Review Category : Spotlight

Clay Murdock

Read the full story in our magazine online: By Emily Shields, California Thoroughbred California Thoroughbred Breeders Association member Clay Murdock has come a long way since his days as a jockey in the bush-league racetracks of Idaho. He recently celebrated 30 years at Rancho San Miguel, where he is the general manager. A knowledgeable and dedicated horseman, Murdock is in charge of more than 400 Thoroughbreds and has proved himself exceedingly capable. When he was just 12 years old, Murdock learned how to exercise his father’s racehorses, joking that he was riding “in the bushes of the bush.” Although his father had a “real” job, father and son spent weekends racing Quarter Horses and a few Thoroughbreds in Idaho and Montana. Murdock was riding races as soon as he turned 16, and eventually he started training horses in his early 20s. “I had a desire to come to California,” Murdock recalled. He took a job galloping horses at Bay Meadows to get started in the Golden State, then was offered... ...

Read More →

Barbara and Jack Owens

By Emily Shields The historic and scenic qualities of the property now called Riveroak Ranch are what first attracted Jack and Barbara Owens. They bought the land in California’s Stanislaus County in 1981 and named it Riveroak because the river oak trees that ring it are part of that charm. The large main barn that went up in the early 1900s remains in use today. A dairy for decades, the property under a prior owner was later converted to an Arabian and Quarter Horse facility. Over time the Owenses shifted its focus to Thoroughbreds. Eventually they retired some of their racemares to become broodmares. The mares shuttle to Kentucky in alternate years, returning to California to be foaled and bred back to California sires. Jack and Barbara race a few of their California-breds and sell some, the latter through Sue Greene’s Woodbridge Farm. Bill Morey trains their runners. “Our ranch is a boutique nursery and layup facility,” Jack said. “We do not stand stallions here, but there have been a... ...

Read More →

Sean Feld, Feld of Dreams

Read the full story in our magazine online: By Emily Shields Sean Feld is on a mission to shake up the Thoroughbred breeding industry, and the 30-year-old pioneer is well on his way via his Climax Stallions. The syndicate group puts a modern twist on an old system, with new stallions in California a part of the venture. Feld was born in Pasadena and spent the majority of his childhood at Santa Anita. His father, Bob, and uncle, Jude, were both working on the track. Jude was a trainer, and Bob advised on such purchases as Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Adoration and Hollywood Futurity (G1) hero Siphonic. The younger Feld won’t even admit to his age when he started walking hots at the track – “I was probably not legally allowed to yet” – but a career in racing was always in the cards for him…. READ FULL STORY  ...

Read More →

Barbara and Ron Perry

Read it in our magazine online: By California Thoroughbred Barbara Ranck-Perry can still recall when, as a kid showing horses in Montana, she asked her father for a Dutch warmblood to school over jumps. “He grabbed one of his racehorses and said, ‘Here, this one can’t run. Take him and teach him how to jump.’ ” That was the genesis of a racing and breeding operation that Barbara and her husband, Ron Perry, have today, anchored by the California stallion He Be Fire N Ice. Like many other children growing up in rural Montana, Barbara and her three sisters always had horses. “Our idea of getting together with friends was to jump on a horse and ride a half-mile to the neighbor’s house,” she recalled. “My mom would drag us all over the state, as well as Idaho and Washington for horse shows. I think their plan from day one was how to keep the girls out of trouble. The answer was horses.” While racehorses were beloved to Barbara’s father, Red,... ...

Read More →

Joe Turner

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online Joe Turner was just doing his job as an iron contractor when the people of Old English Rancho called for an estimate. They needed new security gates for the farm, and after giving a prediction of $32,000 for the work, Turner joked that he would trade labor and parts for a racehorse. “I was thinking only part of it, maybe $5,000,” he recalled. “They were serious. My friends said, ‘Don’t you know how much it costs to feed one of those?’ ” For a year Turner deliberated without returning to the farm to see about his new horse or worry about collecting the money. He eventually discussed the circumstance with farm owner Buddy Johnston, who pointed out that the horse, Some Hitter, a California- bred by Dimaggio, was about to race again. Turner went to see his construction trade run. Some Hitter won that race and was claimed away. Johnston thought that was pretty lucky for Turner, and convinced him... ...

