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Anacacho Denmark, Anacacho Shamrock

by Bob Funkhouser

Breeders, trainers, and students of the breed pour over the archives searching for patterns, percentages, niches...anything to make the art of breeding the finest American Saddlebreds a little easier. Going back through the years there are any number of prolific stallions who can be accredited with making a major impact on the breed, however, two brothers born two years apart (1930 and 1932), are found more often in today’s greatest champions than any other of their era.

Two history makers directed by R.W. Morrison of the famed Anacacho Ranch in Spofford, Texas, Anacacho Shamrock and Anacacho Denmark not only produced the greatest show horses of their day, they sired bloodstock that would prove superior generation after generation. In the short version, Anacacho Shamrock was the sire of the legendary CH Wing Commander, a six-time winner of the Five-Gaited World’s Grand Championship and the stallion responsible for so many more world’s grand championships through sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters.

While noted for siring world's grand champion performers in different divisions, Anacacho Denmark proved even more prolific as the broodmare sire of CH Yorktown, Supreme Sultan and CH Will Shriver. There are very few of today’s world's champions in any of the divisions that aren't connected to one or all of these families.

Separately, Anacacho Shamrock and Anacacho Denmark were great individuals. Together, it was the crossing of their blood that created the “Golden Cross” and it still holds true today. Tried and true, the mixing of Wing Commander and Supreme Sultan bloodlines has worked over and over. It has been the right blend of substance, ability, refinement and trainability that has made this cross so popular for the modern day trainer and breeder.

The story of Anacacho Shamrock and Anacacho Denmark goes back to their sire, the great Edna May's King. In the 1940s, students of the breed credited Bourbon King and Rex Peavine as being the two sires with the most positive influence on the American Saddlebred to that point. Edna May's King was a direct result of those two bloodlines as he was sired by Bourbon King out of the Rex Peavine daughter, Edna May. Spending his long career in Kentucky under the direction of the famed Allie G. Jones and his sons, Joe and Charlton, Bourbon King was the winner of the Five-Gaited Stake at the Kentucky State Fair as a three-year-old before the class became known as the Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship. Edna May was reported to have won more than 400 blue ribbons in her career while suffering less than a half dozen defeats.

Noted historian Susanne wrote in Volume III of her Famous Saddle Horses, "The old adage, 'blood will tell,' was never more strongly exemplified than by Edna May's King. All through his life, even in his last years, he possessed rare quality, brilliant motion which years did not alter, a personality the equal of which has been possessed by only a few horses, a presence with which no other stallion has been blessed to a greater degree, high intelligence and a disposition kind and gentle."

Edna May's King was described as a growthy colt with great bone and substance. His show ring career began as a five-year-old when he was reserve in the Five-Gaited Stallion Stake at the 1923 Kentucky State Fair. He finished third in the $10,000 Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship that year. It was that same year that California horseman Revel English first saw the upcoming stallion. He approached Allie Jones about purchasing Edna May's King but was told he wasn't for sale. English would not give up and after many attempts Jones finally told him if he made the right offer, he would consider selling the stallion. Reaching deep into his pockets, English paid an unheard of $12,000.

An amateur owner, English had a young trainer by the name of J.E. Logan working for him at the time and Logan thought English was crazy for paying such a price for a horse. It was reported that when Logan arrived in Kentucky to pick up Edna May's King he was asked if he would like to see the stallion work. His reply was, "Yes, I would like to see $12,000 under one saddle."

Logan was impressed with what he saw, but still wasn’t sure he was worth that kind of money. He took Edna May's King to California to begin his career with English. They met defeat their first time out but steadily improved enough to ship east for the 1924 Kentucky State Fair where he became the first horse to win the Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship with an amateur, a record that would hold for 64 years when his great-great grandson, CH Sky Watch won the title with amateur owner Michele Macfarlane in the irons.

English retired Edna May's King to stud following his world's grand championship but was heavily criticized for doing so. With that criticism English brought him back out in 1926 and again won the Five-Gaited World's Grand Championship, the first horse to win the title twice.

Edna May's King was a natural. He was said to have carried a four and a quarter inch toe with front shoes weighing 13 and a half ounces and hind shoes weighing seven ounces. In all the time he was owned by English it was said that he never made a mistake in the ring. English's lone regret with Edna May's King was putting a price tag on him. In 1930 he was sold to R.W. Morrison of Anacacho Ranch for a record $40,000. He stood at stud at Anacacho Ranch for 13 years until his death in 1943.

Pages could be filled with the names of show ring champions sired by Edna May's King, but more important is the prominent breeding horses he gave the breed. The two most noted being Anacacho Denmark and Anacacho Shamrock.

