Hall of Fame - People December  16, 2017

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 and will be honored Saturday April 9 at the LQHBA Awards Banquet in the Evangeline Downs Event Center beginning at 5:00 p.m. (CST).

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
  • Leverne Perry
  • Lee Berwick
  • W.A. Darling

HORSES

  • Oh Black Magic
  • Rockets Magic
  • Royal Bushwhacker
  • Go Vicki Meyers
  • Hesajoy
  • Streakin La Jolla

Below are photos of each Hall of Fame member inducted in 2017. 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.

W. A. Darling

Inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame in 2017

W.A. Darling — 2017

William Albert Darling, born in 1927, was a native of Pleasanton, Texas. After serving his country in the military, he moved to Opelousas, Louisiana in 1953 where he became a life-long resident of Louisiana.

When he retired from the oil field business, he became involved full-time in his true passion of breeding and raising racehorses. He also devoted his time and energy to developing the growth of the quarter horse industry in the state of Louisiana. An active Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association (LQHBA) board member, Darling served as president in 1984 and 1990.

Darling is one of Louisiana’s leading breeders with 333 performing foals, including 197 winners who have earned a total of $5,412,072. He bred 21 stakes winners, nine of which earned six figures in their careers. His leading money earner was Dashing Obsession, who won 10 of her 23 starts with seven stakes wins, including the 2002 Mardi Gras Derby. She has produced 10 foals led by 2013 Lassie Futurity champion, Dashing Jet Rio. Darling’s top stallion was Hemp Meyers, who sired 273 performing foals that earned $2,949,349. One of his most successful sons was Horseplayers Hemp, who earned $200,387.

W.A. Darling's homebred Dashing Obsession winning the 2002 Bluebonnet Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.
© Evangeline Downs

Darling’s dedication to racing and breeding has been recognized in both Louisiana Quarter Horse racing and nationally by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). He was awarded the 20-year and 30-year Cumulative Breeder awards, from the AQHA as well as the East High Point Breeder Award in 2000. As of the conclusion of 2016, Darling was ranked 30th on the annual AQHA list of all-time leading Quarter Horse breeders.

W.A. Darling died at the age of 90 in 2011. He was married to Carolyn Christine Darling and had three children, Bruce Kelley Darling, Susan Darling Urban, and Karen Darling Falgoust. Susan now owns the 5.26-acre property where her father got his start in the racing and breeding business. Karen is carrying on his legacy as the owner of Darling Farms, LLC.

Darling's homebred Dashing Jet Rio winning the $246,144 LQHBA Lassie Futurity(RG2) at Delta Downs May 24, 2013. © Coady Photography