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The Story Of Phi Slama Jama Comes To A Close


photo by Howie Schatzberg


by Bob Funkhouser


Named for the 1983 University of Houston Cougar Basketball team which included Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and won 26 straight games before losing in the NCAA Finals game to North Carolina State on a last second shot, the noted breeding stallion Phi Slama Jama died Nov. 9. The 23-year-old stallion suffered a stroke while battling colic.


Bred by Pete Galanos, Phi Slama Jama lived most of his life at Reedannland under the direction of Dr. Alan Raun who purchased him at the 1985 Newmarket Yearling Sale for $101,000.


“Stonewall’s Main Event was getting some age on him and I was looking for another stallion,” said Dr. Raun. “I hadn’t seen anything I liked until I saw this yearling at Louisville. He was and still is the most outstanding yearling I’ve ever seen show at Louisville and I don’t think there’s too many people that saw him will argue that point. He had beauty, action and charisma like nothing I had ever seen.”


Shown by Faye Baynton for Galanos, Phi Slama Jama was the outstanding World’s Champion Yearling before bringing a top price at Newmarket in the fall.


“I bought him purely as an individual,” continued Dr. Raun. “He was hard to fault, real sharp and showy and he loved to show his entire life. Whenever people were here to see him he would pose.”


Dr. Raun showed Phi Slama Jama in harness with great success as a two and three-year-old, including winning the Two-Year-Old Fine Harness World’s Championship and the next year the UPHA Three-Year-Old Fine Harness Classic Grand Champion at the American Royal. He wasn’t shown at Louisville that year as Dr. Raun judged.


In his four-year-old year Phi Slama Jama was retired to stud and soon passed those championship qualities on to his get although Dr. Raun admits that he nearly ruined the young stallion’s reputation.


“You could count on quality, show horse ways and charisma whether they were pleasure horses or performance horses,” explained Dr. Raun. “However, I about ruined him. I started breeding him to several of my [Stonewall’s] Main Event mares and they weren’t the gamest. That was the majority of my breeding with him early on and people thought he bred chickenhearted. If I had bred him to some Yorktown or Will Shriver type mares early on he would have been one of the very top rated sires. All you had to do was cross him with game mares.”


Besides his striking beauty and great success in the show ring, Phi Slama Jama also made headlines when his pedigree was discovered to be incorrect.


“The association was going to pull his papers and take the papers away on all his get. This was at the time I was getting ready to syndicate him,” explained Dr. Raun. “Of course I talked to a lawyer and he told me to go back on the person I had purchased him from but [Pete] Galanos had filed bankruptcy at that point so there was nothing to go back on. I think he would have ended up a grade horse had it not been for Pat Nichols who was secretary of the Breeder’s Association at the time. On her own she tracked down every possibility.”


What Nichols found was that Galanos had sent the Hide-A-Way’s Wild Country daughter, Wild And Lovely PH to Charlie Judd in Missouri to be bred. It was February and Judd wasn’t going to breed a mare that early so the mare stayed at his place for a while. She turned up in foal and Judd wrote a letter to the association explaining that a two-year-old, Admiral’s Windjammer (by Courageous Admiral) had gotten into the paddock where Wild And Lovely PH was and that while he did not actually see the mating, that was the only way he could explain her being in foal.


As Nichols dug into the mystery she found that there had been three yearlings turned out with Wild And Lovely while she was still at the Galanos farm in Texas. Nichols then tracked those three horses down and with Dr. Raun paying the expense of drawing blood on the three, they found that CH The Karankawa Chief, a then show pleasure driving horse for Anna Marie Knipp, was actually the sire.


“I was happier with that,” said Dr. Raun. “That made Phi inbred Denmark’s Bourbon Genius. Three of his four great-grandsires were Denmark’s Bourbon Genius.”


With his pedigree officially intact, Phi Slama Jama continued siring show ring stars for Reedannland. Looking back on his career we find he was represented by long-lasting champions like CH It’s Phi Day, CH Gemma, CH Jazz March, CH Sweetheart Of Sigma Phi, Digni-Phi, CH Fortunately Mine, CH Mirific, Let’s Get Phizzical, CH Reedann’s Phinery, Reedann’s Phairy Tale, A Phine Ruby, Reedann’s Phorsythia, Jama Rose, Reedann’s Phlambeau, Phi’s Fortune Teller, Reedann’s Phancy Phootwork, CH Reedann’s Phirestorm, Chere Peridot and Lakeview’s Rare-A-Phi.


To continue the blood of Phi Slama Jama, Dr. Raun reports he has eight mares and one young son that he is really high on. Phlags Phlying is out of Colors Flying, a CH Talk Of The Town daughter who is out of the world’s champion gaited mare Party Train. His first foals are weanlings and Dr. Raun is anxiously anticipating this next line of champions.


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