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The Western Thoroughbred History – Lanolark

In the early 1960s, Lanolark was one of the most consistent sprinters in California. He later stood in Nebraska where he sired an even faster family of Quarter Horses. Best known as the dam sire of AQHA World Champions Miss Thermolark and Moon Lark, Lanolark can still be found in the pedigrees of race, barrel, and rope horses today.

Lanolark was foaled on May 2nd, 1958. He was bred and owned by Dr. W. D. Lucas in California. Lanolark was by Alate and out of Frank’s Lark, by Jet Pilot, winner of the 1947 Kentucky Derby. Both Alate and Jet Pilot were sired by Blenheim II, which meant that Lanolark was linebred to the great English stallion. Blenheim II won the Epsom Derby and was later imported to the United States. He became a Leading Sire in North America after he sired Whirlaway, winner of the 1941 Triple Crown. Blenheim II died and was buried at Claiborne Farm the same year that Lanolark was born.

Photo of Blenheim II, the stallion that Lanolark was descended from on both sides of his pedigree, via All Breed Database

Lanolark was a beautiful bay with a white blaze between his dark, brilliant eyes. His stout hind legs sported two white socks. Lanolark had the conformation of a sprinter – a big shoulder, short back, and strong hindquarters. In 1960, when he began racing, his fast physique was proven to be pragmatic. He was fearsome at six furlongs and preferred to win in wire-to-wire fashion. As a two-year-old, Lanolark won three of nine starts including the Citrus Belt Stakes at Pomona which he won by nearly three lengths and equaled the track record for six furlongs in 1:10 flat. At age three, he won a race at Santa Anita by 1 ¼ lengths. He won a few more races as an older horse including two against Quarter Horse company. He was said to be one of the most consistent sprinters in California at the time. He placed in the Richmond Handicap, Debonair Stakes, and San Miguel Stakes. In four years of racing, Lanolark won seven races and earned $38,516, the equivalent of about $370,000 today.

Photo of Lanolark on the track via Sporthorse Data

Lanolark bred his first Quarter Horse mares while he was still racing. In 1964, his first foals hit the ground. They included Lanovay, Lano Hancock, and Lady O Lark. Lanovay was a chestnut stallion out of Vera Vay, by Tommy. He won fourteen races including the Golden Spread Futurity, Rocky Mountain QHA Futurity, and Oklahoma Derby. Lanovay earned $60,045 on the track, the equivalent of about $485,000 today. He became a successful sire in his own right siring 132 performers including Babys Henryetta, the second dam of Holland Ease. Lano Hancock was a bay filly by Lanolark and out of Hi C Hancock, by Revenue H. She won the 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Juarez Double Derby and the Shue Fly Stakes. Lady O Lark, by Lanolark and out of Miss Petty Robin, by Robin Reed, won the Iowa Derby.

Advertisement for Lanolark in the 1967 Annual Stallion Edition of The Quarter Horse Journal

A first foal crop of winners attracted more Quarter Horse breeders to Lanolark. He stood stud at the Sand Hills Ranch in Haigler, Nebraska. In 1968, his connections decided to limit his books to only sixty AAA and AA mares. That same year, Speedy Lark, a sorrel gelding by Lanolark and out of Little Drip, by Up Set L, set a new track record at Laramie Downs for 330 yards in 0:17.840 seconds. Other track record setters by Lanolark include Bald Whistle, Reckless Ronny, and Mr Sleep. He also sired stakes winners Vanolark, Bold Lark, Braska Land and Pan O Lan. Other notable runners by Lanolark include Noble Maiden, Fleet Lark, Sierra Larkspur, Terry Lark, Doc Meyer, Happy Folks, Lanoluck, Laura Racy and Parsons Lark. In total, Lanolark sired 248 registered Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse foals in eight foal crops. Those included 75 ROM-eraners, 34 stakes finalists, 8 stakes winners, and 5 Superior Race Award-earners with earnings of $708,196 on the track.

Photo of Lanolark from his 1963 stallion advertisement in The Quarter Horse Journal

As with many Thoroughbreds in the western industry, Lanolark was a strong broodmare sire. In the late 1970s, his grandget dominated Quarter Horse racing. Miss Thermolark, a bay mare by Thermos and out of Missy Jo Lark, by Lanolark, won of the Blue Ribbon Downs Spring Futurity, Northeast Kansas QHA Futurity, Rainbow Futurity, World Championship Classic, Champion of Champions, Miss Princess Invitational, and HQHRA Inaugural Handicap. In 1978, Miss Thermolark was named the AQHA Racing Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, Champion Three-Year-Old, and World Champion. Lanolark is also the dam sire of Moon Lark, a five-time AQHA Racing Champion. Moon Lark won thirteen of his nineteen starts, including the All American Futurity, Sunland Park Fall Futurity, Horsemen’s QHRA Championship, and Los Alamitos Derby. He earned $859,356 on the track, the equivalent of about $3.5 million today. Moon Lark went on to become a World Champion sire with progeny earnings exceeding $10 million.

Moon Lark, a five-time AQHA Champion, was out of the Lanolark mare Pan O Lan – photo via all breed database

Lanolark’s get and grandget also performed well in the arena. Notably, Grey Lark, a gray gelding by Thermos and out of Neat Land, by Lanolark, was a very successful heading and heeling horse. He won AQHA World Championships roping at both ends. Other impressive performers descended from Lanolark include Kits Hemp, Brays Moon Bug and Texas Hero. Although he died at the young age of thirteen, Lanolark managed to make a permanent mark on the pedigrees of some of the world’s greatest Quarter Horses.

Grey Lark, a grandson of Lanolark who was nearly all Thoroughbred, excelled in the roping pen – photo via All Breed Database

Sources: Equineline, Equibase, The Quarter Horse Journal, All Breed Database, Sporthorse Database

Photo of Lanolark via Sporthorse Database

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