by Bruce Rimbo, Speedhorse, May 15, 1984
A sincere thank you to Dante Luis Ugarte Salas, of Mexico, for sending these incredible photos of the great Beduino to Circle D Horses!
Beduino, in Mexico, age 2.
Beduino vs Iracunda, 1973
Beduino vs Chariwari, QH son of Tiny Charger, El Chihuhauita, Mexico, April 8, 1973
Beduino racing Chariwari, May 11, 1973
Beduino, with trainer Steve Rothblum and jockey Ron Banks
Rejected TB (by Revoked), the sire of Jo-Ann-Cat, dam of Beduino
IT'S NOT UNUSUAL for the best restaurant in town to have an hour wait for a table. All of those people wouldn't be there if it weren't the best food around.
Much the same thing can be said for the life of a stallion in the horse racing business. When things are going well, there is often a waiting line. When things are not, the waiting room is empty.
Over the years, Beduino has had few empty waiting rooms but these days  around the Vessels Stallion Farm they can’t handle all of those lined up for the 16-year-old Mexican bred thoroughbred.
“His book was full months and months ago,” Stallion Farm manager Gene Chambless says. “We’re breeding 100 outside mares to him and we had to turn away another 250.”
The reason for the “run” on the big gray stallion could be summed up best by the word “results.” Results in the form of Tolltac, Indigo Illusion and Check the Charts during 1983 [Chicks Beduino in 1985, 1986, and through his progeny today].
BUT THAT'S GETTING AHEAD OF THE STORY. Things haven’t always been so rosy for Beduino, a horse first discovered by veteran rider Ronnie Banks and a stallion that an enterprising man with a keen eye for horseflesh named Frank Vessels, Jr. first took a chance on.
The year was 1972. Chariwari, a four-year-old gelded son of Tiny Charger out of the top-producing mare Miss Magnum Bar, had finished third behind the great Charger Bar in the Vessels Maturity and had gone on to win the 870-yard Marathon Handicap.
Chariwari was a good horse, but certainly not a great one. Nonetheless, Ronnie Banks knew there was always money to be made match racing quarter horses in Mexico and purchased the horse with four white stockings from owners Bobby Frankel and Chay Knight for just that purpose.
Banks took Chariwari to Mexico for a match that had been arranged with a thoroughbred.
“I’d broken my arm just before that and so I took Charlie Smith with me to ride Chariwari,” Banks, now manager of the Jockeys Guild in Meridian, Idaho, said recently. “When we first saw this thoroughbred named Beduino we couldn’t believe it. He was awesome, almost frightening. But still I thought there was no thoroughbred that could beat a quarter horse going a quarter of a mile.”
Smith, now the plant superintendent at Los Alamitos Race Course, recalls the trip and the fact they had taken the race lightly.
“We’d been down there two or three days before we went out to the track,” he says. “Finally, we went out the morning of the day we were supposed to run and they asked us if we wanted to watch them work the horse.
“Hell, they blew him out an eighth of a mile that morning,. He was a good looking old horse. Finally we went to the gate and they loaded him in and told us we should load whenever we were ready and to holler when we wanted them to kick it. They sure weren’t taking advantage of us.
“I must have beat him away from there by a length and a half but then he just blew on by me. He must have beat us by a couple of lengths.”
But both Banks and Smith knew Chariwari had an excuse.
“He tried to get out bad the whole race,” Banks recalls. “He wasn’t nearly as good as he was when he was running up here.”
And so when Beduino’s owner Justo Fernandez arranged a meeting with Banks to discuss another match, the veteran quarter horse rider was happy to oblige. He wanted another crack at the gray horse.
“He (Justo) told me he wanted to match him against any horse,” Banks recalls. “He told me he was the fastest horse in the world. That’s quite a statement, I thought. He told me he would pay all expenses, and that he would put up $50,000. ‘If you beat me, I’ll give you the money.’”
And so Banks, never one to avoid a match, went searching for a horse and he found one of the best…national champion gelding Come Six.
“They wanted me to go and ride the gray horse against Come Six,” Smith says, “but I didn’t want any part of that. There was no way he could beat Come Six.”
Banks says Come Six and his party had everything they wanted.
“We chartered a plane and flew out of Ontario because Come Six had been training at Pomona at the time,” Banks says. “We took 28 people to Mexico City for one week and Justo paid all our expenses. Luke Myles (Come Six’s regular rider) came down to ride. We took everything we wanted, portable flipping halter, our own horseshoer, our own feed, our own hay, our own bottled water.
“I bet on Come Six and got nearly 2-1.”
According to Banks, the race went something like this:
“I was at the starting gate and I told them when to spring it,” he says. “Come Six was out of the gate and the gray horse hadn’t even left yet. I thought we were home free. They ran on down the track and I ran over and got in a pickup and started driving down the outside rail. I remember looking at the people and thinking there were a lot of happy Mexicans. I guess he beat us by a length.
“There was some talk of Come Six not being right but it seemed to me that he just plain got outrun.”
BEDUINO CAME TO LOS ALAMITOS not long after that, hoping to meet Charger Bar in a match race. Banks began working him in the states.
“I qualified (350 yards) him one morning in 17.80 seconds at Los Alamitos and they got on me because I didn’t let him run,” he says. “I think he was probably the fastest horse I ever rode of any breed.”
IT WAS AT LOS ALAMITOS THAT FRANK VESSELS, JR., then president of Los Alamitos Race Course, first got a look at the big gray horse from south of the border.
