SLM Big Daddy
Year Inducted: 2018
The horse with the great name who turned out to be a fan favorite and a superstar, SLM Big Daddy had extremely humble beginnings.
A homebred of Steve and Lindsey Mitchell of Brownwood, Texas, SLM Big Daddy was foaled in 1992. He was sired by Daddy Hold On from The Bulldogger mare Winds Of Victory. SLM Big Daddy took a while to live up to his showbiz-like name.
SLM Big Daddy toiled at the bottom of the racing world for his first two years of competition. He managed to win his first career race in his third start, a bottom-end maiden claiming event with a tag of $6,250. Triumphant by one length, his graduation to the ranks of winners came at Trinity Meadows west of Fort Worth.
After his 3-year-old season in 1995, trainer Don Mourning was out of options in trying to get SLM Big Daddy to excel. He approached the Mitchells, asking if they wanted a stallion or a racehorse. The decision was made to try and have a better racehorse, so SLM Big Daddy was gelded, making him a “Big Daddy” in name only. After the simple procedure, Mourning had a different horse, one that suddenly figured things out, and began to move up the racing ladder.
As a 4-year-old in 1996, SLM Big Daddy managed his first career stakes win in the Remington and Russell Handicap at Trinity Meadows. Later that fall, he won three straight races at the Woodlands in Kansas City, including a pair of stakes triumphs. His connections realized they had a blossoming talent.
As a 5-year-old, SLM Big Daddy and his team were at Remington Park for the first time, winning the three biggest races the track offered for older horses: the Eastex Handicap, the Remington Gold Cup and the Remington Park Championship. In the final two events, SLM Big Daddy beat 1995 World Champion Winalota Cash, laying claim to potential season-ending honors. Champion jockey Jacky Martin had taken over riding SLM Big Daddy, a horse he later claimed to be the best he ever raced.
Moving to Los Alamitos, SLM Big Daddy won the AQHA Challenge Championship and then the prestigious Champion of Champions. He would be voted the 1997 World Champion, completing an astounding rise to the top of the Quarter Horse racing world.
After winning the Eastex and Gold Cup again in 1998 at Remington Park, SLM Big Daddy settled for second in the Championship to Deposit Cash. He later rebounded to win his second straight Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos and was again voted the World Champion.
In 1999, SLM Big Daddy was celebrated with his own Beanie Doll-giveaway at Remington Park. Fans turned out by the thousands to get the doll and watch their favorite win his third straight Eastex Handicap. It would be the final career victory for SLM Big Daddy who was retired following a last-place finish in an attempt to win a third Champion of Champions.
SLM Big Daddy, won 24 of 49 career races, finishing second nine times and third in another seven races. He earned $1,013,550 in a story-book career, becoming a star at Remington Park and still a fan favorite to this day.