Year Inducted: 2012
An Oklahoma-bred owned by Oscar Cox of Lawton, Oklahoma, Josie’s Bar hails from yesteryear. It was a time when the American Quarter Horse Association had just begun honoring divisional champions on a yearly basis. It was also an era when punctuation was still acceptable in a Quarter Horse’s name.
A 1951 foal by the AQHA Hall of Fame Thoroughbred sire Three Bars from the Raffles (tb) mare Josephine R, Josie’s Bar flashed her talent as soon as she reached the racetrack in 1953. In her 2-year-old season, she won three of her six starts with a pair of third-place runs. The initial year of racing was simply a tune-up for something spectacular in her 3-year-old season.
In 11 racing attempts in 1954, Josie’s Bar did the same thing in every race… she won. On top of that extremely difficult task, she usually won with flair, setting or equaling track records in seven of those 11 victories.
Josie’s Bar set three track records at Los Alamitos in southern California, at the distances of 350 yards, 400 yards and 440 yards. At Garfield Downs in Enid, she set the standard for 400 yards. In Colorado at Centennial Park, she matched the marks for both 400 and 440 yards. While in northern California she equaled the 400-yard clocking at Bay Meadows.
It wasn’t just her ability and speed that left fans and horsemen in awe, it was who Josie’s Bar was defeating during her super-year of 1954. AQHA champions and Hall of Famers such as Black Easter Bunny, Moon Deck, Pokey Vandy and Miss Meyers, were in the racing wake of Josie’s Bar.
Coupled with her three victories at the end of her 2-year-old season, the 11 triumphs as a 3-year-old gave Josie’s Bar an astounding 14 consecutive wins, in five different states, by the time 1954 came to a close. Her streak and perfect year led voters to the easy selection of awarding Josie’s Bar the AQHA World Champion, in addition to her winning the division honor as Champion 3-year-old filly and Champion Mare.
As quickly as she took the racing scene with such dominating force in 1954, Josie’s Bar would leave the scene with a whimper. She would not come close to her on-track success ever again, failing to win any of her five starts over the next two years.
Josie’s Bar moved from the track to a new career as a broodmare where she enjoyed notoriety and success. In 1961, Josie’s Bar was bred to three-time World Champion (1955-57) Go Man Go and the match produced the filly Go Josie Go a year later.
Go Josie Go would win 19 of her 38 career starts. In 1965, Go Josie Go won 12 of 19 races with five seconds and a third, winning a trio of major stakes events at Los Alamitos. The season would earn Go Josie Go the AQHA World Champion title, receiving the sport’s highest honor just as her mother Josie’s Bar had 11 years earlier.