story of Jet Deck
could be the subject of a murder mystery, a story of true
greatness – or both. The heritage and blood of Jet Deck affect so
many of our best barrel horses as well the hopes and dreams we tie
When Bud Warren of Perry, Oklahoma
first set eyes on Jet Deck, he said “If that’s a race horse then I’m
a getting’ out of the business.” We all have to eat our words now
and then. Bud Warren certainly ate his.
Jet Deck was foaled April 19, 1960
in California. He was the son of Moon Deck and a daughter of Barred
name Miss Night Bar. Miss Night Bar was a granddaughter of Three
J.B. Chambers of Colorado bought the
colt as a yearling and it was in Chambers’ barn that Warren first
saw the bay colt. Recently hauled from
California, Jet Deck was on the thin side. Warren said he “Looked
like nothing but a long neck and a pot belly.”
Jet Deck indeed was a
racehorse. He was put in training with Wilbur Stuchal, who
soon realized he had a serious racehorse on his hands. From 31
official starts, the runner won 22, placed four times and showed
twice. He earned $200,625 and was the first Quarter Horse to bank
over $200,000. His wins as a two-year-old included the Los Alamitos
Futurity, the Pacific
Coast Cal-Bred Futurity, Arizona Downs
Juvenile Championship, the Kindergarten and the Los Alamitos
Juvenile Championship. As a three-year-old, Jet Deck won the Pacific
Coast Derby, Los Alamitos Championship, Ruidoso Championship,
Ruidoso Derby, Rocky Mountain Derby and the Wonderland Stakes.
Only twice in his career did Jet
Deck fail to run AAA or top AAA time. Jet Deck ran 440 yard races
seven times in his official career and failed to run the distance
under 22 seconds only once. The fast stallion consistently ran 350
yards under 18 seconds.
Jet Deck was named Champion Quarter
Running Two-Year-Old-Colt and Champion Stallion in 1962. The
following year AQHA named him World Champion, Champion Stallion, and
Champion Three-Year-Old Colt.
Bud Warren kept an eye on Jet Deck’s
career. He really liked the horse and had great admiration for his
In 1944 Warren had purchased a mare
named Swamp Angel that was in foal to Leo. The 1945 filly, which
Warren named Leota W, was so outstanding as a youngster in early
training that Warren bought her sire, Leo. He paid $2,500 for the
unproven stud. He picked Leo up in a corral where he was running
with pigs and cows. This was one of the best decisions he ever made.
In 1947, Leota W and Flit (both by
Leo and both owned by Warren) ran first and second in the Oklahoma
Futurity at Tulsa. The two fillies started a Leo domination of the
Oklahoma Futurity. In 1955, Warren purchased Sugar Bars cross with
Leo daughters was phenomenal. So, when the 60s rolled around and Bud
Warren was thinking of another outcross stallion, Jet Deck, the
horse Warren scoffed at as a colt, was all he could think about.
Bud Warren’s ownership of Jet Deck
began was a lease and the story of Jet Deck’s career at stud started
the following spring at Warren’s ranch near Perry, Oklahoma.
“Jet Deck was the finest breeding
stud that I’ve ever handled,” said Warren. “We bred him artificially
almost entirely. He was all business, no foolishness about him, very
easy to collect and the best dispositioned stallion that I’ve ever
fooled with. He was a perfect stallion to handle.” Warren bought
half interest in Jet Deck in 1967.
Jet Deck’s first foals hit the
ground in 1965 and they made their presence felt on the race tracks
in 1967. Wasting no time, 89’ers Jet won the Midway Downs Futurity
at Stroud, Oklahoma; Custom Jet captured the Oklahoma Thundering
Downs and Senorita Futurities and Jet Smooth raced to victory in the
Kansas Futurity. Fly Little Jet finished 2nd in the
Kansas Futurity, 2nd in the New Mexico Futurity, and
Miers’ Jet ran 2nd in the West Texas Futurity. The totals
for 1967in the 1-2-3 categories saw the sons and daughters of Jet
Deck winning 5 stakes, 3 seconds and 3 thirds. Incredible!
In 1968, the same thing happened
only a little stronger. Jet Deck Junior won the Oklahoma and Rocky
Mountain Futurities and the Laddie Stakes. Jolly Jet Deck won the
Zeff Walters Memorial and the Timberline Handicap, Jet Smooth walked
away with All-American Congress Derby, Jet Runner won the Wisconsin
Futurity and Shujet made the Northwestern folk look up as he won the
Northern Racing Quarter Horse Derby and the Portland Meadows Derby.
