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Three Bars, The Story of a Thoroughbred


Three Bars Registered Thoroughbred Jockey Club #4005248 AQHA #T0065983 APHA #T0000281 Chestnut 15.3 hh   Three Bars Influence There is no doubt Three Bars influenced many breeds other than the Thoroughbred. History claims Three Bars greatly impacted not only the Quarter Horse breed, but also the Paint Horse and Appaloosa breeds. Three Bars is recognized by the Foundation Quarter Horse Breeders Association. They say, "Many great horses have played key roles in the Quarter Horse Breed." Included in these extraordinary horses are Wimpy P-1, King P-234, Cowboy P-12, Skipper W, Midnight and Joe Reed II, just to name a few. Three bars forever left his mark in racing, halter, cutting and other arena performance events. Most sires will dominate just one phase of the industry, whereas Three Bars left his mark in all, and continue to do so with his offspring. This eminent stallion is found in over 68,000 lines in the Quarter Horse industry so I will only publish information regarding his immediate get and information on Three Bars himself.   Three Bars AQHA Hall Of Fame Three Bars was inducted into the Hall Of Fame the same year as Wimpy P-1, King P-234, and Leo. These four prominent stallions were the patriarchs' of the Quarter Horse Hall Of Fame. Some of Three Bars Offspring also entered the Hall Of Fame. Included in these were Rocket Bar (1992), Doc Bar (1993), Sugar Bars (1994), and Zippo Pat Bars (2002).   NSBA Hall Of Fame Seventy-five percent of the horses in the National Snaffle Bit Association Hall Of Fame comprise of Three Bar lineage. Zippo Bat Bars (inducted in 1996), is a son of Three Bars, whereas Zippo Pine Bar (inducted in 1992) is a grandson. Great grandsons' embody Zippos Amblin Easy (2002), Zippos Mr Good Bar (2000), and Zips Chocolate Chip (1999).   Three Bars' get are also observed in the NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) and the NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association) Hall Of Fame. Both can be viewed at the Quarter Horse Directory.   ROM's A Register of Merit is designed to establish a record of outstanding performance. There are three ROM's - one for racing, one for halter and one for performance events. In order to receive such a prestigious award a horse must:      Racing - receive at least one official Speed Index Rating of 80 or higher in racing      Halter - have won at least 10 points in AQHA approved halter classes      Performance - have won at least 10 points in AQHA approved performances classes Note: A horse cannot be advertised as having a ROM in any specific discipline unless they have at least 5 points in that particular event   Racing Three Bars sired 317 foals who achieved ROM's (Register of Merit), and 38 earned a Superior in racing. Included in these athletic horse's are Gold Bar (1949 Mare), Bardella (1950 Mare - Racing World Champion 2 and 3 year old in 1952 and 1953), Rocket Bar (1952 Gelding), and Mr Bar None (1955 Stallion - Racing World Champion 2 and 3 year in 1957 and 1958 as well as Racing World Champion Stallion, 1958 and Racing World Champion, 1958). Many of Three Bars offspring also set new records as well as became High Money Earning Horse; such horses as Pokey Bar (1959 Stallion).   Halter Three Bars strongly influenced many Halter Lines in the Quarter Horse breed. One of these was the prestigious Impressive, whom came after Steel Bars. Steel Bars sired the 1959 High-Point Halter Stallion, Aledo Bar. Other offspring who received honors such as Open Superior Halter were Bar Flower (1967), Three Storms (1969), and Par Three (1969) who went on to sire the great Zan Parr Bar.   Performance Many of Three Bars offspring were superior performance horses as well. Fairbars and Fiery Bar both received Open Performance ROM's in 1966 and 1969 respectively. Doc Bar, Three Bars grandson, sired many cutting horses. No other stallion has ever equaled Doc Bars record. In other events such as reining, roping and other arena events, Sugar Bars ruled as a sire, siring 30 AQHA Champions. Myrtle Dee Myrtle Dee (Three Bars Dam) Myrtle Dee was dubbed a “Speed Burner”. She once set a track record in Ohio at a distance of 5½ furlongs. Her sire Luke McLuke, won the Belmont Stakes in 1914 as did his grandsire Commando in 1901. Her lineage also boasted of Ben Brush, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1896. Ben Brush was inducted into the NMR Hall Of Fame in 1955.   Myrtle Dee was purchased as package with several other mares by three men: Jack Goode, Ned Brent, Bill Talbot. She gave birth to Three Bars on April 8, 1940 on Brent's farm in Kentucy's Bourbon County.   