Percherons from all across the country converged upon the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Monday August 12th, 2019 for the chance to be crowned the final National Champion Percherons of the decade, at the 2019 National Percheron Show. Pictured is the famous Percheron stallion, Blackhome Duke, who was himself a National Champion in 1985, as a two year old. He was bred by Reg Black of Blackhome Percherons and owned/exhibited by Abraham Allebach of Windermere Farms.
The following year, Duke was named the Reserve World Champion Stallion at the 1986 World Percheron Congress, by judge Wayne Light. Blackhome Duke was a genetic giant, descending from the very heart of Reg Black's foundation at Blackhome Percherons of Hillsburgh, Ontario. His mother, Blackhome Carrie Doll, and his sire, Blackhome Donnet Lyn, were half siblings- both sired by Rolling Acres Leonet. The line bred stallion would go on to produce a great number of champion offspring, including numerous National Champions and All Americans that became household names in the Percheron industry, and some surmise it was his close lineage that helped him to produce with such consistency. Duke helped to usher in an era of Percherons which possessed his stamps of presence, tremendous quality of foot and bone, and athleticism on all four corners. His sons, Windsong's Gambler (a 4 time All American) and Windermere's King Cong (a 2 time All American and Premier Sire), would follow in their sire's footsteps and achieve their own titles as National Champions. King Cong would go on to sire numerous National Champions, as well as 3 World Champions (Skip’s Challenger, BP Platinum, Madison). Likewise, Windsong’s Gambler sired several All Americans, including the 6-time All American and World Champion mare, Windsong’s Jasmine. A three-time All American son of Duke named Blue Ribbon Farms Hercules was crowned National Champion in 2001, and then went on to become World Champion in 2002. Duke also sired other notable, champion sons out of the well-known mare, Marissa Laet; including the 2 time All American Windermere's Blackout, the All American Windermere's King Arthur, and the 2 time Reserve All American Windermere's Goliath.
As successful as so many of Duke’s sons were, (both on the tanbark and in the breeding barn), his daughters were perhaps even more prolific. His All American daughter, Hazelwood's Lady's Lynda, produced the popular Hazelwood's Lynda's Bravo, an All American stallion who garnered a price tag of $42,000, as a 12 year old, at the 2011 Mid America Draft Horse Sale. Bravo is the sire of the All American and record-selling Percheron mare, Bittersweet Unexpected Surprise ($89,000). Another Duke daughter, Northwood's Starlight Nicole, became the dam to a World Champion in 1998 when her son, Pleasant View King was given the high honor that year in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. King requires little introduction in the Percheron breed, as he has sired numerous All-Americans and sale-topping offspring.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s Blackhome Duke truly hit his stride as a sire, when he was crossed on the band of broodmares residing at Windermere Farms. It was during this era that Windermere Farms began retaining his daughters in order to propel their breeding program into 21st century. The two-time All American and National champion Duke daughter, Windermere’s Joy, would go on to produce the Reserve All American stallion, Windermere’s Just Incredible, (sired by Justa Classic). Just Incredible was not utilized extensively, however he left several sons that would prove to contribute to the breed. Perhaps the most prolific of which is Windermere’s Eliminator, the All American and 2004 Jr World Champion Stallion who went on to sire numerous All Americans, himself. Joy’s full sister, Windermere’s Jeanette, was also an All American, and she is the dam of the 2004 World Champion Gelding, Windermere’s Komet, (sired by M.G.’s Black Diamond). Jeanette is also the dam to Windermere’s Just In Step, who sired an All American daughter campaigned extensively by Anderson Farms and reportedly one of Robert Detweiler’s favorite mares of all time; the well-known, River Oak Miss Sapphire. The four time All American, Windermere’s Cassandra, produced a World Champion in her son, Windermere’s Inferno (Toronto 2008), as well raising the 2007 All American yearling stallion by Windermere’s Eliminator, named Windermere’s Evangelist. Cassandra was a full sister to Windermere King Cong, and another full sibling (who never saw a show ring) was Windermere’s Katrina. Katrina made her mark in the brood mare pasture, foaling the All Americans Windermere’s Desire (by Windermere’s Just Incredible) and Windermere’s Victoria (By M.G.’s Black Diamond). Last, but not least, is the Duke mare Windermere’s Tayler Maid, a daughter of the McGee mare M.G.’s Bobbie Mcgee, bred by the Art Bast Family. Tayler Maid was a two-time All American and the 1995 Jr. World Champion Mare at the Kansas City, MO World Percheron Congress. However, she is best known as the dam of 2010 Supreme World Champion, the 19hh stallion, Windermere’s North American Maid (aka “Moose”). Moose was a son of the aforementioned Windermere’s Eliminator. Even with limited usage, Moose solidified his influence on the breed, becoming the sire of multiple National Champions, as well as several All American offspring.
The winning ways of the Blackhome Duke sons and daughters allowed him to dominate the Premier Percheron sire list for 9 consecutive years. The profound consistency of Duke’s production record has established him as one of the most prolific Percheron stallions of the past several decades. His sons and daughters have carried on in their sire’s footsteps, producing many All Americans, National, and World Champions which have served to cultivate a course for the modern Percheron. As a result, traces of this stallion can be found in a large portion of Percheron pedigrees today, and a keen-eyed breeder will still be able to appreciate the influence of his characteristic balance, style and presence that bleeds through yet today. Blackhome Duke’s production record has proven him to be a very equal peer to some of the greatest sires in the history of the breed, and he will be undoubtedly remembered as such for generations to come.
Below is a list of Blackhome Duke offspring finishing within the top 3 placings on the All American List:
-1. Blue Ribbon Farms Duke’s Echo (1992 1st Honorable Mention) --2. Blue Ribbons Farms Duke’s Image (1995 & 1996 1st Honorable Mention) 3. Blue Ribbon Farms Hercules (1995 Res. All American; 1996, 2001 & 2002 All American) -4. Hazelwood’s Lady’s Lynda (1988 All American, 1989 Res. All American) -5. Jessim’s Duke Cloud (1995 Res. All American) -6. Windermere’s Blackout (1994 & 1995 All American, 1996 & 1997 Res. All American) -7. Windermere’s Cassandra (1994, 1995, 1996 & 1997 All American) -8. Windermere’s Duke’s Exclamation (2001 Res. All American) -9. Windermere’s Goliath (1995 & 1999 Res. All American; 1997 1st Honorable Mention) -10. Windermere’s Intruder (1993 All American) -11. Windermere’s Jeanette (1990 All American) -12. Windermere’s Jess (1990 Res. All American) -13. Windermere’s Joy (1989 & 1990 All American; 1991 & 1994 Res. All American) -14. Windermere’s King Arthur (1994 All American) 15. Windermere King Cong (1993 & 1998 All American; 1996 Res. All American) -16. Windermere’s Laddy (1988 & 1989 All American) -17. Windermere’s Limited Edition (1996 All American) -18. Windermere’s Queen For A Day (1989 All American) -19. Windermere’s Tayler Maid (1995 &1998 All American; 1994 Res. All American; 1996 & 1997 1st Honorable Mention) -20. Windsong’s Gambler (1990, 1991, 1992 & 1993 All American)