First Down Dash dies at age 26
December 3, 2010
American Quarter Horse racing’s most prolific stallion, First Down Dash, died on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25, 2010) at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, CA. He was 26.
“He laid down and went to sleep peacefully. He was missing Scoop and his sunflower seeds,” said Bonnie Vessels, referring to her late husband, Frank “Scoop” Vessels.
Dr. Ed Allred, the sport’s all-time leading breeder, released the following statement: “First Down Dash is unquestionably the greatest stallion of all time. No horse has had the influence of the great First Down Dash. He was an amazing horse. He was a sire of sires. What an incredible and great career…he was in one word ‘amazing.'”
Bred by A.F. Stanley Jr. and B.F. Phillips Jr. out of the Gallant Jet mare First Prize Rose, First Down Dash continued the legacy at stud that started with his own sire, Dash For Cash. First Down Dash went on to surpass many of the all-time records set by Dash For Cash.
From 20 crops to race, First Down Dash has sired 1,163 winners, which includes 224 stakes winners. His progeny earnings stand at more than $73.7 million, easily the highest total of all-time. Among his offspring are 35 champions, including Down With Debt, Dashing Folly, Ocean Runaway, Corona Cash, Corona Kool, Wave Carver, FDD Dynasty, A Ransom, A Classic Dash, Dash Thru Traffic and Royal Quick Dash.
First Down Dash is the sire of a record six All American Futurity (G1) winners – Royal Quick Dash, Dash Thru Traffic, A Classic Dash, Corona Cash, Falling In Loveagain and No Secrets Here – and a record six Champion of Champions (G1) winners – Wave Carver, Ocean Runaway, Cash For Kas, The Down Side, A Ransom and Dashing Folly. In addition to being a top sire of sires, First Down Dash is also a perennial leading broodmare sire.
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On the racetrack, First Down Dash won 13 of 15 career starts and earned $857,256. As a 2-year-old, he won the Grade 1 Kindergarten and Dash For Cash futurities. Then as a 3-year-old in 1987, he had a near-perfect campaign with six stakes victories, including the Grade 1 Los Alamitos and Dash For Cash derbies and the Champion of Champions. He was named that year’s AQHA world champion in addition to champion 3-year-old and champion 3-year-old colt.