Shue Fly

Shue Fly

Inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.

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Shue Fly was one of the best racing horses in AQHA history, being one of only three Quarter Horses to ever win three world championships.

The sorrel mare was foaled in 1937, but her breeding remains a controversy.  Her AQHA pedigree shows she was by Cowboy P-12 and out of Lady Luck by Booger Red.  Many involved in Quarter Horse racing in the early years had an unshakable belief that Shue Fly was actually sired by a Thoroughbred named Erskine Dale, and was out of the Quarter racing mare Nancy M by Peter McCue.

There was no doubt though that the mare had great speed on the racetrack.  Shue Fly was known for her ability to come from behind and win the race.  Many believed she was either toying with the competition or just ran as fast as she deemed necessary.

Her most memorable race took place on March 15, 1942, at the World Championship Quarter Mile Race at Rillito racetrack in Tucson, Arizona.  Many knew that no horse was conceded a chance to outrun the mare unless she fell.

As Shue Fly broke, she was startled when owner Bob Burris whacked her on the hip with his hat.  She over-jumped and fell to her knees.  Jockey Hank Laswell slid up on her neck.  By the time she regained her feet, she was seven lengths behind.  On a quarter-mile track, seven lengths could seem like an eternity.

The crowd began to cheer Shue Fly on.  She began running and became a sorrel streak of lightning.  Many would have sworn she was too far back to make it.  She not only caught up to them, but also passed the lead horse, Nobody’s Friend, to win by a nose.

That afternoon, Hall of Fame member Elmer Hepler bought the sorrel mare for $3,000.  He raced her for several more years and began breeding her in 1948.  Only four of her foals survived to maturity and three went on to race.  Those three were Little Fly, La Mosquita and Royal Charge, son of Hall of Fame member Depth Charge (TB).

Shue Fly died in 1963 at 26.  She was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.


Biography updated as of March 2005.