Read More →

Stormy Hull

By Emily Shields Stormy Hull has never known life without horses. The affable man is the second youngest of seven siblings, and virtually all of his youthful memories stem from the back of an equine. It should come as no surprise that the years of toiling with horses have finally resulted in a thoroughbred gem brighter than Hull had ever dreamed: multiple stakes winner California Diamond. “My horse-crazy sister wanted to go riding, but she had to babysit me,” Hull recalled. “It was either take me or stay home, so she would put me on the horse in front of her until I got big enough to sit behind. I had more miles on horseback by age 5 than most people have in their lifetime.” A horseback newspaper route is just one example of how Hull hardly ever let his feet touch the floor. “We grew up learning to ride Shetlands bareback,” he said. “I didn’t sit in a saddle until I was around 11. I remember when I was... ...

Read More →

Myles McMahon

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online First stakes winners are special, no matter what the circumstances. When a homebred gets the job done, it means even more. Not only did Myles McMahon win the $60,075 Golden Gate Debutante Stakes Nov. 25 with homebred Isa Firecracker, but he put together the breeding after thorough research. It is paying of with winners that his entire family enjoys. “This is not only my first stakes winner, it’s my trainer’s first stakes winner too,” said McMahon. Jamey Tomas trains Mc-Mahon’s horses in Northern California, a partnership that has evolved into a friendship as well. “I was looking for a trainer who would take a guy like me who had never owned a horse and would be somewhat local,” said McMahon. “Jamey lived in Sacramento, about three miles away from me at the time.” …….. FULL STORY ...

Read More →

Dr. Dorothee Kieckhefer

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online Dr. Dorothée Kieckhefer has had a life split in two distinct acts. She grew up in Germany, holds a Ph.D. in criminal law, and worked as an international business journalist for many years. Now living on a cattle ranch in Arizona and breeding Thoroughbreds, she is widely removed from that version of her life. “I grew up around horses, riding mainly dressage,” Kieckhefer said, “and later was introduced to Quarter Horses and Appaloosas as well, then both a rarity in Germany. I read in an American Quarter Horse Association magazine about the Racetrack Industry Program at the University of Arizona that focuses primarily on second-degree students interested in a career in the horse industry.” In 2005 Kieckhefer graduated as the outstanding senior of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “They got the ‘senior’ part right, as I was 45 years old at that time,” she joked. “The ‘outstanding’ I’m not so sure.” In 2006 Kieckhefer started her own Thoroughbred... ...

Read More →

Marguerite Eliasson

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online             When Marguerite Eliasson greets visitors or clients outside the hacienda-style farm office and foaling barn of E.A. Ranches, the immediate feeling of class and competence is palpable. The 1,000-acre breeding, boarding, and training facility in the fertile hills above Ramona is a breathtakingly beautiful island of peace and tranquility. Every detail is centered around lightning-fast Thoroughbreds, the passion of the late Ernest Auerbach. Shortly after the real estate developer founded E.A. Ranches in the late 1970s, he handed the reins over to Eliasson, whose 35-plus years of hard work, loyalty to the family, and unshakable belief in the stallions of the ranch are now culminating in a very special feat: Tis year not one but two offspring of E.A. Ranches’ stallions are scheduled to participate in the Breeders’ Cup. Ashleyluvssugar, a 5-year old gelding by the late Game Plan (by Danzig), will contest the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT). THe multiple... ...

Read More →

Francoise Dupuis

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online By Emily Shields, condensed version: Francoise Dupuis The globe-trotting Francoise Dupuis, co-breeder of California-bred Masochistic, was born in Madagascar, spent time in Brazil, moved to France, tackled the East Coast of the United States, and eventually settled in her current home of California. On her worldly journey, one thing remained consistent: her irrefutable love of horses. Dupuis did most of her growing up in Maisons-Laftte, France, where she rode horses after school and on the weekends. A friend suggested she try the “fun” of galloping racehorses, and Dupuis fell in love, both with the sport and with her future husband, Jean- Pierre Dupuis. Te couple moved to America, with Francoise starting as a hot-walker while her husband rode over jumps in Camden, S.C. Francoise was meant to be a student studying American law after already studying the subject in France, but battles over her green card meant that she was forced to travel back and forth between America and France... ...

Read More →

John Barr

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online By Emily Shields, condensed version: John Barr John Barr is busier than the average man and wouldn’t have it any other way. As the president of the Oak Tree Racing Association, a California Thoroughbred Breeders Association board member, member of The Jockey Club, and a part of The Jockey Club Safety Committee, Barr is entrenched in all things equine around the clock. His precious “spare” time is spent as the treasurer of the Richard Nixon Foundation and keeping track of five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. All of this comes after he reduced his workload. “Back when I had my ranch, I had 60 head at one time,” Barr said. “I’ve cut back considerably over the years to just eight or nine horses.” The current pride and joy of Barr’s Oakcrest Stable is Bert’s Melody, a 5-year-old mare who won the $126,035 Fran’s Valentine Stakes May 28. She’s far from the first stakes star to shine under the Oakcrest banner; Bountiful Dreamer,... ...

