballard's horses were send to Earl Teater, who was trainer for Stroop & Gallagher, Dayton, Oh. In 1934, Teater showed his first World Grand Champion, Belle Le Rose.

Mary Ballard renamed her lovely grey mare - Blessed Event, and together they had a fairly successful career in 1934, 1935. They won seconds and thirds and picked up a blue now and then in ladies five-gaited classes.

The other event of spring 1933 took place on the farm of Robert G. Jones, North Middletown, Ky. The great broodmare Kate Haines delivered a foal from the service of King's Genius. This colt Bourbon Genius was special and it was obvious from the minute he was born. He was purchased by Ross Long for Dixiana Farm as a two-year old and debut at the Kentucky State Fair in 1936 where he won three blue ribbons in the fine harness division with Frank Bradshaw driving.

1935 was a bad year for the Ballard horses. They were moved from Earl Teater to Charles Cook, Louisville. Belle Le Rose was injured and maybe Blessed Event too. She stopped showing and was bred in the spring of 1936 to Kingston's Choice.

The murder of Ed Ballard on November 1936  by a former business associate, Bob Alexander, ended the era of the Ballard horses. Early in 1937 all the Ballard horses were sold. Spindletop Farm acquired the great Belle Le Rose and Blessed Event, heavy in foal was bought by Dixiana Farm. Her first foal was delivered in spring 1936, a filly named Happy Moment.

The mare had fertility problems and it was difficult to get her in foal again. She only conceived in 1942 again when she was bred to Bourbon Genius. On 7th June 1943 she dropped a foal at Dixiana Farm, a chestnut colt with a left hind white coronet. He was extremely beautiful but otherwise unimpressive. Illness left him with a respiratory problem.

Dr Wayne Munn, Janesville, Wisc., bought the unnamed yearling colt for a bargain price and registered him as Shoreacres Genius. It is only later (1946) that he would be renamed Genius Bourbon King.

Blessed Event had a last foal in 1946 - a filly by a son of Rex Peavine.

Dr Munn had a small advertisment in the pony section of Saddle & Bridle in 1946. This was the  first time that public attention was drawn to Genius Bourbon King - although he was registered under another name - Shoreacres Genius was advertised but his breeding was incorrectly given as being by King's Genius out of Blessed Event.

J.L.Younghusband, owner of Valley View Farm, Barrington, Ill, made headlines in July 1946 when he bought the sensational  five-gaited stallion Beau Fortune. The farm was managed by  Chester Caldwell and the resident trainer at that time was Louis Robinson. In November 1946 a "dispersal sale" was held at Valley View Farm. The horses sold for exorbitant prices. Beau Fortune was sold for $50 000!

Valley View then went shopping for another stallion. Bourbon Genius horses were extremely scarce and in demand since his sudden death in 1946 at the young age of thirteen. Chester Caldwell found one in Janesville, less than 100 miles from Chicago! Shoreacres Genius was bought from Dr Munn for next to nothing. Part of the deal was 10 free seaons to the stallion.

The almost four year old stallion matured to over 16 hands and was broke to ride and drive. Jay McClasky took pictures of Louis Robinson riding him shortly after he arrived at Valley View Farm. His name was then also changed to GENIUS BOURBON KING.

Louis Robinson riding the almost four year old Genius Bourbon King in 1946, photo by  Jay McClasky.

Genius Bourbon King stood at stud at Jack Thompson, Hodgenville, Ky. 23 Foals were registered in 1948.  Dr Munn's  first foals were two fillies, Shoreacres Choice of Genius and Shoreacres Miss Carnation. In 1947 Choice of Genius was champion yearling in the Wisconsin Futurity.

He spend three breeding seasons under the direction of Jack Thompson. From his 1948 crop Garland Bradshaw owned a filly of which he said in and ad for Genius Bourbon King: "she is the greatest filly I have ever seen!" This was Margie's Lady Genius.

The most noted horses sired by Genius Bourbon King in 1948 and 1949 were Margie's Lady Genius, she became a top gaited mare for Garland Bradshaw and later Jack Boyd, and also the good breeding stallions, The Star Genius  and Shoreacres Anacacho Genius.

In 1949 after the breeding season, Genius Bourbon King and all the broodmares, returned to Valley View Farm.

