This 2013 Hall of Fame inductee did more than just excel in the show pen, he was also a Quarter Horse breeding great.
It was the day before Groundhog Day in 1973 when Freckles Playboy was born, sired by Jewel’s Leo Bars, a money-earning son of Sugar Bars, and out of Gay Jay, a spicy-hot cutting mare.
Terry Riddle started the sorrel colt and trained him for breeder and owner Marion Flynt, a Texas oilman. The two men pointed “Playboy” to the 1976 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity, where he was the co-reserve champion. At the 1977 NCHA Derby, he was third, and he also won an AQHA world championship in junior cutting that year. In 1978, he was second in the NCHA Finals and third at the AQHA World Championship Show in senior cutting. He earned 25 AQHA cutting points and $59,976 in NCHA competition.
But the show-pen successes were cut short when Freckles Playboy was diagnosed with navicular syndrome in 1979. Marion had decided to euthanize him, when Terry talked him out of it. Instead, Marion, who had been known to give away horses, gifted the stallion to his ranch manager, Kay Floyd, who decided to promote him as a sire. He stood to the public at Terry’s ranch in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.
Freckles Playboy’s first foal crop hit the ground in 1978, and it was soon clear that he wasn’t just a stallion; he was a sire. Shesa Playmate, a 1978 sorrel mare out of Lenaette – an NCHA Futurity winner sired by another futurity winner, Doc O’Lena – was a finalist at the 1981 Futurity. She returned in 1982 to win the NCHA Derby.
His second foal crop produced an NCHA semifinalist, Freckles Aglow, and from the third crop came Playboys Kid, who came out of the box successfully in his freshman year but got better with time, earning the 1986 NCHA non-pro world championship by winning all four go-rounds. In 1987, Kay and a Playboy daughter, Playfulena, won the NCHA Non-Pro futurity.
As more and more “Playboys” began appearing in the show pen, the demand went up, especially among amateur competitors.
As a partial listing, other notable offspring were Hyglo Freckles, the 1988 NCHA open world champion; Futurity titleholder San Tule Freckles; Non-Pro futurity winners Maceys Playgirl and Playboys Lynnea; and Playboys Madera, who carried Kay to the 1988 NCHA non-pro world championship.
And that, then, segues into the next success seen by Freckles Playboy: the ability of his daughters to pass along his good genes.
Playboys Madera, as an example, was the dam of Playboys McCrae (by Dual Pep), who won the 1997 NCHA Futurity.
Today, within AQHA, Freckles Playboy is among the top 10 all-time leading maternal grandsires (by points earned) for both cutting and working cow horse.
The Playboy sons were no slackers, either, including Freckles Merada, whose get earned nearly $3 million, and Playgun, whose sire earnings are more than $7.6 million.
In NCHA, Freckles Playboy is ranked third on the list of all-time leading sires, by offspring earnings. His sons and daughters tallied an amazing $24.5 million in NCHA earnings. Freckles Playboy offspring also earned more than $285,000 in the National Reined Cow Horse Association, more than $125,000 in the National Reining Horse Association and nearly $177,000 at the AQHA World Championship Show.
From 2,084 foals in 26 foal crops, Freckles Playboy sired 13 AQHA world champions and 17 reserve world champions.
When you move to his daughters’ foals, then you’re talking about an additional 13 AQHA world champions, 15 reserve world champions and more than $35 million in earnings with AQHA alliance partners.
Freckles Playboy sired his last foal crop in 2002. The following year,
he went into kidney failure and was euthanized. He is buried on Kay’s ranch.
In a chapter on Freckles Playboy in “Legends: Volume 6,” Kay said it took a team to create the Playboy legacy.
“With me owning and loving Playboy, and Terry training him, and everyone training his colts … that’s what made him the legend he is today.”