Peter McCue’s name rings a bell with anyone slightly knowledgeable about Quarter Horse history. Though controversy surrounded the sire of Peter McCue, the dark bay stallion left no doubt that he was one of AQHA’s founding sires.
The stallion was foaled February 23, 1895, on the Little Grove Stock Farm, in Petersburg, Illinois.
Peter McCue was by Dan Tucker and out of Nora M (TB). However, Sam Watkins, the bay’s owner, listed Duke Of The Highlands (TB) as Peter McCue’s sire so the colt could run in recognized races. When Peter McCue turned 2, Watkins leased the stallion to a nephew, Charles Watkins, who placed the horse in race training. In 1897, the stallion made it to the track, recording eight wins at distances ranging from a half mile to 4 ½ furlongs.
Milo Burlingame rode Peter McCue during a meet in St. Louis. In an interview in the late 1940s, Burlingame said, “I never saw him raced with horses that could make him straighten his neck out,” and later, “I was just a kid then, but I swore I would own that horse some day.”
Watkins stood Peter McCue until 1907 when John Wilkins of San Antonio, Texas, purchased him.
All of these men owed the success of their breeding programs to Peter McCue. Though only 44 of his get were registered with AQHA, they represent some of the greatest foundation sires in the breed.
Among his sons were Harmon Baker, Buck Thomas, A D Reed, Badger, Old Red Buck, Chief, Jack McCue, John Wilkins and Hickory Bill. The list becomes even more impressive with his grandsons: Old Sorrel, Joe Hancock, Nick, Midnight and Barney Owens.
Peter McCue was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1991.
Biography updated as of March 1991.