Interesting enough, Younghusband thought of trimming the stallion and showing him as a walk trot horse - something unheard of as a stallion - he  backed off but the idea remained on the back burner. It was only much later when the incredible Genius Bourbon King son, Valley View Supreme, was trimmed and shown by Tom Moore as Three Gaited World Grand Champion that a stallion ever attained Three Gaited World Champion status. (An achievement and record that still stands today.)

Two foals that were bred from the 1950 crop at Jack Thompson made history. A filly Valley Flyer, (out of the Kalarama Rex mare, Briney Breezes) later shown under the name of Miss America and the other a colt, out of Highland Sylvia, named Rambling Raider. This colt was later renamed The Rambler. In South Africa, years later, two of The Rambler's  foals were crowned as S.A. Grand Champions, namely the 1973 & 1975 S.A. Five Gaited Grand Champion, Fancy Fortune Cookie and the 1974 & 1975 S.A. Three Gaited Grand Champion, Holiday Symphony.

Fancy Fortune Cookie and Josh Joubert. (photo by Jan Genade)

Tom Moore, at that time only 15 years, came to Valley View from Mark Dicky's Pine Tree farm to assist trainer Red Davis with preparing the horses for sale. Tom Moore recalls that many of the good mares in foal to Genius Bourbon King were to be sold. He also well remembered the cold March night when Briney Breezes had her filly. (The later show star Miss America.)

When Red Davis left Valley View, Tom Moore stayed on and took over the training duties. There were nice horses but no champion. Against the advice of Chester Caldwell he started training Genius Bourbon King. He showed him in the fine harness division where he won at Wisconsin State Fair, Rock Island, Ill and Oklahoma City. He had to compete against The Lemon Drop Kid and Regal Aire. He did not always win but he always made friends. He had extreme quality and beauty and a brilliant personality.

Tom Moore and Genius Bourbon King in 1953. (photo by Horst)

His career as stud diminished while pursuing a showing career, but several of the youngsters bred in 1950 were getting the attention of the horse fraternity.

In 1952, the filly Valley Flyer was added to the Valley View show string. She was shown under the name, Miss America. She made Tom Moore and Genius Bourbon King household names in the horse world. She won the two-year old fine harness World Champion title at Louisville in 1952.  The next year she won the three year old title.

The Rambler was Reserve World Champion Five Gaited Stallion in 1955 & 1956. A full brother to Miss America, Mr America did well in harness and had a good record at stud. One of his foals, Young America was imported by Mac Murdoch to South Africa and while attaining the World Champion Five Gaited Stallion title in 1968 he was also crowned as S.A. Five Gaited Grand Champion in 1970. He also had a very successful stud career in South Africa.

Young America and his South African owner, Mac Murdoch. (photo by Jan Genade)

Another good son of the 1951 crop was Chief of Choice who was reregistered as Genius Better Bourbon. He is the grandsire of  Genius Mountain Bourbon, the sire of 1979  Five Gaited World Grand Champion, Mountain Highland Encore. In South Africa the 1998 S.A. Five Gaited Grand Champion, Magnificent Commander trace back to Genius Mountain Bourbon through his dam Magnificent Obsession. She was imported by Louise De Wet of Grootvlei, Stellenbosch. This beautiful and exquisite mare never achieved her full potential in the show ring and will always have a special place in my heart. She was the FIRST Saddlebred that I rode! 

 

Magnificent Obsession and Louise de Wet. (photo by R. Millin)

Memories Citation owned by Michelle McFarlane,  the only Saddlebred to won both the Three Gaited and Five Gaited World Grand Championship is also out a son of Genius Mountain Bourbon, namely Mountain Highland Memories. The highly successful breeding stallion Merchant Prince owned by Marion Hutchinson's Happy Valley Farm, also derives from this line.

Merchant Prince photographed by Avis.

1952 saw the birth of the most important Genius Bourbon King son, Valley View Supreme. He became a legend in his own time by being the only stallion to win the World Champion Three Gaited title in 1956. And of course he was the sire of the great Supreme Sultan who changed the look of the Saddlebred forever.

Valley View Supreme and Tom Moore. (photo by Sargent)

Genius Bourbon King's stud book was again opened in 1956 to the public.  He was the first stallion to demand a fee of  $1000. The mares stayed away and he only attained 7th place on the Saddle & Bridle Sire Rating in 1956.

