All-time leading barrel racing sire Dash Ta Fame got his start on the racetrack, not in the barrel racing arena. Read his story here.
Both as a racehorse and as a sire, Dash Ta Fame was a horse worthy of his name. During his short racing career, which spanned from 1991 to 1992, the 1989 chestnut Quarter Horse stallion by First Down Dash out of Sudden Fame set speed records on the race track, won $290,812, and raced to victory in seven out of 13 starts. At the age of three, he was retired to stud and quickly began stamping his progeny with an almost supernatural speed. Today, Dash Ta Fame is the all-time leading sire of barrel horses, with more than 1,500 money earners to his credit. Dash Ta Fame’s offspring excel both on the track and in the barrel racing arena, with total race earnings of $19,166,786 and total barrel racing earnings of $26,908,721. According to his owner and breeder, Bob Burt of Payson, Utah, it’s never hard to identify a Dash Ta Fame.
“When a Dash Ta Fame walks into an arena and goes through barrels, I can tell it’s a Dash Ta Fame,” Burt said. “They’re like slinkies. They almost break in half to go around a barrel, whereas many horses are rigid. They remind me of a fishing lure with a swivel in the middle of its back that wiggles. That’s how I can tell it’s a Dash Ta Fame.”
BRED TO RUN
The story of Dash Ta Fame begins with his owner’s love for speed. As a young man, Bob Burt loved racing horses in cutter and chariot races in Utah.
“It used to be a big thing around here in the wintertime,” Burt said. “We used to run older horses and break colts to the chariots, and there might be 150 head at a time. These Quarter Horses would be hooked up to a chariot two at a time, and there’d be four horses going down the racetrack at the same time in the mud and the snow, with the wheels going 100 miles an hour. I’d put horses in those chariot races and race them on flat tracks. We won a few little races down at Los Alamitos, but nothing big.”
Fascinated by racing Quarter Horses, Burt began studying the pedigrees of the horses that won the biggest races at Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County, California. He soon discovered that many of the best horses had one thing in common: they all came from Thoroughbred bloodlines. Intrigued, he decided to put his newfound knowledge to the test and attended a horse sale. Although he couldn’t afford to buy any of the horses at the time, he picked out two young horses that he liked the looks of: one by Real Easy Jet, out of a Thoroughbred mare, and one by the Thoroughbred sire, Jim J.
“They were both pretty Thoroughbredy-looking, but they looked like athletes to me,” Burt said. “I decided I liked those horses, and I was going to follow them and see if I knew what I was doing.”
Both horses won big at the track during their two-year-old years. The first horse, Real Moody, won $450,000, while the second horse earned $100,000. That’s when Burt decided to start trusting his instincts. He knew what he liked, and what he liked was fast.
In 1988, he attended Anne Burnett Tandy’s Heritage Place sale at the Phillips Ranch and purchased a mare named Sudden Fame by Tinys Gay and out of Bar Dearie, who was by Lake Eerie, a Thoroughbred stallion.
“Tinys Gay was a world champion, but that wasn’t what I was after,” Burt said. “I wanted that Lake Eerie blood. I bred Sudden Fame and sold that baby. Then I got lucky and submitted to breed her to First Down Dash for her second foal. That September, I got a contract, and that’s how Dash Ta Fame came to be. I picked that mare out to breed to the best son of Dash For Cash, and that’s what I did.”
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A DASH TO FAME
As a yearling, Burt recalls that Dash Ta Fame was gawky and awkward, like many young horses, but he soon grew into himself. One day, Burt entered the young horse into a chariot race along with Proud Saint, another horse of his.
“He pulled Proud Saint right off his feet,” Burt said. “They were going pretty hard together and Proud Saint couldn’t keep up with him. After the race was over, I asked the boy who was driving for me what he thought of the two horses. The boy said, ‘Well, one belongs here. And the other belongs way, way down there,’ and he pointed towards Los Alamitos. Because back in those days, that’s where the fastest horses in the world all ended up.”
The boy’s prediction was spot on, just like Burt’s prediction that Sudden Fame and First Down Dash would produce a racehorse. Started 13 times, Dash Ta Fame won seven races, including the 1991 Golden Gate Futurity (G1) and the 1992 El Primero del Ano Derby (G1). He also won second in Corona Chick’s 1991 Dash For Cash Futurity (G1), and set multiple racetrack records for 400 yards and 440 yards.
“I bred Dash Ta Fame to be a racehorse, and what happened after that is he did it,” Burt said. “I also knew I had a sire because he was bred to be one.”
As a sire, Dash Ta Fame excels in producing not just top-notch racehorses and barrel racers, but also top-producing daughters. Some of Dash Ta Fame’s most exceptional offspring include Cuatro Fame ($609,153), Dash Ta Diamonds ($558,323), Real Claim To Fame ($467,717), and Kisskiss Bangbang ($444,213), among many others. “Dash Ta Fame has sired over $20 million dollars worth of racehorses, and now his barrel horses are coming on like gangbusters,” Burt said. “The last time I looked, he has sired over $25 million dollars worth of barrel horses. In total, he has sired $45 million bucks’ worth. That’s pretty astronomical. He crosses well with anything.”