Hall of Fame - Horses August  9, 2020

The Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association Hall-of-Fame showcases the many horses and people who have earned the distinction of becoming part of Quarter Horse Racing history in Louisiana. To be part of the Hall-of-Fame, horses and people must have been outstanding over a period of years in a variety of categories. They must have brought exceptional visibility and/or contribution to Quarter Horse Racing and the State of Louisiana.

Hall-of-Fame inductees are chosen each year by a selection committee and are honored at the annual LQHBA Awards Banquet. The inaugural inductee class were announced in January 2016. On April 9, 2016, Leverne Perry and Claude and Bessie Lea Jeane, Oh Black Magic, Rocket's Magic and Royal Bushwhacker were inducted into the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association (LQHBA) inaugural Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the association.

Prominent Louisiana Quarter Horse breeder and owner J.E. Jumonville, Jr. were feted along with leading sire Mr Jess Perry.

A special thank you to Martha Claussen for research and writing bios and to Speedhorse and TRACK magazines for helping track down photos of these inductees from their archives.

The inductees have each played a significant role in Louisiana Quarter Horse industry. Inductees into the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association Hall-of-Fame are:

PEOPLE

  • Claude & Bessie Jeane
  • Dale Rogers
  • J.E. Jumonville, Jr.
  • Leverne Perry
  • Lee Berwick
  • W.A. Darling

HORSES

  • Go Vicki Meyers
  • Hemp Meyers
  • Hesajoy
  • Mr Jess Perry
  • Oh Black Magic
  • Rockets Magic
  • Royal Bushwhacker
  • Streakin La Jolla
  • Vals Fortune

Below are photos of each Hall of Fame member inducted in 2020. Click their photo or name in the left toolbar to read their biographical information. To view previous Hall-of-Fame member bios click on "PEOPLE" or "HORSES" in the left tool bar.

VALS FORTUNE

Inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame in 2021

Vals Fortune

Vals Fortune was one of the most accomplished Louisiana-bred racing champions with durability that may never be matched.

The son of Dashing Val out of the Six Fortunes mare Somthinlikabreeze was bred in Louisiana by JoBaya Foreman and Joseph P. Irvine. Foaled on January 14, 2001, he was owned by Teddy Abrams, Jr. and trained by M. Heath Taylor.

The chestnut gelding made his racing debut on March 3, 2003 in the 13th Mardi Gras Futurity trial. Maybe “13” was an unlucky number as he ran second that day under rider Gilbert Ortiz but showed speed and perhaps a glimpse of what was to come in his exceptional career.

He went on to win the Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) on March 20, which began a ten-race win streak. And not just any streak! In his 2-year-old season, he won each Futurity in Louisiana: the Mardi Gras, Laddie (RG3), Lee Berwick (RG3), LQHBA Sale (RG1) and LQHBA Breeders (RG1) (now called the LQHBA Louisiana Million). Not surprisingly, he capped his year with a victory in the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile.

AQHA Racing Champion Vals Fortune has will be inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
“He was completely dominant on the racetrack,” stated Taylor. “We hauled him in for each race and had plenty of quirks. Either me or his groom had to stand beside him in the trailer; he was so aggressive, but once he got to the paddock, a peace came over him and he was ready to do his job. He was always good in the gates and just destroyed the field!”

He was named Champion 2-year old Gelding and Champion 2-year-old by AQHA.

Vals Fortune began his 3-year-old campaign in similar fashion, running second in the Louisiana Purchase Stakes at Delta Downs before reeling off six stakes wins, most notably, the Delta Downs Derby and the Louisiana Champions Day Derby.

"He had phenomenal durability and consistency," added Taylor. "It didn't matter if it was raining, he got a bad post position or didn't break well; he always found a way to win."

Owner Teddy Abrams, Jr. and trainer M. Heath Taylor.
His racing career continued in 2005 with victories in the John Alleman Memorial Stakes(G3), MBNA America East Challenge (G2), LQHBA Classic (G3) and Refrigerator Handicap (G1) at Lone Star Park. His last start in the United Stakes came at Sunland Park, when he ran fourth in the Championship at Sunland Park on December 30, 2005.

Vals Fortune set track records at Fair Grounds (300; 350 and 400 yards); Louisiana Downs (350 yards) and Delta Downs (400 and 440 yards). He became the first Louisiana-bred millionaire, winning 20 of 23 career starts and earning $1,111,591 in his illustrious career.

Sadly, Teddy Abrams lost his battle with cancer and passed away on December 26, 2019. Taylor will certainly pay tribute to both Vals Fortune and Abrams on April 3.

“Teddy was always involved and so easy to train for,” acknowledged Taylor. “He always allowed me to do what was right for the horse. Vals Fortune took me, Teddy and a whole group of people on a ride of a lifetime.”

Photos courtesy © Speedhorse Magazine Archives