Appaloosa Stallion

Registration:  ApHC #10858
Foaled:  June 12, 1959
Died:  April 5, 1970
Color:  Red roan

Apache King S.
Apache King S.
"the epitome of Appaloosa versatility"
(photo courtesy Appaloosa Journal)

It was in 1961, a bit early for snow, even in the rugged mountains near Albion, Idaho. As the snow fell, elk hunters in the area welcomed it, knowing the snow would bring better tracking. The snow didn't stop, though, until it was several feet deep and piled high on the craggy ridges. As if the snow wasn't enough for the hunters to endure, the temperature quickly dropped to hover around zero. Hunters -- using automobiles and horses -- were stranded. Before rescue came several persons died of exposure. Many horses died from the ordeal. Joe King released his Appaloosa stallion to fend for himself. Ten days later the stallion, Apache King S., arrived at a ranch in the lower country. The grueling trek through the belly-high snow left its mark on the horse. Years later scars could be seen on his back legs from injuries sustained as he moved across snow-covered logs on his trip back to life and the track.

Orville Sears, of Elba, Idaho, bred his future hall of fame stallion, Apache F-730, to an ApHC identification-certified half-Thoroughbred named Mapeline. This cross produced Apache King S., on June 12, 1959. Joe and Marie King bought the young stallion from Orville Sears and when the horse wasn't winning on the track, he was earning his keep as a working horse at the King Ranch in Peck, Idaho.

In 1962, this horse won the Grand Champion Stallion award at the Magic Valley Horse Show in Twin Falls, Idaho, and raced to win the three-year-old Derby of the I.O.N. show. Apache King S. He then went on to the Nampa Stampede, Idaho's largest rodeo, where he carried the American Flag in the parade and color guard for five days. Late that fall he carried his owner on another hunting trip into the primitive area of the Selway country and packed out Joe King's elk. No snow storm marred this trip.

Early in the spring of 1963, King decided to train Apache King S. himself and went into a serious program at the Western Idaho State Fairgrounds track. It was not long before only the registered Thoroughbred horses would work out with him.

His first race of the 1963 season was a 3/8-mile for three-year-olds and older for Appaloosa horses. Apache King S. easily won. His second outing, for 400 yards, was also a winner. Owners of other racing breeds felt this was too much and put some of the Boise area's top runners in an open 3/8-mile with Apache King S. This was an interesting and enjoyable race for Appaloosa breeders as they watched one of their own battle and win the event.

Soon after this run, the Ontario, Oregon, meet started with pari-mutuel betting. Apache King S. was ready and so was his owner-trainer, Joe King. The interest in this horse was reflected at the betting windows. For the first time in the history of the track, tickets were sold out so that by race time Apache King S. carried two ticket numbers. His supporters were rewarded. Apache King S. easily won the race setting a world record for Appaloosa horses to compete for. He was timed in at 57.67, a mark 2.5 seconds faster than the Thoroughbred time for the night.

At the 16th National Appaloosa Show in Boise, he easily won the National 1/2-mile race and set another world's record. The same afternoon he won the I.O.N. Derby for 910 yards in 41.72.

This sensational stallion -- the epitime of Appaloosa versatility -- was then back at the King ranch breeding mares and waiting for his next race. "Sometimes it scares me just to think of what this great horse is capable of doing." said King. "One thing for sure, he and I will be back hunting this fall for another elk."

The way Apache King S. handled himself in the rugged and rocky mountains as well as the track, he could probably outrun an elk through the Idaho Primitive Area. Probably wouldn't be too many betting against him either.

Apache King S. set world records at 500 yards, 770 yards, 880 yards, four furlongs, 4 1/2 furlongs and five furlongs. In 1963, he claimed the aged-stallion racing championship for dollars earned. Michelle Berg's Apache King S. article in the January 2000 Appaloosa Journal reported that with 20 starts, Apache King S. earned 16 wins with seven stakes wins. While a June 1970 Appaloosa News article by Bob Szarek reported that of a total of 36 starts in seven years of racing, Apache King S. compiled a record of 28 wins, 6 place and 2 show -- never out of the money. Those larger figures probably include races not reported to or recorded by ApHC.

The Bob Szarek tribute to Apache King S., in the June 1970 Appaloosa News, told of his introduction to the great horse.

"People who saw him run remember him for his drive, but many recall his track antics. He had the habit of looking up at the stands as he raced by, gloating on the crowd's enthusiastic roar which applause he seemingly reserved for himself. In 1968, I had occasion to watch him run his last race (Ferndale). On that day, he successfully and emphatically defended his 5 furlong world's record. I was fairly new to the racing game at that time, and I remember seeing 20 to 1 odds on the "tote" immediately before I bought 20 win tickets on Apache King S. When I returned to the stands, there was a low hum of questions going around: "This Apache King S. . . do you remember him?", "He's the horse that . . ." etc. By the time the race began, the odds on "King" had changed to 1 to 5, for when I collected on my tickets, I gained 40 cents on each. The people there remembered him!"

Apache King S. sired 93 registered foals. His get include 38 starters and 16 winners who garnered a collective $31,057.75 at the track. Apache King S. received the leading-sire title in 1967 and 1968 for producing the most winners. Daiquiri-Bar, a daughter of Apache King S., made an impact on the halter and performance world, earning a bronze medallion in halter and won the 1987 leading dam of medallion winners title.

Apache King S. died on April 5, 1970, of liver failure. He was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 1988.

{This article was compiled from information originally published in:
"A Sensational Appaloosa -- Apache King S." Appaloosa News, September 1963;
"Tribute To Apache King S." by Bob Szarek in the Appaloosa News, June 1970; and
"Apache King S.," by Michelle Berg in the Appaloosa Journal, January 2000, Vol. 54, No. 1}

Joe Daniels
January 2000

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