This January, the AQHA named Johnny and Jana Trotter’s 2012 Bodacious Eagle the 2018 World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse. Trotter, who owns Ruidoso Downs—home to Troy Shelley’s WSTR Qualifiers—purchased the horse in embryo and has hopes of turning his nearly $1.3 million-earner into his future rope horse.
“He’s one of the smartest horses I’ve ever been around,” Trotter said. “Anything we’ve ever asked of him, he’s tried really hard to do. If you don’t know racing, it’s hard to understand his accomplishments, but his success—even as a 2-year-old—was really something.”
The 15.3-hand, 7-year-old sorrel gelding, bred from a heavy lineup of champion horses on both sides (One Famous Eagle — Bodacious Dream, by Corona Cartel), including AQHA Hall of Fame mare Dashing Phoebe, earned $453,600 across his seven starts in 2018 alone, in all of which he either won or placed. The year culminated in a thrilling wire-to-wire win at Los Alamitos’s Champion of Champions G1 race, sealing his fate as the year’s recognized champion.
A few weeks later, Bodacious Eagle found himself in Texas under the tutelage of Trotter’s friend Ross Roark, where Roark began exploring which other arenas hold potential for the horse. By March, Roark entered Bodacious Eagle in his first horse show in Amarillo, where the haltered rookie swept the competition, earning himself Overall Open Grand Champion Gelding in the Open Performance Geldings and a qualification for November’s Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. Trotter, who told the The Team Roping Journal in 2018 just how much he enjoyed this horse and his intelligence, was himself named the AQHA’s 2018 Champion Owner.
For now, Bodacious Eagle needs some time to adjust out of being a racehorse (Trotter estimates the horse has already filled out to a solid 1,400 pounds since coming off the track), but, based on his record, in short time, he may also be the racehorse-turned-rope-horse to watch.