“Frank had a pretty good eye for horses,” recalls Millie Vessels, now president of Los Alamitos, of her late husband. “He came home and told me, ‘Mildred, I think this horse could be some kind of sire.’”
While that recommendation may have carried a lot of weight, it’s difficult to market those words alone and turn them into paid breedings. After all, no one else in the quarter horse world knew anything about Beduino.
But Vessels felt so strongly about the prospects of Beduino at stud plus the young colt Timeto Thinkrich the Vessels Stallion Farm was running at the time he sold the stallion Tiny Charger that was the cornerstone of the breeding operation.
Beduino did have his good looks, the blazing speed he had demonstrated to a few in the business, and a letter from Daily Racing Form bloodlines expert Leon Rasmussen saying, “This Beduino certainly has an interesting pedigree and it is not difficult to discover where he gets his brilliance” going for him.
His first crop, foaled in 1976, was small but interesting. He had seven horses reach the track—five of them were out of Vessels mares—and they finished their careers with average earnings of $18,047, although one carried the load for much of the rest.
What A Woman, a daughter of the great champion mare Whataway To Go. was stakes placed in four races, including a third in the $181,000 La Primera Del Ano Derby, a third in the $114,100 Fresno Futurity and a second in the $35,000 Juvenile. She finished her career with $80,142 in earnings.
Not a bad start but certainly not overwhelming. There was no waiting line.
The crop of 1977 was again relatively small—14 reached the track—but there were two horses in the group that boosted Beduino’s standing. The first was out of a Vessels mare named Ought To Go and she was named Fishers Favorite and the other was out of an unknown mare named Sissy Quick and she carried the handle of Coast Is Clear.
Fishers Favorite made an immediate impact as she became the fastest qualifier to and second-place finisher in the rich Skoal Dash For Cash Futurity. She went on in her career to win the Sophomore and Miss Princess Handicaps and placed in six others while earning more than $210,000.
Coast Is Clear took a little longer developing and she finished her career without a stakes win but a stakes placed performance. Still, her July 1980 allowance victory in a near record :17.48 seconds for 350 yards startled enough people to help make Beduino a respected sire in the quarter horse industry.
But being respected is a far cry from having your door knocked down.
Runners continued to come, however, in the form of Just A Play Mate, a daughter of Me To that went on to win the 1981 West Texas Futurity and earn more than $125,000, and Aladuino. a son of Alamitos May that way the Governor’s Cup Futurity and Derby and the El Primero Deo Ano Derby while earning $400,000.
Successes like those are enough to insure any sire a full book, but a year like 1983 guarantees a waiting list.
Last spring  word filtered back from Bay Meadows that trainer Dennis Ekins apparently had a runner.
“This colt really acts like a runner,” jockey John Ward said on a trip to Southern California after working the horse.
He started once and produced a victory, and the talk of being perhaps one of the best two-year-old at Bay Meadows grew more pronounced.
Less than a month after those rumblings began coming out of the peninsula track, a Beduino colt—Tolltac—had won the $364,000 Bay Meadows Futurity for Ekins and Ward, and the incredible year of Beduino that had started with Aladuino’s El Primero Del Ano Derby victory was off and winging.
By the time the year had ended, Beduino’s two-year olds had dominated the national scene.
Tolltac finished the year with three Grade 1 victories in the Bay Meadows Futurity, Kindergarten and Golden State futurity, along with a second in the Dash For Cash. He earned more than $800,000, while being named the nation’s outstanding two-year-old and two-year-old colt.
Another Beduino two-year-old came along in 1983 that turned more than a few heads. Indigo Illusion, a daughter of Copy Capri, came to Los Alamitos late last summer after some successes in Louisiana. She quickly won the Las Ninas Handicap and then stunned everyone with an overwhelming victory on a hot August afternoon in the Faberge Futurity when she ran 440 yards in 21.26 seconds—not far off Dash For Cash’s :21.17 track record.
Indigo Illusion closed out the year with two more stakes wins and earnings of more than $600,000 and was named the country’s best freshman filly.
Another two-year-old came along strongly in 1983 sired by Beduino. His name was Check The Charts, a horse that earned over $184,000 with a victory in the Budweiser Invitational Championship in Arizona and a third in the Dash For Cash.
In all, when the year had been completed, Beduino’s statistics had fared better than any other sire in the nation except Dash For Cash.
Among 1983 money earners of any age, Dash For Cash had sired earners of $5,249,552 among 135 starters for an average of $38,886 per starter. Her produced 18 stakes victories.
Beduino was represented by 70 horses among 1983 money earners of any age and produced earnings $2,238,817, an average of $31,983. He produced 15 stakes wins. However, when broken down to just the two-year-old category, Beduino’s average moved even past that of Dash For Cash.
Among two-year-olds, Beduino’s 33 starters earned $1,842,257 for average earnings per freshman of $55,826. He produced 12 stakes victories.
Dash For Cash’s two-year-old statistics included 68 starters for total earnings of $2,850,711, an average of $41,922. He had seven stakes wins to his credit.
Any time a stallion is being included in the same sentence with Dash For Cash, he has established himself and Beduino has indeed accomplished that.
The gamble that Frank Vessels, Jr. had taken by joining with Justo Fernandez to stand the big gray son of Romany Royal at the Vessels Stallion Farm had paid tremendous dividends.
There have been several offers made to purchase Beduino but for now the partnership of Millie Vessels and Justo Fernandez does not seem inclined to sell.
After all, there is a waiting list and that usually means business is good.
Just like people who like good food will search out the best restaurants in town, people who like fast horses will search out the best sires available and Beduino is indeed one of those.