Bred and born of the blood of champions, Dash For Cash was by Rocket Wrangler
, one of the finest Quarter Horse sons of the Thoroughbred stallion Rocket Bar, arguably the best of many outstanding progeny of Three Bars
. Rocket Wrangler was out of the talented stakes-winning Go Man Go
mare Go Galla Go
, a gutty little competitor which earned black type, money and accolades on tracks from South Texas to the West Coast in the early '60s.Under the careful eye of C.W. (Bubba) Cascio and the expert ride of Jerry Nicodemus. "The Wrangler" ran out a quarter of a million dollars in a career that spanned 10 victories in 23 races over 2 1/2 years. "He was sure one of the best horses I was ever lucky enough to ride," said Nicodemus of Rocket Wrangler, a sprinter which put together victories in the All-American and Rainbow futurities in 1970 to be named the sport's top freshman colt. Still a stakes horse at age five, Rocket Wrangler ran until the end of the Horsemen's QHRA meet in January 1973, two seasons after entering the stud in 1971.
Phillips had high regard for the horse, and was soon taking him mares—some of which weren't his. He and the King Ranch had worked out a deal whereby Phillips bred certain of the ranch's mares, and then
acted as a partner on the resulting foals. By the time Rocket Wrangler entered service, it had already proved a profitable venture: One of the early successes, within two or three years of the handshake, was Some Kinda Man, a foal of 1969 which became one of the fastest sons of Go Man Go to ever set hoof on a track.
"My arrangements with the King Ranch was that I would keep those mares, and if they didn't produce to suit me after one or two colts, I could take them back home, go back through the mares and get some more," said Phillips.
Phillips didn't mind going through the herd as many times as it took, nor did he let changing his mind bother him. A student of breeding, Phillips devoured information on all aspects of horses and how to improve them, from sources as widely diverse as the firsthand knowledge that comes from his years in the saddle to the second-and third-hand kind that comes by reading and dissecting the opinions of others. The result has been a bedrock foundation for one of the most successful breeding operations in Quarter Horse history—and Phillips knew what he was looking for.
"The way I pick mares, I pick first for conformation, and then for pedigree," he said. "Unless a horse has conformation, I don't think he can really be relied upon. "You're going to find freaks that have no conformation and can run or cut, or do whatever you want to do on them, but as a rule, you're going to have to have some conformation to go along with it. If that bone structure is not right, the rest of him is not right."
Phillips was impressed by Rocket Wrangler's bone structure, among other things, and during the stallion's second season at stud, he took to him a Thoroughbred daughter of To Market,
one he'd found while sorting through the King Ranch mares. A stakes winner himself, To Market was the sire of the juvenile Thoroughbred champion Hurry To Market, and had sired a number of other Thoroughbred stakes winners. This particular mare, however, hadn't yet marked herself as of that class: Named Find A Buyer, she was an earner of $3,134, had won one of her 14 starts and had produced two relatively minor winners from three Thoroughbred foals. Phillips felt that there might be a little more to her, however, that she had the kind of conformation and breeding that would benefit from Rocket Wrangler's.
Credit too:Dash For Cash