Anacacho Denmark was bred by Revel English and sold to Anacacho Ranch at an early age and then as a two-year-old Morrison sold him to W.G. Shropshire who changed his name to Ivan The Terrible. He was reported to have been the best gaited horse ever shown under the Shropshire banner. Ivan The Terrible was sold again, this time to the Rhode Island establishment known as Audrey's Choice Stables for $24,000. It wasn't long though before he foundered and his show ring days were over.

Bred to a few mares during his show ring career, Ivan The Terrible sired Grassland's Belle who was renamed Worthweil. She recorded wins at Lexington Junior League, Madison Square Garden and the Indiana State Fair, among other noted venues. He was also the sire of Denmark's Majestic, a noted west coast champion.

Again sold, Ivan The Terrible returned to Anacacho Ranch where his name returned to Anacacho Denmark and his breeding career prospered when crossed with many top mares. Among his standouts in the show ring were CH Denmark's Mokanna (a.k.a. Regal Aire), winner of the Fine Harness World's Grand Championships in 1947 and 1953; CH Kate Shriver, winner of the Fine Harness World's Grand Championships in 1949 and '50; and CH Denmark's Daydream, winner of the Five-Gaited World's Grand Championships in 1961 and '62.

Several sons of Anacacho Denmark would also go on to give the American Saddlebred a wealth of show ring champions and producers. Among them were Broadland's Captain Denmark, a Five-Gaited Stallion World's Champion whose life ended early in a tragic fire at Garland Bradshaw's. Before his death he was able to sire the legendary Three-Gaited World's Grand Champion Forest Song as well as the nine-times world's champion Broadland's Patrician Lady. Denmark's Bourbon Genius was another noted stallion son of Anacacho Denmark who went down in history as a great broodmare sire as well as the sired of Jim Aikman’s successful producer, Hide-A-Way’s Wild Country.

Anacacho Empire (sire of Jean McLean Davis’ three-time Ladies Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion Big Time and broodmare sire of World's Grand Champion Night Prowler, sire of today's highly rated sire CF First Night Out); Americus Denmark (broodmare sire of Magic Marvel, Man Alive, Princess Nora and Great Day's Came The Son); Golden Thunderbolt (broodmare sire of Sultan's Santana who in turn sired Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion and a world’s champion producer himself, Santana’s Charm); Clarma; Ridgefield's Denmark; and Oman's Anacacho Rhythm (1964 World's Champion Five-Gaited Stallion and sire of the great mare Gold Treat) also represented Anacacho Denmark with many outstanding stars.

When Anacacho Ranch dispersed, Anacacho Denmark and a band of the ranch’s best broodmares were purchased by Freeman Keyes of Danville, Kentucky’s famed Reverie Knoll Farm. There he continued to sire champion performers.

The best stallion son of Anacacho Denmark would have to be Oman's Desdemona Denmark who was out of the great King's Genius daughter Reverie's Desdemona. He was best known for his cross with Dixie Duchess who gave us two-time Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion CH Belle Elegant, the great Amateur Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion Summer Melody, the juvenile gaited world's champion Denmark's Grand Duchess, and the four-times Amateur Fine Harness World's Grand Champion CH Glenview's Radiance who also went on to be the dam of the highly rated breeding stallion, Red Wing Farm’s world's champion producer Radiant Sultan.

Other stars sired by Oman's Desdemona Denmark included Fine Harness World's Grand Champion CH Reata's Virginia Wolf, and world's champions Sensational Princess, Denmark's Spitfire, Burning Tree's Good Omen, Sparkling Delight Again, Sweet Georgia, 20th Century Limited, Great Big Country, Denmark's Music Man, Sweet Perfection, The Rose, CH Comedienne, Match Point, Mirror Mirror, and Blackberry Winter, himself a world's champion sire.

Anacacho Denmark's list of world's champion get and world's champion producing sons would have been plenty to secure his place in the history of the American Saddlebred, but according to many breeders and trainers his greatest contribution came as the broodmare sire of three legendary breeding stallions. His daughters, Melody O'Lee, Oman's Anacacho Maytime, and Kate Shriver were the dams of Supreme Sultan, CH Yorktown, and CH Will Shriver, respectively. Where would the American Saddlebred of the 2000s be without the influence of these three great producers?

Arguments can be made as to which of the three had the greatest impact and there's probably no right or wrong answer as all three have left signatures that will never be forgotten. Starting with Supreme Sultan (by Three-Gaited World's Grand Champion CH Valley View Supreme), he is the only stallion in history to sire Open World's Grand Champions in all three divisions: Sultan's Santana (Fine Harness), Sultan's Starina (Three-Gaited), and CH Imperator (Five-Gaited). Standing under the direction of famed breeder Alvin C. Ruxer, Supreme Sultan was credited with putting the refinement into today's show horse as well as a great deal of trainability. As the industry evolved to more of an amateur oriented sport, trainer after trainer has stated the Supreme Sultan line has been easier to prepare for the amateur and juvenile riders and they get ready at an earlier age.

