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|Our Loft > Zazueta Auction > Reference birds|
Recently, we auctioned
a number of birds of the Zazueta loft as we merged our recent purchase
of that loft with our own birds. Because of numerous inquiries not only
before and during but continuing well after the auction, we are continuing
to make available this information about the lineage of those birds.
The earliest beginnings - HANK VERNAZZA
There were other birds that probably should be mentioned, but these are most of the key early breeders in the family and should give you a good idea of what the true make-up of the original Vernazza pigeons were. As Hank Vernazza has said, “Probably 80% of my blood was Janssen, but without the other additions, this family could not have accomplished what it did.”
Armand Zazueta took over the birds from Hank Vernazza in 1986. “180” was in her twilight, but she still did produce a few impact birds for Armand, even as an old hen. Following is a list of the reference birds of Armand’s loft. You should take note how these two masters of the game bred their pigeons. Hank used basic Janssen stock and introduced several key long distance pigeons to get the tenacity and distance ability into the birds. Armand has taken the Vernazza birds and introduced a little more speed through the use of a few very select, but key introductions. By now the reader should realize that these pigeons were never “pure” Janssens and it would be folly to think that the family could have accomplished the great feats that it has if only Janssen blood had been used. It would also be folly to ignore the fact the “core” pigeons were Janssens and the “core” was always kept intact through constant line-breeding. Armand and Hank were both shrewd, masterful breeders, although neither one will ever be caught boasting of their abilities in that arena.
A) AU 76 MTZ 180 Blue hen. “The 180 Hen”. (see reference pic). Since she was the later-day foundation pigeon of the Vernazza loft, and Armand took over the birds, she naturally became the foundation pigeon of Armand’s loft too. So prepotent was her genetic makeup that she is in the pedigree of literally every bird in the loft today.
AU 80 SJ 136 Blue Slate Hen. “Hank’s Dream” (see
reference pic). Transferred from Hank to Armand. This hen was a
super racer for Hank and became one of the all time best breeders in
Armand’s loft. She was a grand daughter of “180” on her sire’s side
and her dam was a Durkin hen. Her usual mate was 81 MTZ 4199 who was
a direct son of “180”. They produced “Dora-Z”, 84 MTZ 1160 Blue Hen
(see ref E) the hen that has to be considered the modern foundation
bird of the Zazueta lofts.
C) AU 81 MTZ 4199 Mealy Cock. “4199”. Direct son of “180”. This cock was paired to “Hank’s Dream”, 80 SJ 136 (ref B), to produce “Dora-Z” (ref E), “Nana Adella-Z” (ref G) and 1679 (ref F) all of which were important breeding pigeons in the Zazueta lofts. He was such a prolific breeder that he is in the pedigree of most of the modern Zazueta birds. Unfortunately, he was killed by a hawk before Armand could have him photographed.
D) AU 81 MTZ 299 Mealy Hen. “Hank’s Love”. (see ref pic). Great distance racer. This hen is, to this day, the only pigeon in the Bay Cities Combine ever to fly the treacherous Salt Lake City, Utah station, 600 miles, on day of toss. A direct daughter of “180”, she was also a full sister to “4199” (ref C above) and a prolific breeder in her own right. Her genes are present throughout the present day family.
E) AU 84 MTZ 1160 Blue Hen. “Dora-Z”. (see ref pic) Daughter of “4199” & “136” (ref D & C). This bird became the foundation hen of Armand Zazueta’s loft. She was the dam of “Zeke” and “The Animal” who were two of the best long distance cocks in Armand Zazueta’s loft in the late eighties. She carried 37.5% of the “180” blood in her veins.
AU 84 MTZ 1679 Blue Cock. Full brother to “Dora-Z” above. This
cock’s most notable impact on the family came through his son, “Papa-Z”,
86 MTZ 2399 (ref I), who was a great racer and breeder for Zazueta.
G) AU 84 ABF 506 Blue Hen. “Nana Adella-Z”. (see ref pic) Full sister to Dora-Z and 1679 (ref F). She is the dam of “Tedra-Z” (ref L), 1st California State Hall of Fame winner. Her genes are present in many of the birds throughout the family.
H) AU 84 MTZ 4948 Blue Check Hen. Double granddaughter of “180”. She was the dam of 86 MTZ 2377 (ref N) and grand dam of “Samm-Z” (ref O) and Zapata (ref P).
I) AU 84 MTZ 1193 Blue Bar cock. Selected by Armand from a group of late hatches from the loft of Lee Schneider. Lee had a famous breeder 77 TVR 1528 (see Brad LaVerne’s book, page 92) who was responsible for many top long distance cracks. 1193 was a son of that cock and paired to Dora-Z became the father to “Zeke” and “The Animal”. Note: 1528 was a Devriendt cock and his mate was a Sion/Delbar hen.
J) AU 85 MTZ 1411 Blue Cock. “The Animal”. (see ref pic). As a racer, even better than his full brother “Zeke”, but as a breeder he was disappointing… until his grandchildren starting making waves. Armand eventually eliminated “The Animal” from the family because his children didn’t fly as well as Zeke’s, but has since found out that “The Animal’s” grandchildren are just as good as “Zeke’s”.
85 MTZ 1412 Blue Cock. “Zeke”. (see
ref pic) Two-time 600 mile winner (1987 and 1989). He was a great
racer, but his true value has been in the breeding loft where his genes
are present throughout the family. He is a son of “Dora-Z” (ref E)
and 1193 (ref H).
