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Fred Hooper/Hooper Farm, Florida

Wild card wish here. My grandfather and Mr Hooper were good friends and that friendship birthed my passion for all things Thoroughbred. My dad took me to the barn at his Alabama farm when I was three and from that point on throughout my life horses have been my hobby, my sport, my sanity saver and my work.
Does anybody know where I might find.buy a memento from the Hooper Farm days? Saddle cloth, winners circle photo, anything with the Circle H? I know this is a way long shot, but I just watched Hoop Jr’s 1945 Derby win on youtube and thought COTH would at least be one place to ask. Thanks!

I don’t know, but if you find any sources, share? Lucky is out of a Hooper Farms mare, Copenqueen (one of what was probably one of Copelan’s last crops) and both she and my old OTTB’s dam, Justa Game, are descended from Greek Game and Olympia.


How lucky your grandpa knew Mr. Hooper! I’ve had great luck with two horses who resulted from his breeding program and now look for mares with that breeding–those I’d make room for if I could come by them.

Hi Danceronice - yes Mr Hooper bred some nice ones! I have a pic of myself leading Susan’s Girl around the property in 1980. When Mr Hooper had his farm in Alabama, and I was three, my dad took me to see the horses and that was my “light bulb moment”. The next year when my baby brother was on the way, and someone asked me what I wanted the baby to be, I said “a horse”! I saw on ebay a few years back someone selling some memorabilia from the farm in Ocala…and I wondered why the family didn’t get the stuff when Fred died. Me want.

Aw, I’d love to see that picture if you’re able to post it anywhere-that’s Lucky’s “great-grandma.”

This is his dam: http://www.equineline.com/Free-5X-Pedigree.cfm?page_state=ORDER_AND_CONFIRM&reference_number=1319929&registry=T&horse_name=Copenqueen&dam_name=Miami Queen&foaling_year=1991&nicking_stats_indicator=Y

She was actually bred by Hooper Farms. I’d love to find a picture of her, too, but haven’t seen one.

I actually worked for Mr Hooper nearly 25 years ago. I can remember one thing he didnt like and that was his horses being led with a shank run through the halter. He only wanted it snapped to the bottom ring of halter only, which of course, made it difficult at times controlling the horses. Time flies by too fast.

Wow Dahoss! Wasn’t he a great fellow! I have such memories of the farm here, and feel lucky to have been on the Ocala farm to play with Susan’s Girl and see Hoop Jrs grave.

Dancer, PM your email and I will scan and send the pic!

Yes Moonriver, Mr Hooper was a great man and horsemen. He truly cared deeply about his horses.

PM sent!

Da Hoss, that’s funny–one reason I noticed Lucky’s picture is he was standing on the backside with the shank just clipped to the bottom ring of his halter. I’ll put a shank on him now if he’s having one of those days that’s more up than forward, but he usually doesn’t need it.

Mr Hooper was a HORSEMAN, not just a man who owned horses. And he believed every horse was worthy of respect and kindness. He was a generous, friendly, unpretentious fellow and has been truly missed by friends and the racing community. I wish I could thank him for that visit 50 years ago that marked me for life!


I’ll say he liked to inbreed to Olympia–Copenqueen has him four times (Lucky ending up with three in the first five.) I’ve often wondered what I’d get from her or Lucky’s half-sister crossed on a racing QH stallion…

Thanks for the article, Flying Fox!

Thanks Flyingfox!

When I was about 13 my Dad bought a QH horse that had been one of Mr. Hooper’s lead ponies. The horse was a wonderful buckskin “horse of my dreams” type and we shared many fine hours together. At one point I wanted to know more about Buck’s history for a school paper and my dad encouraged me to write to Mr. Hooper. Dad knew him as Mr. Hooper had a huge Herford cattle ranch and Stockyard in Montgomery, Al and we were Angus cattle ranchers. My family sold many cows in that stockyard. Mr. Hooper wrote me the nicest letter with information about how my horse Buck, had traveled all over the country with racehorses and how important a good lead pony was to the success of a racehorse. It was a highlight of my youth.
Fast forward 40+ years and I meet Mr. Hooper at a FTBOA event in Ocala. He said he remembered that letter. Whether he did or not, he was very gracious to act like he did. Wish I still had that letter.

Mr Hooper

In the early 70’s I trained some horses bred by him. One was very fast, and won races after he had been brought back from retirement and being bred for 2 years, as his then owner wanted to see him race again. Among his accomplishments was running in both the Quarter Horse handicap at the New Mexico State Fair and 4 days later the Thoroughbred Handicap. His name was Real Petty and he won several races before re-retiring. He sired a few that won stakes races out West. He was either by Olympia or his dam was by Olympia.
Many years later I raced at Calder and was stabled next to Dave Braddy who trained for him. Fred was then into his '90’s and often came to the track to watch his horses train. Dave had a lot of horses for him, and I was wondering if he might not have an old saddle towel somewhere?

I trained some horses years back that were bred by him. One was VERY fast and won several races after having been retired and bred. His name was Real Petty. He actually sired a few good ones who won stakes out West. I brought him back into training as his then owner wanted to race him. Among his races was running in the Quarter Horse handicap at the New Mexico State Fair and 4 days later the Thorobred Handicap.
I raced at Calder years later when Dave Braddy trained for him and we were stabled next to them. I was wondering if–Dave might have an old saddle towel? They had a lot of horses and he trained for him for years. He was into his 90’s then, and still came to the track to watch his horses train.

Given Olympia outsprinted a champion quarter horse himself, I bet it was his or he was the damsire! I would think his descendants would cross really well on Appendix QHs…


Danceronice…you are right. Real Petty was by Royal Coinage, who was by Eight Thirty. He was out of Pettypie by Olympia. So he ignited when he ran. It was neat to have “been there” when all these influential sires were in the first generations.
I remember when Ross Fenstermaker trained for Mr Hooper…mainly in Calif. I was stabled at the Albuquerque Fairgrounds waiting for Turf Paradise to open. Ross had 15 or so babies that he was breaking for Hooper, by himself I might add. I had a great ponyhorse at the time, and helped him get them from the roundpen to the racetrack. Talk about some wild tbs! Yea, I’d say Hooper recognizes the value of a good (and tough) saddle horse!

It is sad that none of Mr hoopers grandkids care a whit about the TB. Sad that that dynasty was not carried forward.

Just wanted to pop into this thread and thank you all for sharing these stories and the link. I’ve really enjoyed reading it all.