Sometimes it is hard to believe that one horse can have such an impact on an entire industry. But this mare did and continues to do so today, some 30 years after she has passed away.
But Lady Bug was no fluke. Her breeding indicates she was a finely crafted vessel and was lucky enough to land with people who realized what she could produce. It took them a little while, true, they sold her and got her back a few times, but then when they started their little ranch, they weren't really into race horses. Pari Mutual betting was outlawed when the Barne's first came home with her, so her first few foals were bred to be arena horses. Those foals still managed to garner 2 AAA and 1 AAA+ race ratings. Rocky Bert(a son of Bert) was an outstanding tie down roping horse and rated AA on the tracks. When they realized what they had, they went around buying back all of Lady Bug's foals and then waited until they could buy her back too. Once they got her back in 1964, she stayed with them until she died. She produced three of her foals after the age of 20 and they are probably her most accomplished get.
So where did all that speed and consistent reproduction of that speed come from?
Yep, we come right back to those Peter McCue's.
But there was a lot more going on in terms of inbreeding than just the Peter McCue bloodline. Grab a beverage and check this out...
FL Lady Bug (linked to allbreed)
Lady Bug's sire was Sergeant and her dam was Yeager's Lady JA. YLja's sire was Will Stead. Sergeant and Will Stead were FULL brothers. So in human terms, YLja was bred to her uncle.
Both Sergeant and Will Stead were sired by Billy McCue and out of a mare named Silver. Buuuttttt...Silver and Billy McCue's dam, Sorrel Alice were also FULL sisters. So, again, in human terms, Billy McCue was bred to his aunt to give us Sergeant and Will Stead.
That gives us two generations of inbreeding. Now...the dam of Silver and Sorrel Alice was a mare named Maud. Maud was sired by Old Billy. Maud's dam was a daughter of Old Billy. So Maud's sire was also her grandsire.
Oh yea, it goes back farther too...Maud's sire, Chickasha Bob was a linebred Pony Pete on his dam's side. Pony Pete was sired by Barney Owens...the grandsire of Peter McCue.
The only line out of this inbred mix is Yeagers Lady JA's dam side. This is called the tail line. So see...FL Lady Bug was a perfect example of the perfect inbreeding program. You could cross her on anything and not loose those all important qualities that the previous breeders worked so hard to "fix" into her genetic code.
The question that begs to be answered is why such intensely inbred horses proved to be so successful, back then, when mostly what we see is crap being produced by some breeders today? In my opinion, it all boils down to quality. Percentages of blood mean nothing if the individuals who are reproducing are sub-standard to start with.
FL Lady Bug's inbred nick worked because her dam could be(and is by some) considered a "Blue Hen" mare in her own right. Yeager's Lady JA produced 18 foals in her life. ALL seven of her foals that went to the race track earned Register Of Merits and the one's that went to the show ring earned a Performance Register Of Merit and a Superior in Performance. Of those foals, Lady Bird Leo, who was AAA+, went on to produce 6 ROM race horses from 7 starters; Leos Queen Bee, also AAA, produced 7 ROM race horses; and Twayna, AAA, produced 6 ROM race horses from 6 starters. Twayna is considered a "Blue Hen" mare in her own right.
So you see, FL Lady Bug wasn't just a lucky nick, resulting from an inbred mess. In her life, Lady Bug produced 14 registered foals. Of the 11 that made it to the tracks, 10 of them were ROM race horses(all by different sires), 1 World Champion, multiple stakes winners and has produced more All-American Derby winners than any other line in QH history, if not by her own get, than by their descendants.
Although Lady Bug produced numerous great horses, who in turn produced numerous more great horses, this horse is probably her most famous or I guess I should say...well-known... Lady Bugs Moon proved himself as a AAA+ and ROM race horse and then went on to earn a Superior in Performance. His son, Shawne Bug perpetuated that ability by also earning his ROM in racing and then earning a Superior in Performance. And then he went on to produce even more ROM race horses, World Champions, Reserve World Champions, Superior Performance Horses, Barrel Racing Money earners...and the list just goes on and on.
Her female line was not to be outdone though... Ralph's Lady Bug, a daughter of Lady Bug Leo, who was a AAA daughter of FL Lady Bug, produced 7 foals in her life. ALL were Money winning racer earners. Her most famous son was Bug's Alive In 75. The winner of the All American Derby in 1975. Apparently his breeder's had no doubt from the time he was a foal of the great things to come, because his name came about as 1975 would be the year he was old enough to start racing. Even though Bugs Alive died at the tender age of 12, his legacy(and that of Lady Bug) is firmly entrenched in the barrel racing world through his daughters. Twenty plus years after his death, he is the leading maternal grandsire of money earning barrel horses and has been for over TEN years.
That was always one of FL Lady Bug's strongest features...it doesn't matter who you cross them on, the majority of them keep right on running and winning. Lady Bug's inbreeding has held up and helped to keep that a consistent feature, even generations later. She ended up being everything she was bred to be...and more than anyone ever could have imagined.