Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Legendary Trainer Blane Schvaneveldt Dies

The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal, July 5, 2010 -- Blane Schvaneveldt, 76, died Monday, July 5.

Schvaneveldt was hospitalized at Los Alamitos Medical Center after showing signs of distress Friday morning while having breakfast with his wife, Shirley, in the backstretch café named in his honor at Los Alamitos. Earlier that morning, he oversaw the training of his racing stable.

Schvaneveldt is an icon of the American Quarter Horse racing industry. The Preston, Idaho, native began training in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Los Alamitos in 1968. He was unchallenged for decades as the leading trainer of racing American Quarter Horses -- either by money earned, races won or both -- and came to personify the sport of racing the fastest horses on earth.Richard  "Dick" Bingham

Schvaneveldt toppled D. Wayne Lukas (AQHA Hall of Fame member) from the No. 1 spot by races won in 1976, and the year after that became the first conditioner to saddle the earners of more than $1 million in a single season.

In 1980, he became the first trainer to break $2 million, followed that two years later with the industry’s first $3 million year, and in 1984 set what until 2003 was the all-time single season record of $3,531,572. He was a named the sport’s champion trainer twelve-consecutive times from 1985-1996.

Since AQHA began keeping detailed records in 1970, Schvaneveldt won 5,186 races in 32,173 starts -- including 189 stakes wins -- and earned $55,322,155.

“He may have been the best trainer to ever put his hands on a horse,” said trainer Jack Van Berg, a friend of Schvaneveldt’s who won the 1987 Kentucky Derby with Alysheba (TB).

Schvaneveldt was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2001.

Schvaneveldt was active with his stable this year despite persistent health problems in recent years, particularly with his back. Last month, his Divide The Cash set a 350-yard track record at Los Alamitos. On Memorial Day, he traveled to Idaho for a high school class reunion.

Schvaneveldt won the richest race of his career in December 2008 when Tres Passes won the $2,038,250 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). A month earlier, he won his first seven-figure race when Tres Passes won the Golden State Million Futurity (G1).

Among the many horses he trained or saddled for a stakes victory were fellow American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame member Town Policy, world champions Cash Rate, Dash For Speed, First Down Dash, Miss Thermolark, Refrigerator, Super Sound Charge and Winalota Cash and champions Azure Three, Band Of Angels, Better Than Never, Cash Legacy, Cash Perks, Dean Miracle, Denim N Diamonds, Easy Austin, Ed Grimley, Extra Easy, First Sovereign, Ive Been Blessed, Jumping Tac Flash, Lady Juno, Make Mine Bud, Mini Rock, My Debut, Sign It Super, Sir Alibi, Sixy Chick, Speedy Lunch, Splash Bac, The Black Alliance, The Casanova and The Plan.

“It’s hard to imagine a Los Alamitos Race Course without Blane Schvaneveldt,” said Edward C. Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos Race Course. “During my early days as a racehorse owner and breeder, I relied heavily on his knowledge and counsel. I can’t begin to tell people how much I will miss him.”

Schvaneveldt owned and operated his training and breeding operation in Romoland, California, and also hosted the Schvaneveldt Yearling Sale.

He has in his own name bred the earners of more than $6.2 million, including champion Dashing Val and Grade 1 winners Simplify and Canosa.

A testament to Schvaneveldt’s influence in Quarter Horse racing are the two races named in his honor - the Blane Schvaneveldt Futurity at Wyoming Downs and the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap at Los Alamitos, which will be run this year on Oct. 1.

A burial service will be held in Preston, Idaho, at a date to be announced. A memorial service will be held at Los Alamitos Race Course at a date following the burial.

Schvaneveldt is survived by his wife, Shirley; two daughters, Shonna Smith and Brenda Figueroa; and three grandchildren, Brandi Mitchell, Brayden Figueroa and Barrett Figueroa.

More details will follow as they become available. Brought to you by the American Quarter Horse Association

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