In most cases statistics don't lie and the stats for Supreme Sultan and his offspring are second to none. For years he led the Futurity Sire Ratings and then when he had enough get of age he dominated the Performance Ratings. It didn't matter what division, the get of Supreme Sultan were in winner's circles from coast to coast, big shows and small. Throughout the '70s and '80s the name Supreme Sultan was associated with more world's champions than any other sire.

The blood of Anacacho Denmark continued to produce through Supreme Sultan's sons. Over the 16 years SADDLE HORSE REPORT has been keeping the World's Champion Sire Rating, three of his sons, Sultan's Santana, Supreme Heir,and Sultan's Great Day, have topped the charts an amazing 12 years and many others have stayed in the Top 20 during that span. In fact, one of those others sons, The Irish Connection, continues to be the number one sire of In Hand world's champions, a title he has held the past two years for Silverlin Farm.

Sultan's Santana, Supreme Heir, and Sultan's Great Day were all world's champion performers before they ruled the breeding world. If you think back to the comments noted author Susanne made about Edna May's King (the sire of Anacacho Denmark) back in the 1940s, those same characteristics are what have made these stallion's offspring so successful: "rare quality,brilliant motion, presence like no other, high intelligence, and a disposition kind and gentle."

Could those descriptions have been made for Supreme Heir's three-time Three-Gaited World's Grand Champion An Heir About Her or his four-times Fine Harness World's Grand Champion Callaway's Copyright? You bet they could! Ditto for Sultan's Great Day's nine-times world's champion CH Winter Day. They could also apply to Sultan's Santana's outstanding daughter, 12-times world's champion CH Santana's Lass, or his seven-times fine harness world's champion Revival, himself an up and coming sire of world class performers.

The second of the trio of Hall of Famers produced by an Anacacho Denmark daughter (Oman's Anacacho Maytime) is CH Yorktown. Bred and started by Crabtree Farms, he won the Two-Year-Old Five-Gaited World's Championship before being sold to Jean McLean Davis with Tom Moore as her trainer/agent. A totally different type of horse than Supreme Sultan, Yorktown had a double dose of Edna May's King as he was sired by the legendary six-times Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion Wing Commander who was by the Edna May's King Son, Anacacho Shamrock. Yorktown was a bigger boned horse of great substance and drive. Winner of three Five-Gaited World's Grand Championships with Tom Moore he could literally lap his competitors time and time again.

As a breeding horse Yorktown did not have the number of get as some of his rivals as most of his career he was only bred to Ms. Davis' prize band of mares at her Oak Hill Farm. Nonetheless he made a lasting impact with dynamic performers such as five-times three-gaited world's champion CH Town Dance who became the dam of the highly successful world's champion performer and sire CH Harlem Town; Five-Gaited Stallion World's Champion Salemtown; twice Three-Gaited World's Grand Champion CH Home Town Hero; and twice Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion CH Man On The Town.

Yorktown's stallion sons, Man On The Town,Talent Town, The Talk Of The Town, Jamestown, Local Hero, Salemtown, and Yorktown Magic have produced many world's champion performers but his greatest son to carry the Anacacho Denmark blood has been New Yorker. Credited as one of the greatest percentage sires of modern day, he sired an incredible list of explosive world's champions which included New York New York, Zeberdee, City Glitter, City Kitty, Bi Mi Broadway Cassanova, Denim and Diamonds, Yorkshire Pudding, and Seventh Avenue, among others.

The highly sought after blood of New Yorker continues to flow through five-times world's champion Harlem Globetrotter and reserve world's champion I'm A New Yorker. For the famed Kalarama Farm, Harlem Globetrotter has already secured his place in history with an endless list of world's champion performers including twice Five-Gaited World's Grand Champion CH Garland's Dream and the eight-time amateur and open three-gaited world's champion CH The Groomsman heading the extensive list.

Owned by Nash Stables, I'm A New Yorker, who is out of a Denmark's Bourbon Genius daughter, has sired outstanding world's champions like Belle Reve's Renaissance Man (a top young sire himself), CH I'm An Angel, My New Year's Eve, The Echo Of Thunder, The Perfect Blind Date, Freaky Links, Laguna Niguel, and the sensation of the 2004 World's Championship Horse Show, Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World's Champion New York's Perfect Gift. Now deceased, another New Yorker son who gave us several big time show horses was The New York Times who was out of an Oman's Desdemona Denmark daughter, therefore giving him a strong dose of Anacacho Denmark on top and bottom. Some of his stars included CH Wall Street Week, CH Best Of Time, CH Undulata's Perfect Gift, and New York Rebel. New Yorker also sired Manhattan Supreme who in turn sired Catalyst, this year's number two ranked sire of world's champions for Dick Kearney.

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