Awesome Partnership

Awesome Partnership

Joe and Karen Williams have enjoyed breeding racehorses for more than half a century.

Awesome View wins at Will Rogers Downs

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By Andrea Caudill


When she was a kid, Karen Williams was a city girl with a passion for horses. Every birthday, she would wish for a black pony, but when she peeked out the window in the morning – “it was never there,” she said with a chuckle. 

But dreams do come true: She met the man, Joe Williams, who would become her husband and who was already breeding and racing horses by the time they met. They have now been married 52 years and share the hobby together. Joe handles breeding choices and decisions, while Karen enjoys proving love to their small handful of broodmares and each year’s foal crop. They have two daughters and one granddaughter, and have operated a successful electrical contracting business out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. 

And best of all? Karen finally got her black pony…albeit a big and really fast pony.

Enter Awesome View, a homebred black gelding they will be sending to contest the six-figure John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at The Downs at Albuquerque on October 23

Awesome View is by top sire Hes Relentless and out of the Williams’ homebred Ivory James mare Ivory Key. He is a fourth-generation runner for the Oklahoma couple, as they also bred his third dam More Than Dreams and his second dam Dream Diva. 

The latter mare produced River Wind, a sorrel gelding by Furyofthewind who took them to their first Bank of America Challenge Championships in 2014, where he finished second in the Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1). The horse won or placed in 12 of 19 career starts and earned $171,373. 

Awesome View has already improved the family’s black type, and with three starts under his belt, he is showing nothing but improvement. He has been first, second or third in all three starts and has earnings of $32,406 to date.

When Joe began searching for a sire for the breeding that would eventually produce River Wind, he chose Furyofthewind because he was a son of American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame stallion Corona Cartel, who is a known sire-of-sires, but also his dam, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame mare Dashing Phoebe. 

“I always look at the dam side,” Joe said. “If you have a real good stallion, always look for a strong dam side.”

Selecting Ivory James for the cross that would produce Ivory Key was because of that stallion also being a son of Corona Cartel with a strong dam – and “I thought he was such a good-looking horse and had a pretty good race record,” Joe said. 

When Joe was ready to select a cross for Ivory Key, he was immediately drawn to Hes Relentless for several reasons, not the least being his second dam – Dashing Phoebe. 

“We always thought Ivory Key would be a really good broodmare, and it’s looking like maybe she is,” Karen said. 

Awesome View grew up with four other foals in their pasture, and Karen said he was the most laid-back of the bunch.

“We call him ‘Bull’ because he was never mean, but he’d just bull his way in,” she said. “He was just big enough that he’d just push them out of the way. I always thought, ‘He’s so lazy, he’s never going to run.’ But surprise, surprise – he must’ve been saving his energy.”

He began his career at Remington Park with a third-place finish in a maiden. He was then second in his John Deere Will Rogers Juvenile Challenge trial, just a half-length off the fastest qualifier, Valentino Pete. He was able to turn the tables in the finals, winning the $60,308 stakes race by a half length, and punching his ticket to bring his breeders back to the Championships on October 23, for the first time in seven years. 

“We’ve been to the Challenge Championships before, but it’s been a while,” Karen said. “It’s exciting!”

Look for complete coverage of the Bank of America Challenge Championships at AQHA's website and on racing social media. If you can't attend the races live at The Downs at Albuquerque on October 23, watch on Q-Racing Video (subscription required)!