Ed and Mary Johnson established Valley Farm, in 2010, but Quarter Horses have been part of Ed's life for a much longer time.
"I had the privilege of managing the great Go Man Go for three years when (AQHA Hall of Fame member) Harriett Peckham owned him," Johnson said. "Go Man Go is the best of all the great horses I've been around."
Johnson had a St Bar filly named Choir that qualified to the 1978 Golden State Futurity at Los Alamitos.
"We flew in Jerry Nicodemus to ride her in the final," he recalled final. "We didn't win the final, but I'm looking at her photo right now."
For 30 years, Ed did not own racehorses, but that love bug always remained. When the Johnsons started purchasing a few Quarter Horses a couple of years ago, they purchased their farm West of Fort Worth, Texas.
Valley Farm is now back in the spotlight in Southern California, as they’ll be represented by the talented Indie Anna in Sunday’s fourth race, the $106,750 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes. The Jess Zoomin filly posted the third fastest qualifying time of :17.826 when she broke her maiden in the trials on January 29 when facing PCQHRA Breeders Futurity finalist Better Check Him Out. Erasmo Gasca will ride Indie Anna for trainer Jose Flores from the outside post number nine. Valley Farm had previously enjoyed being part of the stakes action at Los Alamitos with the royally-bred runner Harems Last Dash.
"With Frank 'Scoop' Vessels and partners, we raced Southern California Derby winner Harems Last Dash," Johnson said. "The collective partners sold Harems Last Dash to George and Judy Weldon, who were also partners, after his racing career. We currently have five broodmares at the farm that we breed to outside stallions. We have one baby, a filly that was recently born by Favorite Cartel out of a daughter of Babe On The Fly named Desert Passage. That makes our filly a three-quarter sister to Little Talks."
Little Talks won the Golden State Million Futurity in 2015 and the PCQHRA Breeders Derby in 2016.
"We breed and raise our babies to sell, but we ended up keeping Indie Anna so we raced her," he added. "We named Indie Anna after Indigo Illusion, who is her great-granddam on both sides of the pedigree."
A superstar in the early 1980s, Indigo Illusion earned over $867,000 on the racetrack and won the Faberge Special Effort Futurity, Rainbow Derby and Vessels Maturity and twice participated in the Champion of Champions, finishing third and fourth in those appearances.
"(Indigo Illusion) won many stakes at Los Alamitos and other places, and was a champion," Johnson added. "There’s lots of Beduino in Indie Anna. I'm a pedigree wonk. It may not mean anything, but we're hoping it will play out."
Flores is also excited to see Indie Anna in action on Sunday night. “We've brought this filly along slowly and Valley Farm have been supportive and very patient with me," Flores said. "They told me to take my time with her and do things as needed. Some horses need more time to mature and become better racehorses. Indie Anna has been one of those horses and I really appreciate the owner's patience. She looked really good in the trials."
Valley Farm will be worth watching at Los Alamitos in 2017. "We'll have some 2-year-olds at Los Alamitos this year for the trials to the Golden State Million and Los Alamitos Two Million," Johnson added.