WING COMMANDER

Part II

Wing Commander the breeding stallion

(painting by George Ford Morris)

Dodge Stables Stables was already a respected breeding farm when Wing Commander was retired to stud in 1954.

The stallions, Anacacho Shamrock, Sparkling Waters and American Dictator were the Saddlebred stallions at stud. Shamrock became America's number one stallion on Saddle and Bridle's Sire Rating in 1953. He held this supreme spot until his death in 1957. Full sisters of Wing Commander - Dream Waltz and Primrose Path became top show horses. Star of the Show, by Anacacho Shamrock and out of Show Boat pushed the great My My to the limit.

Other famous horses by Anacacho Shamrock include the full brother Command Decision as well as Fairy Ring, Gay Lover and Fluffy Mc Duffy (The sire of Captain McDuffy who is the sire of Gifted Pearl, the dam of the great Scandal's Last Tango)

The first Wing Commander foal was Many Memories, a brown filly out of Sweet Rhythm. She was bought by Joan Robinson and went to Texas.

The first advertisement for Wing Commander appeared in 1955. His no. 1 sire, Anacacho Shamrock, was standing at $300. Wing's fee was $500 and his book was limited to 20 approved mares.

Commander's Love was the first foal to make the record books. She was third in the weanling National Futurity of 1956. As a three year old she won the three year old five gaited stake with reserve to her half brother, Wing Again. The Wing Commanders were surely noticed!

The Fine Harness mare Tashi Ling was Wing Commander's first World Grand Champion foal. When she hit the showring people really believed in Wing's ability as a sire. She was one of the greatest and according to people who saw her the closest to his animated way.

When one looks as Wing's pedigree it shows that the dominant family bloodline is Denmark FS. Harrison Chief's bloodline is dominant on the top line and also the top line of his dam.

Wing traces early to the great Bourbon King through both his sire and dam. Another example of line breeding. Wing Commander's pedigree was not the most fashionable of his day. Wing's third dam's pedigree was unregistered. He proved however that he was bred to sire champion sons and daughters who would go on to leave their mark in years to come.  

 

 

 

 

Bourbon Chief

 

 

 

Bourbon King

 

 

 

 

 

Annie

 

 

Edna May's King

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rex Peavine

 

 

 

Edna May

 

 

Anacacho Shamrock

 

 

Lee Wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forest King

 

 

 

Highland Squirrel King

 

 

 

 

 

Nellie Pidgeon

 

 

Sally Cameron

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prince Arthur

 

 

 

Altadena

 

 

 

 

 

Mania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bourbon Chief

 

 

 

Bourbon King

 

 

 

 

 

Annie

 

 

King's Genius

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chester Peavine

 

 

 

Princess Eugenia

 

 

Flirtation Walk

 

 

Queen of Lincoln

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rex Peavine

 

 

 

King Vine

 

 

 

 

 

Bourbon Belle

 

 

Spelling Bee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Light 2nd

 

 

 

Not registered

 

 

 

 

 

Not registered

Dodge Stables purchased the stallion Vanity's Sensation Of Crebilly in 1960 to compliment Wing Commander in the breeding program. He was bred much like Sparkling Waters and he crossed extremely well with Anacacho Shamrock and Wing Commander mares.

Wing Commander foundered badly in 1962 - the cause was never determined. At that time he was 19 years old and  experts from the Penn State University was called in and successfully treated him. He could be saved for another seven  years and although he had to be X-rayed and reshod frequently, he led a good and healthy life and continue siring  champions.

Wing Commander sired a total of 314 registered Saddlebreds.

In 1960 he appeared for the first time on the sire rating. He was rated 23rd on performance and 4th on futurity. In 1963 he achieved number one spot and held this position till 1968.  He kept the number one spot for six years, the same amount of years he held as Five Gaited World Champion.

