Second Career Star: Spit Curl Brown

Second Career Star: Spit Curl Brown

This off-track Quarter Horse is now a world champion barrel racer.

second career star spit curl brown runs barrels

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By Andrea Caudill

He was bred to be fast – and he is fast. Spit Curl Brown is a 2009 brown gelding bred for explosive acceleration, and he has found his place as a world champion barrel racer with his owner Lisa F. Murray of Loxahatchee, Florida. 

Spit Curl Brown was bred by Fletcher Huskey of Poolville, Texas, who also bred the likes of champion Illegal Memories ($717,182) and the Grade 1-placed runner Vital Winner ($457,393). 

The brown gelding is sired by Spit Curl Jess and out of the Royal Shake Em mare Mrs Gray. His sire has gotten the earners of more than $6 million, led by champion and producer Spit Curl Diva. His dam has produced the earners of more than $150,000, led by Jess For You (by Jesse James Jr, $67,643). 

Spit Curl Brown began racing in 2011, and over 17 career starts competed at five racetracks around the nation. He won or placed in five of those starts, earning $11,160. He finished his racing career at Hialeah Park in 2013. 

Agent LaVerne Fein has a flair for matchmaking racing Quarter Horses to the perfect home off the racetrack, and pairing Lisa and “Diesel” was no different. Lisa had agreed to buy him when his racing career was over, and even got to watch his final race at Hialeah Park. She brought him home and gave him time to relax before introducing him to barrel racing and seeing him thrive in his new career. 

“He leads a really good life, he’s really happy,” Lisa says. “I have three off-the-track Quarter Horses in my barn, and he happens to be my pride and joy. I really believe in giving these guys a second chance at a career. I don’t know what else to say, he’s just been amazing.”

Diesel has won a lot in barrel racing, including multiple world titles through the National Barrel Horse Association and Top 10s through the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association competition with Lisa at the reins. The horse has won approximately $30,000 in barrel competition. 

In recent years, he has taken on an even more important job – that of a youth horse, as Lisa’s son, Bryce, 13, is swinging aboard and finding the winner’s slot himself. 

“Bryce is kind of stealing him from me now,” she says with a laugh. “Bryce has done exceptionally well with him.”

The teenager has been working his way up and has committed himself to working with barrel horses, going so far as to give up baseball to pursue barrel racing. He’s worked with other horses, including off-track Quarter Horses, and participated in Lance Graves’ LG Legacy Project, which mentors youth and off-track Quarter Horses. 

Lisa describes their horse as a ham and a goofball, who nickers when they come into the barn, enjoys attention and is just full of personality. When it is time to work, though, the goofing ends.

“In the barrel races, he’s all business,” Lisa says. “He knows his job. He knows my name for sure – when they call my name ‘Lisa Murray next up’ – he knows we’re next and he’s going in all business. I really think he likes his job, he likes his second career.” 

Spit Curl Brown was bred to be fast, and carries the kindness and willingness that exemplifies his breed as well. 

“He’s been a true blessing,” Lisa says. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got an off-the-track horse, I’m thinking I’m going to get this fire-breathing dragon. And honestly, at first, he kinda was a little bit, they can be a little hot coming off the track, but now I love it because it’s something special about him.

“That heart, that desire in him, that want to go out and win. It’s that winner’s heart. That heart of a lion. The heart of a champion. That’s what they were bred for, and when you have that opportunity to use it to do something fun, to do something different as a second career. Diesel has a forever home here, because not only did I take him so far, but now my kid gets to take him.”  

Second Career Stars is an ongoing series on retired racing American Quarter Horses in new careers. If you know of a horse that should be featured, write to acaudill@aqha.org. AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqha.com/racing.