March 1, 2012 Doha – Texas breeder, Todd Moak, was in Doha to check on TM Fred Texas, 2011 Darley Awards Horse of the Year, recently imported to Qatar.
Moak put the TM in Fred Texas. He bred this horse – with the Burning Sand try to catch me mentality. Now five, the promising colt Moak sold to Sam Vasquez as a three-year old, has matured into the leading US Arabian racing stallion.
The story is a good one, as Moak did not inherit his Arabian racing knowledge, but learned by doing. In the 1990’s Moak transported horses all over the United States. “I hauled everything over 300 days a year.” he said. He often transported race horses from track to track and remembers the first Arabian in his van. The fourth Arabian that made a trip with him was named Burning Sand, with an owner that insisted on driving in the cab to go along with the horse. During that first long ride Moak listened and absorbed some of the enthusiasm for the breed. He started to study statistics and came to know which bloodlines and horses were doing well at the game. He watched Burning Sand’s wins as he racked up five track records in the US.
Fast forward to October, 2004. Todd Moak made a bold purchase and bought one – half of Burning Sand partnered with Joe and Betty Gillis. In January, 2006, they gained full control. Burning Sand’s legend as a sire began in 2006 and he has been the leading US race horse sire every year since then.
This rest of this story cannot be told without speaking about Hannie Maasdijk, Manager of Al Shahania Stud in Doha, from 2005-2009.
“We bred for speed,” said Maasdijk. “I was always looking for the magic. I felt that if I could cross the top French bloodlines such as Manganate and Mandore with Burning Sand, we would have great speed. To diversify our bloodlines, I researched and found that Burning Sand was the top racing sire in the United States. At the time, we used Amer a lot. No one in the Middle East had used Burning Sand and we would be in front of the wave. The Sheikh agreed, and we started with 10 breedings for the 2006 season, five to mares in the UK, and five locally.”
Additionally, the stud purchased five Burning Sand daughters to use in their breeding program. The first young stock from this cross will soon start racing.
Maasdijk felt so strongly about the Burning Sand line that she has purchased her own mare, Atlal (Burning Sand x Gethaabah), now in training in the Netherlands.
Moak broadened the Burning Sand International connection when he sold other private breedings in Qatar, France, Holland, Israel, the UAE, and the United Kingdom,.
The Moaks, Todd and René, breed and raise many of their horses on their ranch in Warren, in southeast Texas. They have only raced two of the Burning Sand babies, preferring to make available to the racing community worldwide these great racing bloodlines. The Burning Sand horses in the US are continuing the legend. There are multiple stakes winners such as 2006, TM Super Bird (x Heaven Kan Wait), Darley Older Mare and 2011 Texas Arabian Breeders Association Mare of the Year; and TM Fred Texas’ full brother, 2008 Junior Johnson, leading US 4-year old colt.
Other horses now running are TM Burning Bridges (x Scarlet O Sara); TM Let It Be (x Spilled Perfume), full brother to Burning Perfume MKP, winner of the 2009 Grade 1 Daughters of the Desert Oaks and Leading 2009 4-year-old Filly. More young stock is available, some coming of racing age.
To bring in another cross to Qatar, Moak brokered the sale of the Racing Hall of Fame mare, Dixie Darlene by Wiking, whose dam, BW Ali Catt, came from the Bezatal line.
With race horses, there are good days and bad days in buying and racing, and Moak has had his share of success. One of many good purchases was Queen Kong, bought as a yearling as a racing prospect. He liked her so much that after he sold her, he bought her again. Why? Moak liked her French pedigree (Kong x Sahara Croixnoire) and her conformation. “I liked her deep heart girth and the way her croup drops,” said Moak. The TM Fred Texas dam cross has been so successful that Moak agreed to sell her to Qatar to use with Burning Sand and other stallions.
While in Qatar, I visited Al Shahania Stud with Todd and René, hosted by Assistant Manager, Deryle Duncan. Out of the 160 head now at the Stud, there are a number of Burning Sand babies getting ready to start their racing careers. The Moaks were able to bask in glory that evening with Al Shahania as they watched Harran (Burning Sand x Aziza D’Aroco) win the Qatar International Trophy at the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club.
There is a life thread to follow in the story of Burning Sand. Moak first learned of Burning Sand when he transported him to Delaware. He remembers that this was his fourth Arabian horse. Later the first wager Moak ever made was on an Arabian, and that horse won by 16 lengths. In 1990 Moak parlayed the winnings into the purchase of his first Arabian, Time To Go. Later he purchased the horse that had started him on the new and exciting road – the horse that would be the leading US race sire of Arabians for seven years. That horse was Burning Sand.
Partial list of Burning Sand mares at Al Shahania
Cath (x Hailianna)
TM La Belle Proper (x Heaven Kan Wait)
The Wright Stuff (x Revlar Jezebel)
Sanditiki (x Tiki Destiny)
Up and Coming
Two year old
Beelsan x Gethaabah)