Above left: FL Lady Bug, Hall-of-Fame mare & one of AQHA's first & greatest blue hens.
Above right: Top Moon (bred like the great Jet Deck -- both were 1960 sons of Moon Deck out of Barred daughters). Top Moon sired two All-AmericanFuturity winners: Bugs Alive In 75 & Moon Lark. There was almost a third, when Lady Bug's Moon finished second to Three Oh's in 1968.
LADY BUG’S MOON is a significant horse to breeders of speed-horses. He is highly desired on pedigrees and his genetics are considered a key factor in the success of the All-Time Leading Sire First Down Dash.
Lady Bug’s Moon was a sorrel May 15, 1966 colt by Top Moon out of the great mare FL Lady Bug by Sergeant. His breeder Marvin Barnes said that when his son was breaking Lady Bug’s Moon he walked back to the house more than he rode not because he was bucked off but because Lady Bug’s Moon was so quick he would jump out from under him.
Lady Bug’s Moon began his racing career in January 1968 in the trials for the Blue Ribbon Futurity. He finished in a dead heat for first with Bonita Mujura, and lost to the same horse by a nose in the second consolation of the Futurity. Lady Bug’s Moon traveled to six tracks in three states during the first half of his freshman season. By the time he lined up for the trials of his first big race, the Kansas Futurity at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, he’d already run 9 official races.
He ran 2nd by three-quarters of a length as the favorite to Jet Deck Junior in the Kansas trials. He bore out slightly at the start, but was never more than a neck off the pace. During the last 50 yards, Lady Bug’s Moon pushed his nose ahead of Parr’s Request, with Jet Deck Junior a neck farther back in third. He won – and the win was worth $40,048.
After that, Lady Bug’s Moon was trailered to La Mesa Park where he ran 2nd in the trails and 3rd in the finals of the Oklahoma Futurity. Back at Ruidoso, Lady Bug’s Moon won his Rainbow Futurity trial by 3 lengths, then stumbled badly coming out of the gates in the final. He gathered himself up to finished 2nd.
The stallion had developed chips in both knees, probably in one of his early season races, yet he still managed to run with the best 2-year-olds in the world, but the problem was gaining on him.
Lady Bug’s Moon got to the front in the All American, but was beat at the wire by a few inches by Three Oh’s. Chasing Lady Bug’s Moon were Top Bug and Ralph’s Lady Bug – the 2nd, 3rd and 4th horses in the All American Futurity were out of FL Lady Bug or one of her daughters.
Following the 1968 All American, Barnes took Lady Bug’s Moon to a veterinarian in Kentucky who removed chips from both knees. After the horse recovered, he was bred to 67 mares the following spring.
After minimal training, the stallion came back to win his 3-year-old debut in the Ruidoso Invitational Handicap, running :17.65 for 350 yards.
Lady Bug's Moon winning at Ruidoso, July 1969.
A 2-length win in the Rainbow Derby trials got him into the finals where he beat off his old rival Jet Deck Junior by a nose on a muddy track. Lady Bug’s Moon closed out his career by finishing 4th in the Sunland Fall Derby.
He had a speed index of 100 and a race record of 11 wins, 5 seconds, 3 thirds from 23 starts. Lady Bug’s Moon earned $191,537.
“He was an extremely good gate horse,” Jerry Whittle, Marvin Barnes’ stepson said. “Of course, the Lady Bug breeding, that kind of came with the whole group, not just Lady Bug’s Moon. They would stand in the [saddling paddock at the track] like they weren’t going to run at all. There wasn’t a log of nonsense. They won a lot of races because of how smart they were.”
In the years to follow, Lady Bug’s Moon stood to as many as 300 mares a season. His breeding career got a huge boost when Chicory Moon (from his first crop) won $177,000 and was named 1973 World Champion 3-Year-Old Gelding.
Chicory Moon led an army of 86 Lady Bug’s Moon stakes horses over the years, including Shawne Bug, Mr Hay Bug, Miss Mighty Bug, Jerry’s Bug, Glittering Moon, Miss Hay Bug, Lilie Bug, Solid Gold San, Carols She Kitty, My Afton Bug, His Gallant Bug, and Ladybugs Model.
In 1976 Marvin and Lela Barnes sold Lady Bug’s Moon to George Middleton of St. Louis for what was reportedly a record price of $1,276,000. However a couple of years later, Barnes bought him back to give him more exposure to southwestern breeders.
Lady Bug’s Moon sired 966 foals. His 770 starters won 1,568 races and earned more than $4 million. But, he probably left an even more important mark as a broodmares sire. Two of his daughters produced Mr Master Bug and Miss Squaw Hand, the horses who accomplished the unique feat of running 1st and 2nd in the All American Futurity in 1982. Both were bred and owned by Marvin and Lela Barnes.
Lady Bug’s Moon daughters also produced Dashing Phoebe, 1985 2-Year-Old World Champion Filly and dam of 2007 All American Futurity winner and AQHA 2-Year-Old Champion Filly Heartswideopen. A Lady Bug’s Moon daughter also produced First Prize Rose, the dam of World Champion and All-Time Leading Sire First Down Dash. First Prize Rose is also the dam of First Prize Dash (a full-sister to First Down Dash), 2006 Broodmare of the Year and the dam and grandma of a phenomenal (and continually growing) list of very talented runners.
Lady Bug’s Moon died April 12, 1995. He’s certainly not been forgotten, however.
Today the breeding program started by Marvin and Lela continues with the Stanley family in Madill, Oklahoma (A.F. Sonny Stanley was Lela Barnes’s brother).
Left: Heartswideopen wins the Ruidoso Derby,
LADY BUG'S MOON'S daughter Rose Bug is the dam of First Prize Rose, the dam of the great First Down Dash.
Generations of Speed -- First Down Dash, First Prize Rose, Rose Bug, Lady Bug's Moon
Legends Volume 4, “Lady Bug’s Moon” by Alan GoldWebsite: http://www.ladybugstallionstation.com“First Down Dash: His foundation females didn't hurt him”by Andrea Laycock Mattsonhttp://horsesonly.com/pursuits/articles/legends/firstdowndash.htm