Even though Bob Kleberg, president of the King Ranch, bred horses for cow sense, speed and durability, he believed in using Thoroughbred blood as long as it was the right kind of Thoroughbred blood.
One of the Thoroughbreds he used was Depth Charge, a brown stallion bred by John D. Hertz of Hertz Rent-A-Car. Depth Charge (TB) was by Kentucky Derby winner Bold Venture out of Quickly by Haste.
As a 2-year-old, the brown colt was placed into training with Max Hirsch, who had also trained Bold Venture. The colt showed early promise as a runner.
Kleberg sent Depth Charge to Thoroughbred tracks to race. The stallion started four times as a 2-year-old, and placed in three of the four starts, but failed to win at 3 and 4. As a 5-year-old, Depth Charge won four races before starting his stud duties at the King Ranch’s Kentucky Thoroughbred farm.
In the stallion’s first crop of 2-year-olds, he sired six winners from 12 named foals, including stakes winner Encantadora and Reticule. Depth Charge’s 2-year-olds became extremely popular with racing stables because they often won early in their freshman year.
The stallion’s conformation led to his popularity with Quarter Horse men, as one old-timer described Depth Charge, “the smoothest, most well-muscled and best lookin’ son-of-a-gun you ever looked at.”
The stallion was often used as an outcross on Quarter Horse mares, producing 1952 World Champion Racehorse Johnny Dial and 1952 Champion Stallion Super Charge. Depth Charge also sired three-time champion gelding Brigand, who was registered as a Thoroughbred. Other well-known horses sired by Depth Charge were Tiny Charger, The Haymaker, Chudej’s Black Gold and Dividend.
Depth Charge died in 1965, and was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1991.
Biography updated as of March 1991.