BAY EL BEY: THE KINGMAKER
by Arlene Magid
Once in a great while there comes a stallion so prepotent that his influence on his breed can be seen many generations later, a stallion who stamps his descendants with a distinctive look all his own. Such a stallion is rare and wondrous...and such a horse was Bay El Bey, who was laid to rest at the farm where he was born, Varian Arabians, on November 25, 1996.
Bay El Bey's impact was aptly described by film producer and Arabian owner Mike Nichols: "Bay El Bey changed the Arabian horse in America and then in the rest of the world. He put on long, arched necks that are set on very high. His special combination of intelligence, disposition, size, motion, and type redefined the horses we are breeding. Through his three great sons, Huckleberry Bey, Bey Shah, and Barbary, three great horses who made very different contributions, Bay El Bey has created the Arabian of today. He is not gone and will never be forgotten."
Bay El Bey was foaled on
April 26, 1969, bred by
the master breeder Sheila
Varian. His parents were
illustrious: his sire, Bay
Abi, a U.S. National Champion Stallion and U.S. Top Ten English Pleasure and Western Pleasure winner. Bay Abi's first national winners won their titles in the year of Bay El Bey's birth, and Bay Abi's final tally of national winning offspring is 24. Bay El Bey's dam *Naganka had been imported from Poland in 1961 by Sheila, and she produced four champions, three of them national winners including Bay El Bey's full brother Mikado, a U.S. National Park Champion and sire of national champions in english pleasure and park.
Bay El Bey's show career was stellar. He had eight national wins in halter, including 1977 Canadian National Champion Stallion and 1974 and 1976 U.S. Reserve National Champion Stallion. He was also a successful english pleasure horse, and was named the 1976 Region 2 English Pleasure Champion. He was awarded the prestigious Legion of Merit award in 1976.
Bay El Bey's career as a sire began when he was two, and as a five year old he was leased to Lasma Arabians in exchange for the *Bask son Hask, who was used at Varian Arabians. Bay El Bey was leased once more, to Rohara Arabians in 1984, where he sired several national winners out of daughters of Ivanhoe Tsultan. While at Rohara, Bay El Bey became sterile, and returned to Varian Arabians to enjoy the achievements of his descendants. His last registered get were born in 1985, when he was 16. Bay El Bey sired a total of 441 registered foals, of which 96 are champions and 34 have won national titles.
Bay El Bey's legendary record as a sire is based on his gift for siring breeding stallions. The three most famous are U.S. Reserve National Champion Futurity Colt and English Pleasure Huckleberry Bey (a Varian sire till his death in December 1992), U.S. Reserve National Champion Stallion Bey Shah, and Canadian Reserve National Champion Park Barbary(who has a total of seven national titles). Between them these three stallions have sired 206 national winners through 1996. Their get and grandget are producing national winners as well. Don Severa owns the Huckleberry Bey son Desperado V, who was the most popular stallion in America in 1994, as he sired more registered 1995 get than any other sire. According to Don, "The 'Kingmaker' says only a fraction about the achievements of this great Arabian stallion. It is not uncommon for the top ten winners of virtually any horse show class in America today (including National shows) to find a majority of the horses with Bay El Bey in their pedigrees. These horses are not bound by 'strictly halter' or 'strictly performance' careers, but are setting the standards for the often touted, yet very elusive title of a truly 'versatile Arabian'. As the owner of the Bay El Bey grandson, Desperado V, I am keenly aware of this gift Bay El Bey has given us in the ability to breed on (with strength) the beauty, type, conformation and athleticism. Bay El Bey has not only made his mark within his lifetime, but will continue through his descendants to influence the breed in a way that is without precedent."
Don's point about Bay El Bey's overall influence is well taken, as a total of 253 national winners are his direct grandget through 1996. Of the 1996 U.S. and Canadian National Leading Halter Sires, five of the ten trace to Bay El Bey, as do five of the ten Leading Halter and Performance sires. Bay El Bey is the grandsire of U.S. National Champion Stallions Fame VF and Kharben, of U.S. National Champion Mares Shahteyna, Bey Teyna, and Gaishea, of U.S. National English Pleasure Champions Chez and Hucklebey Berry (the latter is the only horse to win that title multiple times), of Canadian National Champion Mare Keepsake V, etc.
Barbara Rosado, co-owner of Bey Shah, appreciates the influence of Bay El Bey as well. She states "Bay El Bey has made a significant contribution to the Arabian breed and I feel certain that we will see the legacy continue through many generations. He was an incredible show horse and surpassed expectations as a breeding sire. The Bay El Bey line has consistently produced charisma, athleticism, size, and a special quality that is difficult to define in words. I am never surprised when I see a horse that really interests me that Bay El Bey appears somewhere in the pedigree. I am personally very cognizant, as well as grateful, of all that Bay El Bey has contributed to my own breeding program. Bey Shah is the most incredible stallion, not only as a breeding sire, but as an individual who touches my soul."
One of the truest tests of the prepotency and innate quality of a breeding stallion is whether he can be linebred successfully. Bay El Bey linebreeding is producing some of today's most exciting show and breeding horses. The 1994 U.S. National Champion Mare Aalusive Bey is double Bay El Bey, as she is by his grandson JK Amadeus out of his granddaughter CA Shahara Zam. 1995 Canadian Reserve National Champion Stallion and national winner sire Star Of Fame V is by the Bay El Bey grandson Fame VF out of the Huckleberry Bey daughter Sweet Illusion V. His full brother, Santa Fe V, was named the 1996 U.S. and Canadian National Western Pleasure Junior Horse Reserve Champion. Also of the Huckleberry Bey/Bey Shah combination are 1995 U.S. National Champion Sweepstakes Colt Desert Heat VF (by Fame VF out of a Huckleberry Bey daughter), 1996 Canadian Reserve National Champion Futurity Colt Shah El Bey (by Huckleberry Bey out of a Bey Shah daughter), 1996 Canadian Top Ten Country Pleasure Junior Horse What The Huck (by Huckleberry Bey out of a Bey Shah daughter), and 1996 U.S. National Western Pleasure Champion Magination V(by Fame VF out of a Huckleberry Bey daughter). Another recent national champion who is linebred to Bay El Bey is 1996 Canadian Reserve National Champion Mare AOTH and Top Ten Mare Midnight Lace V (who is by Desperado V out of the Bay El Bey daughter Marigold V).
Bay El Bey has been compared in overall influence on the breed to the two other greatest stallions of this century: Skowronek, who had a mere handful of get in comparison, and *Bask, who had more than twice as many get. It is interesting to note that *Bask's top siring son in number of national winners sired 29 national winners, whereas Bay El Bey has three sons who have sired over 40 national titleists apiece. Greg Gallun of Ventura Farms sums up the Bay El Bey impact best: "Bay El Bey has had the profoundest effect on the modern Arabian horse. His get and their respective get will continue to dominate both the show arena as well as untold numbers of breeding farms for decades to come. His accomplishments can only be enjoyed by himself and *Bask."