OTTBwestern History: Azure Te

“The American Quarter Horse owes a lot to the Thoroughbred. Azure Te, in the vernacular of old-school horsemen, was the ‘right kind’ of Thoroughbred. His blood improved the Quarter Horse.” – American Quarter Horse Association

Azure Te was foaled in California in 1962. He was bred by Mr. and Mrs. L. K. Shapiro, the breeders and owners of Hall of Fame racehorse Native Diver. Azure Te was by multiple stakes winner Nashville and out of Blue One, by Triple Crown winner Count Fleet. Blue One also produced Bear Valley and La Crema, sires of AQHA ROM earners, but Azure Te was by far her most successful son.

Azure Te’s dam sire, Triple Crown winner Count Fleet lived to be 33 years old.

Azure Te started racing as a two-year old. In 1964, he placed second in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship and the Del Mar Futurity. At three, Azure Te won the Debonair Stakes and the Hollywood Express Stakes and was second in the Oceanside Handicap. He also won the 1966 Lakes and Flowers Handicap. When a bowed tendon forced his retirement from racing at the end of his four-year-old season, Azure Te had made 26 starts, won ten races, and earned $119,022 on the track. All his wins were at sprint distances between 5 and ½ and 6 furlongs.

Stallion advertisement for Azure Te
Photo via All Breed Database

At his peak, Azure Te stood 15.2HH and weighed over 1,100 pounds. His conformation and heavy muscling were sought after by Quarter Horse breeders. In 1968, Azure Te was purchased by a syndicate managed by Jay Pumphrey of Burnett Ranches. His syndicate, which is thought to be the first syndication of a stallion for Quarter Horse Racing, also included Ted Wells Jr. Azure Te’s first crop of Quarter Horses included two finalists in the 1971 All American Futurity. The fastest qualifier was his son Come Six who ended the season as champion freshman gelding. Come Six would go on to win 17 of 39 races, including the World’s Championship Classic, HQHRA Inaugural Handicap and Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, and earn $345,323 on the track.

Azure Coon was one of Azure Te’s 42 stakes winners.
Photo via All Breed Database

Other stakes winners by Azure Te include Azure Coon, Band of Azure, Best of Me and Loutens Angel. In addition to Come Six, his most successful get on the track include Twelve Five, Comingforth, Sizzle Te, A Zure Request and Azure Teen. Twelve Five won 8 races and $114,325; Comingforth won 9 races and earned $197,198; Sizzle Te won 10 races and earned $226,665; A Zure Request won 18 races and earned $228,389; and Azure Teen won 6 races and earned $248,220. In total, Azure Te sired 842 starters from 1,085 foals in 18 foal crops. His get included six champions, 42 stakes winners, and earners of nearly $7 million on the track.

Te N’ Te sired many outstanding horses in five short years at stud.
Photo via All Breed Database

Off the track, Azure Te’s son Te N’ Te made an impact in the halter and performance industries. Te N’ Te was out of Vila, by Leon Bars. He sustained an injury while in race training but enjoyed a great career as a halter horse. Te N’ Te was the 1976 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo grand champion stallion. In just five years at stud, he sired 551 registered foals. His get earned 3,923.5 Halter Points, 2,170 Performance Points, nine AQHA Championships and four AQHA World Championships. He died unexpectedly at the age of seven but left a lasting impression on the industry.

Corona Cartel, one of Azure Te’s many successful descendants
Photo via Lazy E Ranch

Azure Te’s get were known for their good minds, conformation, speed and versatility. His greatest influence may have been through his daughters and granddaughters. He sired the dams of Steppin for the Moon and Cash Not Credit among many others. Corona Chick, the dam of Corona Cartel, Valiant Hero, and Captain Courage, is out of Sizzling Lil who is by Azure Te’s son Sizzle Te. Other prominent descendants include See Me Do It, PC Tru Az Frost and JL Sirocco.

Azure Te was euthanized on November 19th, 1983 at the age of 21. He was suffering from tumors in his lungs and congestive heart failure. At the time of his death, he was the all-time leading Thoroughbred sire of Quarter Horse racehorses, a title he had held for nearly a decade. He is buried on the Wells Ranch and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2015.

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