The Western Thoroughbred History: Carrara Marble

Carrara Marble was foaled in 1945. He was by Coldstream, a multiple stakes-winning son of the great Bull Dog. Coldstream sired both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. Legendary horseman John Dial took his good Quarter Horse mare, Maurine, to Coldstream to produce Danger Boy II, the sire of Parr Passum and several other race-winning Quarter Horses. Carrara Marble’s dam, Georgia Marble, was a daughter of Royal Minstrel. She only produced four foals but two of them made an impact on the western industry. One of Georgia Marble’s daughters, Sweet Afton, was also bred to Coldstream. That pairing produced Afton Creek, a Thoroughbred stallion whose offspring earned AQHA Superior Awards in racing, performance and halter. Carrara Marble had similar accomplishments as a sire.

At age two, Carrara Marble won three of five starts and placed second in the Breeders’ Futurity. As a three-year-old, he won four races and placed second in the Hawthorne Speed Handicap, Skokie Handicap and Hawthorne Sprint Handicap. On June 7th, 1949, Carrara Marble set a new track record at Arlington Park for six furlongs. He ran the distance in 1:09.20 and bested the field by 12 lengths. He won six more races that year and placed second in the Princeton Handicap and third in the Equipoise Mile Handicap and Clang Handicap. In his final season of racing, Carrara Marble placed third in the Myrtlewood Handicap. He defeated horses such as Hall of Fame inductees Bewitch and Armed during his racing career. He retired at age five with a record of 40 starts, 14 wins, eight seconds, eight thirds, and $64,098 in earnings, the equivalent of about $800,000 today.

When Carrara Marble entered stud, he stood at the Gosselin Farm in Oklahoma. His first foals arrived in 1953. Among his first foal crop were stakes placed Thoroughbreds Crown Marble and Bob-O-Bob. In 1959, Leon K., a Thoroughbred stallion by Carrara Marble and out of Two Bees, by Boss Hoss, won the Myles Standish Stakes and the Narragansett Nursery Stakes. Other Thoroughbred race winners by Carrara Marble include Fresh Marble, Chisel, Granitville, Anita V. and Marble Ali.

Carrara Marble was later purchased by Guy Ray Rutland of the Rutland Ranch in Independence, Kansas. Guy always believed that the right kind of Thoroughbred blood could enhance the Quarter Horse breed. Carrara Marble was his first Thoroughbred stallion. Guy chose him for his program because of his quarter-type conformation. Carrara Marble became an integral outcross in the Rutland Ranch breeding program.

His Quarter Horse get were especially fast on the track. Six of his sons and daughters set new track records. Becky Marble, a mare out of Becky Bailey, set a new track record for 350 yards in 17.930 seconds in the Midwest Quarter Horse Futurity at Maplewood Downs. Berta Marble, Play Marble Boy and Marble’s Bar Baby all set track records at 220 yards in 0:12.550, 0:12.470 and 0:12.140 respectively. Carrara King set a new track record at Desert Park for 300 yards in 17.490 seconds. Carrara set a new track record for 400 yards at Jefferson Park in 20.610 seconds. And Mr Marble set track records at 350 and 440 yards at Wabash Valley Downs.

Marble Adair, a gelding out of Lou Bee Lou, was Carrara Marble’s best Quarter Horse starter. He won the Hoosier Downs Sprint Stakes, Indy 500 Dash and Indiana State Fair Dash. He also placed second in the Volunteer State Championship, Indiana Championship and Wabash Valley Downs Championship, and third in the Indie Day Handicap. In 1972, Marble Adair earned a Superior Race Horse Award. He made 81 starts and won 30 races during his nine-year racing career. Other Quarter Horse stakes winners by Carrara Marble include Mrs Becky Marble, Osage Marble, and Jay Marble. In total, Carrara Marble sired 278 Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse foals in 26 foal crops. Those included 122 race winners, 55 Race Register of Merit-earners, nine stakes winners, and one Superior Race Award-earner, with earnings of $977,247 on the track.

Dark Quarry, a Thoroughbred stallion by Carrara Marble and out of But Definitely, by Bless Me, was unplaced in one start at the track. He sired Quarter Horse racehorses.

Carrara Marble also sired a handful of Paints. Most notably, Baby Bars Lady, a Paint mare out of Baby Bar, was an APHA Champion on the track. Off the track, his Quarter Horse offspring also earned Register of Merits in halter and performance events. Several of Carrara Marble’s Thoroughbred sons went on to become sires themselves. Bull Marble, Dark Quarry and Fresh Marble all sired AAA and AA Quarter Horse racehorses. Fresh Marble also sired Marble Butterfly and April Fresh, talented mares who earned ROMs in the arena.

Mighty Marble, an Appaloosa stallion out of Miss Marita Marble, by Carrara Marble, qualified for the ApHC World Show. Photo via All Breed Database.

According to the Rutland Ranch, Carrara Marble was one of the best Thoroughbreds to influence the Quarter Horse breed. The ranch used many of his daughters as outcrosses to their World Champion stallion, Pacific Bailey. The success of that nick is partially responsible for Carrara Marble becoming a leading broodmare sire in the 1970s. His daughters produced winners no matter who they were bred to though. In total, five Superior Race Horses were out of daughters of Carrara Marble. His daughters produced Race ROM-earners at a rate of 54%. They also produced performance and halter horses registered with the AQHA, APHA, and ApHC.

Ima Flaming Fire is a great-granddaughter of Carrara Marble through her second dam, Ima Marble Too.

Carrara Marble died in 1977 at the age of 32. He was covering a mare when he slipped and hurt his back. He is buried on the Rutland Ranch next to Pacific Bailey and Bar Money. Many of the mares on the ranch today are descendants of Carrara Marble. He can still be found in the pedigrees of racing, barrel racing, halter and performance horses.

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

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