L) AU 86 ABF 0221 Blue Bar Hen. “Tedra-Z”. (see ref pic) 1987 1st California State Hall of Fame winner. This outstanding hen was not only a great racer but a top breeder as well. Her genes run throughout the family. She is a daughter of “Nana Adella-Z (ref G).
M) AU 86 MTZ 2399 Blue Bar Cock. “Papa-Z”. A top racer who won many excellent positions in the races. Equally potent as a breeder, he is the sire of “Samm-Z” who became the best racer that Armand ever flew. He is a son of 1679 (ref F). Note: “Papa-Z’s” dam was a Bekeart hen from the best of Danny Hinds’ outstanding family of Waterhouse Bekearts.
86 MTZ 2377 Blue Bar Hen. “2377” One of the best breeders
in Armand Zazueta’s loft. She was a daughter of 4948 (ref G) and she
is the mother of “Samm-Z” (ref O) and “Zapata” (ref Y) two of Armand’s
all time best.
O) AU 87 BBM 987 Blue Bar Hen. “Samm-Z”. (see ref pic) According to Armand, the best distance hen he ever flew. She won many top prizes, including 1st at 500 miles and 1st at 600 miles. She was a daughter of “Papa-Z” (ref M) and “2377” (ref N). She was used extensively as a breeder and her genes are present throughout the family.
P) GB 87 452. Dark Check Cock. “Blackie-Z”. Bred by the Planet Brothers in England from the best of their super fast Van Loon family. This cock is a descendant of their famous “Scrumpy”, and he was purchased at auction by Armand in 1987. He made his mark in the loft, producing many outstanding racers. One of his sons “Zorro” won 1st California State Hall of Fame in 1990. Another son “4504” (ref X) is one of the top modern day breeders. “Blackie-Z” was always paired to one of the more inbred Vernazza-based hens and his blood can be found in a number of the Zazueta birds today.
Q) AU 87 MTZ 0646 Blue Bar Hen. “Old Lady Z”. Last daughter of “180” still alive in Armand’s loft. She was a great breeder and her genes are present in many of the modern Zazueta birds.
*AU 89 FVC 5254 Blue Check cock. “5254”. Bred by Art Hees
from his nationally famous “Short Face/Verheyen” family. This cock
was one of several that Art sent to Armand to race. He was the best
of the lot and ended up winning a 300 mile race, so Armand tried him
in the stock loft. His impact was immediate, and his genes are present
in many of the present day Zazueta birds.
S) *AU 90 MTZ 2979 Plum Cock. “Plum-Z”. Son of “Zeke” (ref K) and “Hank’s Love” (ref D). This cock has been a great breeder for Armand and he is currently still a viable member of the breeding stock in the loft.
T) *AU 91 MTZ 3991 Blue Bar Cock. “Z”. A great racer and breeder, this cock was the champion cock of the Martinez Club in the 1994 Old Bird race season. He was also a 500 mile 1st place winner. He is a direct son of “Dora-Z” (ref E).
91 SJ 0001 Blue Check Hen. “Number One”. (see
ref pic) Bred by John Bellandi and given to Armand as a gift for
nursing her mother back to health after a tragic loft fire. She was
a tremendous racer, scoring several top diploma positions including
1st in the Martinez Auction race (winning over $10,000.00).
She was given to Armand just after her victory and when Armand put her
to stock she bred one golden pigeon after another. She is actually
part Vernazza, tracing back to the famous “12345” cock, but she is also
a granddaughter of the famous “White Bandit” of Hapyco Lofts and she
carries some royal Leen Boers blood in her veins and one of her great
grand dams is the “Julianna” hen from Ed Jankowski. “Number One” was
paired to several cocks at Armand’s lofts and her genes are present
in many of the Zazueta birds today.
V) *AU 92 MTZ 4145 Plum Hen. “Wild-Z”. Super racer and breeder for Armand. She is a daughter of “ Plum-Z” (ref S) and “Tedra-Z” (ref L). This hen has left her mark in the current Zazueta family and is still breeding.
W) *AU 92 MTZ 4158 Blue Cock. “I’m a Slate 2”. Excellent racer and top stock cock, he is a son of “Zeke” (ref K) and “Samm-Z” (ref 0). His genes are so prevalent in today’s Zazueta pigeons that he must be considered the modern foundation cock of the loft. He is heavily linebred to Dora-Z (ref E) and her brother 1679 (ref F).
X) *AU 92 MTZ 4504 Blue Pencil Cock. “Pencil-Z”. Superior racer. Son of “Blackie-Z” (ref P) and “Samm-Z” (ref O). He is a full brother to “Zorro”, California State Hall of Fame winner and when bred back to the core Vernazza birds, he is proving to be a superior stock cock. His genes are present in a number of the modern Zazueta birds.
Y) *AU 93 MTZ 4495 Blue Cock. “Zapata”. (see ref pic) Great long distance racer and superior breeder. He is a son of “Zeke” (ref K) and “2377” (ref N), making him heavily linebred to “Dora-Z” (ref E) and therefore to “180”. He too, must be considered one of the current foundation cocks of the family.
Z) AU 94 Hapyco 646 White Cock. “The White”. Given to Armand as a gift by his good friends Brad LaVerne and Chic Brooks at Hapyco Lofts. This cock is a grandson of their famous “White Bandit” and he proved early on that he had the great genetic makeup to produce the goods. He produced several birds for Armand that became outstanding racers, and even better, outstanding breeders. The few birds in Armand’s loft carrying the white gene are sons of this cock.
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