It Takes a “Special Effort” to Win the Triple Crown of Quarter Horse Racing

Thursday, June 28, 2018 - 12:30pm
Katelin Simonson
It Takes a “Special Effort” to Win the Triple Crown of Quarter Horse Racing


As we approach the second leg of the “Race to Riches” Triple Crown of Quarter Horse racing series in Ruidoso, New Mexico, the Rainbow Trials, it is important that we remember and commemorate the sole Quarter horse Triple Crown winner, Special Effort.

In 1981, Special Effort became the second horse, joining Tiny’s Gay, to win both the first and second races of the Triple Crown of Quarter Horse racing series, as well as the first horse to take home the Triple Crown of Quarter Horse racing after winning the final leg, the All American Futurity final. This special quarter horse has remained the sole bearer of the Triple Crown to this day. What an accomplishment!

Special Effort was foaled in 1979, bred by Allen and Jeanette Moehrig in Seguin, Texas. From the beginning, his bloodline and stature foreshadowed his racing success, and he was sold as a two-year-old to Dan and Jolene Urschel the day before the Kansas Futurity. The Urschel’s were quite impressed with his time in the Kansas Trials and purchased the horse for $1 million. With them, he continued his two-year-old career, racing in the Kansas Futurity the very next day. The purchase was a huge gamble for the couple, but they remained faithful that he would perform, and boy, did he! In 1981, this Triple Crown series consisted of the Kansas Futurity, the Rainbow Futurity and the All-American Futurity, along with three trial races for each. Special Effort was able to pull a win in all three of the futurity races, becoming the first two-year-old quarter horse to win over $1 million in purse money!

In the Kansas Futurity, Special Effort won the race with a time of 18.13 seconds. Next, he dashed through the Rainbow Trials, winning by six lengths, and the Rainbow Futurity, which he won by a length and a half. Winning the first two legs was an accomplishment all of its own, as he was only the second Quarter horse to do so. Next, on a rainy afternoon at the All-American Futurity, Special Effort pulled off another exciting win at Ruidoso Downs, making him the first quarter horse to ever win the All-American Triple Crown. With nine undefeated races, he became the second millionaire of the sport and proved that the Urschel’s made no mistake in betting on his speed! Due to his success, he was awarded World Champion and Champion two-year-old colt after his first season.

Special Effort’s three-year-old season looked very much like his two-year-old season, continuing his undefeated streak, until his 13th race, which was the All-American Derby, where he finished third. This race concluded his career entirely, and he retired with more than $1.2 million in earnings and the only Triple Crown of Quarter Horse racing winner.
After his career end, Special Effort had bred and bore many successful race horses, such as EasyGo Effort and Special Leader. The “special” Quarter horse died in 2006 at the 6666 Ranch, where he is also buried, at the age of 27, but his legacy lives on as we continue to remember his outstanding abilities.

  PC: 6666 Ranch

RIDE TV will be traveling to Ruidoso Downs, a historic racetrack in New Mexico, on July 6th-8th to bring you LIVE coverage of the 2018 Rainbow Trials only on RIDE TV GO! Blue Corazon shined in both the Ruidoso Trials and the Ruidoso Futurity, winning both races. Could he be the next quarter horse to win the Triple Crown of Quarter Horse racing? He sure is off to an impressive start! Tune in with us LIVE on RIDE TV GO during the Rainbow Trials to cheer on Blue Corazon and many other talented Quarter horses. We could bear witness to another historical Triple Crown winner in the making!


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