In 1968, the Jet Deck’s captured nine stakes, placed in seven and
ran five thirds.
Then in 1969, Jet Deck’s son Easy
Jet (out of Lena’s Bar) dominated racing. The tough Easy Jet
captured nine major futurities himself, including the rich All
American. Easy Jet got lots of publicity, but in the meantime, the
other Jet Deck sons and daughters were doing their share of winning,
too. Hell’s to Betsy won the Oklahoma Futurity, Cuter Yet won the
Evangeline Futurity and Jolly Jet Deck won five stakes races. The
stakes wins in 1969 by Jet Deck’s offspring included 25 firsts, 14
seconds and 12 thirds. Amazing!
The credentials and statistics Jet
Deck compiled as a stud before the end of 1971 were stellar –
Leading Sire of 1971 money earners, he sired the Leading Money
Earner of all time (at that time), Easy Jet, $445,721). He was the 3rd
All-Time Leading Sire of Money Earners at the time ($2,660,758).
1971 Leading Sire of both winners and horses with the most wins.
Through 1971, Jet Deck had 186 horses that started on official
tracks of which 139 earned Racing Registers of Merit (a fantastic
74.7 percent ROM). Fifty-nine percent of the ROM qualifiers earned
AAA or AAAT speed ratings (speed indexes between 90 and 100 or over
The people who were breeding to Jet
Deck were making money and so were Jet Deck’s owners.
early morning hours of August 26, 1971,
Jet Deck was in his paddock at the Warren Ranch. The Warrens were in
Ruidoso for the All-American Futurity trials. A watchman was on duty
at the ranch.
Warren said, “We have an older
fellow who stays at the place at night, mainly to help people who
might come after hours to pick up a mare or to visit. Our watchman
doesn’t get up on schedule all through the night but on the night in
question he wasn’t sleeping well and happened to wake up around 1
a.m. He walked down to the stallion paddock, checked to see that
everyone was all right, spoke to Jet Deck and went back up to bed.
This was about 2 a.m.
About 7:00 a.m. Jet Deck was found
dead in his paddock. Dean Schultz, a longtime Warren employee
discovered the tragedy as he arrived at the ranch to start the
Schultz immediately ran to the
telephone and called Warren in Ruidoso. “Dean was all out of breath
over the telephone,” recalls Warren. “He said, ‘Jet Deck’s dead’ and
all I could do was just stagger a little bit.” Warren remembered
thinking that maybe Jet Deck had had a heart attack or something.
Veterinarians were phoned
immediately and Dr. Starling Miller of Perry went racing to the
scene. Miller recommended taking the stallion to the Oklahoma State
University School of Veterinary Medicine for a post mortem
examination due to its close proximity.
A member of the OSU Veterinary
Medicine staff was in charge of the post mortem examination of Jet
Deck. He suspected something wrong after smelling a peculiar odor.
The pathologist tediously skinned out the jugular vein and
discovered evidence of reaction to a foreign substance around and
within the vein. After laboratory tests were completed, the
scientists found there was a massive overdose of barbiturates in Jet
Tire tracks were found on a country
road where someone had parked a vehicle. Boot tracks were found
leading to and from Jet Deck’s paddock. Jet Deck was so gentle
natured that it would have been easy to convince him that you were a
The identity of the person who
injected him has never been determined. The mystery has never been
Before his death he sired 383 race
Register of Merit earning horses, several world champion Quarter
running horses, two AQHA
High Point horses, and five AQHA Champions. Among his offspring are
Easy Jet, Jet Smooth, Jet Threat, Jet of Honor, Flaming Jet, and Mr
He was inducted into the AQHA Hall
of Fame in 1991.
Trainer Wilbur Stuchal said, “He had
great conformation, great desire and determination and the best
coordination of any horse I’ve ever seen in my life. As a sire, he
was the greatest. His loss to the horse breeding industry can’t be
Though he stood at sire for such a
short time, his blood and spirit are still very present in some of
our very best barrel and racehorses today.
One of the last photos
taken of Jet Deck
before his untimely death.
The Quarter Horse
Journal, October 1971.