World Grand Champions sired  by him:

Tashi Ling  1968 - 69 - 70 - 1971 Fine Harnes World Grand Champion

Tashi Ling (Wing Commander x Emerald Future)

(photo by Sargent)

 

Valerie Emerald  1969 Five Gaited World Grand Champion

Valerie Emerald (Wing Commander x Crebilly's Hazel Fortune)

(photo by Sargent)

 

Yorktown  1970 - 71 - 1972 Five Gaited World Grand Champion

Yorktown (Wing Commander x Oman's Anacacho Maytime)

(photo by Sargent)

Wing Commander sired 42 horses which won World Championships or Reserves at the Kentucky State Fair. An average of 13% of his total offspring. After 1953 the World Championship was dominated by mares until his son Yorktown won it the first time in 1970. 

The next stallion to win was a grandson, Will Shriver (Callaway's Johnny Gillen x Kate Shriver) in 1976. He later became the big success as a breeding stallion at Callaway Hills Stables, MI.

Will Shriver (Callaway's Johnny Gillen  x Kate Shriver)

(painting by Walter Brown)

His granddaughter, Cora's Time (Flight Time x Cora Sutton) won in 1978.

Flight Time (Wing Commander x The New Moon)

(photo by Shirley Paulette)

 Imperator won in 1980, 1981, 1985 & 1986. He is by Supreme Sultan out of a Wing Commander mare, Empress Wing. 

Imperator (Supreme Sultan x Empress Wing [ x Wing Commander])

(photo by Sargent)

Another grandson, Skywatch (Flight Time x Aries Golden Gift) won in 1982, 1983, 1984 & 1988. 

Skywatch ( Flight Time x Aries Golden Gift )

 

Man On The Town another grandson, this time by the great Yorktown out of the mare Chantilly Rose, won in 1989 & 1990.

Man On The Town ( Wing Commander x Chantilly Rose )

(photo by Jamie Donaldson)

A  great grandson Callaway's New Look (Will Shriver x Look of Love) won in 1991 & 1992. 

Callaway's New Look ( Will Shriver x Look of Lovet )

(photo by Jamie Donaldson)

A great grandson Callaway's Blue Norther  (Will Shriver x Oman's Anacacho Maytime ) is shining the Wing Commander star at the moment (2002/2003). He won the Three Year Old Stallion/Gelding Five Gaited Stake in 1984 and the 1985 Reserve Junior Five Gaited World Championship title. A reserve and third placing at the 2002 World Championship Horse Show was given to two of his offspring, Adelita and Callaway's Banner Headline. Another foal of his, Callaway's Forecaster was a great crowd favorite and was placed 4th. At the recent 2003, 100th Kentucky State Fair, Centennial of Champions, both the Five Gaited World Grand Champion, Callaway's Forecaster and the Reserve Five Gaited World Grand Champion, Adelita, are by Callaway's Blue Norther! What an achievement!

Callaway's Blue Norther (Will Shriver x Oman's Anacacho Maytime)

(photo by Shiflet)

Callaway's Banner Headline and Adelita fighting it out in the work-out at the 2002 Five Gaited World Grand Championship.

(photo by R. Millin)

Callaway's Forecaster and Nancy Leigh Fischer winning the 2003 Five Gaited World Grand Champion title.

(photo by R.Millin)

Adelita and Larry Hodge at the 2003 Five Gaited World Grand Championship where they were crowned Reserve World Grand Champion.

(photo by R.Millin)

Other great foals are amongst others:

Wing's Fleet Admiral, Buck and Wing, Rhythm Command, King Dell, Wingmaster, Callaway's Johnny Gillen, Chief of Greystone, Danish Commander, Mr Magic Man, Hi-Wing, Noble's Command and Center Ring. 

Grandsons are Superior Odds, Courageous Admiral, Jubilee Commander, Longstreet, My Own Master, Quaker Town and New Yorker.

Wing Commander died on 19 January 1969 of a twisted small bowel. He was buried in the horse cemetery at Castleton Farm.

The legacy of Wing Commander is alive and well and living through his offspring both in South Africa and in the USA.

"There can be no doubt that Wing Commander was a great, great horse and taking everything in consideration he was probably the greatest American Saddlebred of all time and all times to come." Lynn Weatherman, Saddle and Bridle, June 1981.

A bold statement even for that time, but nobody can disagree that this is even more true today than in 1981!

 

next month: Part III - The South African Connection

copyright Ross Millin 2004