Three Bars Story The Chestnut colt was such a magnificent looking fellow with an impressive racing history, the owners thought they had hit the jackpot. They named the young colt Three Bars, after the bars on the slot machines. As the colt grew, he looked more like the jackpot they believed him to be. At the age of two, Three Bars could break from the gate and cover ground like a speeding bullet. He never was a good long distance runner but could run 440 yards faster than any other horse in history. In the spring of 1942, Goode was bringing Three Bars off the track one morning when he noticed the colts' hind leg turned ice cold, "just like you had suddenly turned off the blood." Until that point, Three Bars was the fastest horse Goode had ever put a bridle on, maybe too rapid according to Goode. Goode says, "you had to ease him off slow or he'd get out of hand and you couldn't handle him well." Goode took Three Bars to Keeneland and Detroit but never raced him because the leg would get cold whenever the colt exerted himself. Some of the best vets in Kentucky worked with Three Bars without success. They found out later the condition was due to bloodworms clogging an artery and cutting off circulation. One day, the horse would be fine and able to run, but then the leg would go ice cold again. They decided to sell Three Bars. Beckham Stivers bought Three Bars for $300 with the stipulation that he wouldn't pay until Three Bars won a race. Goode, Brent and Talbot never got their $300 and Three Bars was eventually sold again. After a few more owners and winning a couple of races, Three Bars was entered in a $2,000 claiming race in Detroit, where he was claimed. The horse was shipped to the Phoenix area, which at that time was southern Arizona, to breed Quarter Horse racing mares.   Three Bars with Sid Vail riding Sid Vail heard about Three Bars and went up to Phoenix to take a look. He remembers thinking Three Bars was the perfect horse. He couldn't find any faults in the young stallion. Vail immediately offered $5,000 for the horse but was turned down. Vail returned home to his wife, Mayola, but could not stop thinking of Three Bars. He was determined to own him. He finally returned to Phoenix with an offer of $10,000, and was successful. Vail decided to let Three Bars stand at Melville Haskell's ranch close to Tucson. Sid agreed to pay $30 a month for the care of the horse, which would be paid through the mares brought to the ranch to be bred. Vail would receive the $100 stud fee. The year: 1945. Early 1946, Three Bars had completely recovered. Vail decided to race him again, so as to build up his reputation. Kennedy, Haggard and Snedigar agreed to lease and run the horse. Three Bars "really burned up the tracks". He was the fastest horse in the United States at a distance of 5 furlongs. Each furlong is one-eighth of a mile. He broke the track record at 5 furlongs, in 57.3. At Agua Caliente he was clocked at 56.4, at 5 furlongs. Three Bars was retired once again to stand at Vail's ranch near Douglas from 1947 to 1951. In 1952, Vail leased Three Bars to Walter Merrick of Sayre, Oklahoma, for two years. Merrick wanted to purchase the horse immediately, but Vail did not want to sell. At the time Three Bars moved to Oklahoma, AQHA was under siege from breeders to keep Thoroughbred blood out. Even with the controversy going on, Merrick had no problem getting mares at a $300 stud fee. Vail decided to take Three Bars back after one year. Merrick offered to purchase the horse, so Vail priced him at $50,000, more than Merrick could afford. The Vail's had moved to Tucson, so Merrick hauled his mares there in 1953 to 1955. Later in the 1950's, Vail moved to California, where Quarter Horses were really taking off. Three Bars stud fee eventually rose to $10,000, but breeders would still pay it. The foals were selling up to five times the fee. The Vail's moved to a 900 acre ranch near Oakdale, which they named Three Bars Ranch. Merrick continued to haul his mares out to California to be bred. In 1967, Three Bars was 27, Vail agreed to let Merrick take the horse back Oklahoma, and keep him for the rest of his life. Merrick was thrilled. There was one stipulation though. Three Bars had a companion, a special companion. The companion was a blind, bay mare named Fairy Adams. The relationship started over the fence but Vail finally put the two together because Three Bars was prone to have trantrums whenever the mare out of his sight. Merrick agreed to take the mare and put the two in adjacent stalls. He found out Vail was not exaggerating and finally had to remove the wall between them. Fairy Adams Fairy Adams was a stalwart bay mare born in 1949. Her pedigree was rich with illustrious foundation breeding such as Traveler, Little Joe, Della Moore and Chicaro Bill and Topsy on her dams' side. Fairy Adams history is vague but we find her with Sid Vail in 1967. Sometime during her life, Fairy Adams had gone blind but she found a true companion in Three Bars, who watched over her and attended to her in her later years. Three Bars In Memory Three Bars succumbed to a massive heart attack in March 1968. He was buried beneath a tree on near Nacona, where Vail was living. Some wonder whether an animal grieves. Fairy Adams was desolute after Three Bars passed away. She refused to leave her stall unless someone took her out for a walk. She was unusally quiet and finally gave birth to Three Bars last son on March 1, 1969. He was a Bay with a star and small, jaunty snip on his nose. He was aptly named, The Last Son. The Last Son passed away in 1999. Fairy Adams died in 1971 at 21 years of age. Conclusion A horse such a Three Bars, which rocks history and inspires deep feelings in horsemen, are rare indeed. Vail may have owned Three Bars on paper, but Merrick gambled all he had on the horse. Merrick loved Three Bars very much and states: "Three Bars is The Sire of the American Quarter Horses in the Twentieth Century to date."

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