The same year Mrs Judson Large, the wife of a prominent business man from Chicago bought a three-year old filly from her friend J.L. Younghusband.  The filly, Valley View Queen, was send to Tom Moore for more training and Tom showed her as American Lady, winning a ribbon in the three-year old walktrot class at the Chicago International Horse Show. She was very pleased with the mare and decided the time is right to buy a real show horse.

Scarlett Flame, a foal of Genius Bourbon King,  was showed to her in 1957. The previous year the filly created quite a stir winning the yearling stake at the Illinois State Fair. The price was high but Mrs Large was hooked on this beautiful filly,  two years younger than her full brother Valley View Supreme. She stayed in training with Valley View Farm. She was a ring sensation in 1958 and won the Junior Three Gaited World Championship at Louisville as a three-year old.

Mrs Large now was totally hooked on Saddlebreds and started negotiations to purchase Genius Bourbon King. Mr.Younghusband was very ill and a couple of trainers tried to form a syndicate to buy the stud, but Mrs Large got there first and bought him for $10 000. On 18 August 1962, Genius Bourbon King (then 19 years old) officially became the property of Mrs Large.

In his first 19 years Genius Bourbon King only sired 133 registered horses. This included 10 World Champions and 11 sons who would become famous breeding horses. During this time he also sired his greatest son, Valley View Supreme.

When Mrs Large bought him she soon realised that she needed a farm to keep him. She leased the Red Top Farm in Libertyville, Ill. belonging to the late Irving Florisheim from the bank that was in control of his estate for only $300 per month! She hired Doug Spinner as manager and soon Genius Bourbon King enjoyed the freedom he never had in his first 19 years. Everyday he was turned out to run freely in the pasture.

After the terrible fire at Garland Bradshaw's stable in Danville, Ky. where four of Mrs Large's horses (Scarlett Flame was one of them) also perished, she was more than ever determined to breed top show horses with Genius Bourbon King. She acquired several good mares, amongst them Saucy Eve (by Kalarama Colonel), Lady Diana (by The Genius) a full sister to Diana Gay, the dam of Valley View Supreme and Scarlett Flame. Others were Ridgefield Soubrette (by Ridgfield's Genius), the great Reverie's Desdemona (by King's Genius) and the 21 year old Anacacho Trail. This 21 year old daughter of Edna May's King produced a foal every year. The three foals by Genius Bourbon King were, Bourbon Genius King, Bourbon Salute and State Street.

Jack Baker succeeded Doug Spinner as manager and took care of Genius Bourbon King for about five years. According to Jack, Genius Bourbon King was plagued with fertility problems much of his life and he also felt that the horse had a lot of bad luck through his career. He also foundered several times and thanks to the farrier Warren Fontaine and the vet Dr White he was in a condition to sire all the good horses in the last years of his life.

Jack Baker described Genius Bourbon King as "the most gorgeous horse in the world - he had the biggest, prettiest, most intelligent eye you ever saw on a horse, and he was a smart horse, extremely intelligent."

He also stated that "he had the look of an eagle and he gave it to his colts, and even today, after several generations, there is no doubt that his look is there." 

A beautiful head study of Genius Bourbon King. (photo by Horst)

My stud Perfect Timing has ample Genius Bourbon King blood and if one looks at this head study that "look" is obvious!

Perfect Timing (photo by R. Millin)

Genius Bourbon King sired 82 registered horses in the last five years of his life, almost two thirds of the horses he sired in the first 19 years of his life.

In going through the list of names sired from 1963 there are about 30+ stallions who have sired champions, show horses who have been champions and mares who have been great broodmares. Just think of Skywatch's dam, Aries Golden  Gift, and Hide-Away's Curtain Call, the dam of the beautiful and successful breeding stallion of Jim Aikman, Wild Country.

Jack Baker left Red Top farm in 1966 and he was replaced by Harold Angel, sr. Genius Bourbon King became ill in 1967 after breeding three mares. He unfortunately had a twisted intestine and all efforts to save him were of no avail. The 24-year old stallion died in the lap of Harold who had learned to loved him very much in the short time he worked with him.

Genius Bourbon King's body was brought back to Valley View Farm and he was buried in a marked grave in front of the show barn.

Genius Bourbon King left a legacy of show horses in the USA and in South Africa. Even today one can spot the "eagle" look in his descendants generations later.

copyright Ross Millin 2004