Maddon's Bright Eyes

Maddon's Bright Eyes

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1997.

hall of fame inductee photos

text size

She stood 15 hands, weighed about 1,120 pounds, had a blazed face and one blue eye, and loved to suck eggs dry, without even destroying the shells. Her name was Maddon’s Bright Eyes, and she was loved by her owner, named C.L. “Tess” Maddon of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Even before she became the first horse to sprint the quarter-mile in less than 22 seconds, Melville Haskell wrote in 1950 that the mare was “in a class by herself at the top of the list, and obviously the horse to beat in any race she entered.”

The mare earned $16,577 during her racing career, setting eight track records and equaling three, snagging the world champion title in 1949 and again in 1951. In her first start, a trial for the New Mexico State Fair Futurity in 1948, Maddon’s Bright Eyes caught the attention of sportswriter Leslie Ernenwein who wrote, “I suppose there have been other 2-year-old fillies making their first start who were as pretty, but she’s the one I’ve never forgotten.”

Bred by J. Warren Shoemaker and foaled May 12, 1946, Maddon’s Bright Eyes was by Gold Mount, a palomino stallion who traced on the topside to Whisk Broom II and on the bottom to Old Fred and King Plaudit, a son of the winner of the 1898 Kentucky Derby. King Plaudit was also the sire of Maddon’s Bright Eyes’ dam, an apron-faced mare named Plaudette.

Maddon’s Bright Eyes produced four foals, Bright Bar by Three Bars (TB), Bright Red by Leo, Me Bright by Leo and Lady Bright Eyes by Leo. Of these, there were three starters, three winners, two stakes winners and two Register of Merit winners. They earned a combined total of $11,760.

Maddon’s Bright Eyes was euthanized in 1958 due to complications from an old racing injury. She was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1997.


Biography updated as of March 1997.