Read More →

Joe Ciaglia

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online By Emily Shields, condensed version: A STABLE WITH A LOT OF CALIFORNIA CHEEK The tale of California Thoroughbred Breeders Association member Joe Ciaglia is so interwoven with those of partners Frank and Sharon Alesia, Mike Mellen, and Mike Burns that it is easy to forget that Ciaglia has his own unique story to tell. The California businessman, who doggedly earned his way into the racing partnership, now has at least a piece of 50 horses. After grade I success with horses such as Weemissfrankie and Dance With Fate, Ciaglia is grabbing headlines with his sophomore stakes-winning duo, Pacific Heat and Cheekaboo. Before he was a horse owner, Ciaglia worked at a Ralph’s grocery store in Arcadia, often popping to work after a day at Santa Anita. Ciaglia and his wife, Stephanie, eventually met trainer Peter Eurton, who introduced them to Frank and Sharon Alesia. Although Ciaglia is a likeable type, Frank Alesia proceeded with caution, waiting six months to claim a horse with his... ...

Read More →

Joe LaCombe

See the full story featured in our printed magazine online   By Emily Shields, condensed version: Affable Joe LaCombe has been around some of the best in racing, including his family’s own 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick. Now the San Diego resident is enjoying a newer venture — standing stallions in California — while still managing the racing and breeding strings of Joseph LaCombe Stables. The stable is named for Joseph LaCombe Sr., who resides in Florida at age 83 and is still in regular communication with his son. “He still tries to do too much,” the younger LaCombe lamented, “but we talk almost every day and review the horses.” The elder LaCombe entered the sport by way of a partner at his auditing company, and went to purchase a juvenile son of Phone Trick for $100,000 at the 1997 Ocala Breeders’Sales Company February sale. Turned over to trainer Patrick Byrne, Favorite Trick reeled off eight consecutive victories that season, including the $200,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and the... ...

Read More →

Diane and Betty Irvin

BY EMILY SHIELDS As longtime, staunch supporters of California racing, the Irvin family has had its share of stakes wins. Watching their Triple Crown trail-bound homebred Smokey Image storm to an impressive victory in the $245,000 California Cup Derby tops the list. Although family patriarch Robert Irvin passed away in 2015, his legacy lives on through the efforts of his wife, Betty, daughter Diane, and the exploits of Smokey Image. Robert Irvin was a lawyer-turned-businessman, acquiring Armored Transport Inc. and turning it into a nationwide livelihood. His passion, however, lay in both ranching and horses. In 1968 he purchased C-Punch Ranch in Lovelock, Nev. The fully functional cattle ranch and alfalfa farm has been operating since the mid-1800s, and now boasts an inn and casino in addition to its horse division. The Irvins tried Quarter Horse racing at first and found modest success, but the pull of Thoroughbred racing soon won them over. A $12,000 purchase, Tepee Party, went on to produce stakes winners Big Squaw and Indian School. Big... ...

Read More →

Burton Johnson

By Emily Shields The adage goes, “How can you tell if a pilot is in the room? He’ll tell you.” While JetBlue pilot Burton Johnson still enjoys his job, he has a new passion to discuss to anyone who will listen: horse racing. His favorite racing-related topic? Ultimate Eagle, his young stallion whose first foals are yearlings this season. “I had no connection to horse racing,” Johnson said. “It’s the kind of sport where you are either born into it or you’re rich enough to get involved.” A friend of Johnson’s urged him to visit the racetrack and mentioned meeting up with another friend, Santa Anita-based trainer Mike Pender. “It turned out we already knew each other,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘I went to kindergarten with that guy!’ Sure enough, around the corner comes the Mike Pender I knew.” Johnson immediately took to the sport, falling madly in love and devouring all the information he could find. But when Pender asked why Johnson didn’t buy into a racehorse, Johnson replied,... ...

Read More →

Nadine Anderson

By Emily Shields Nadine Anderson’s journey from the Arabian horse show world into Thoroughbred racing and to then managing Brazeau Thoroughbred Farms is intricate and unfolds like a fairy tale. The Vancouver, Canada, native began her equine career in the Arabian horse show ring, where she had tremendous success. Now she owns Thoroughbreds, including the multiple stakes-winning California-bred Wild in the Saddle, who races for Anderson and Cheyenne Ortiz. “I had been a diehard show person, showing at the top national level,” Anderson said. “But really no matter how hard you show and win, you still can’t make money, you only spend it. You can’t eat a trophy or sell your ribbons, so I thought there’s got to be a better way to have my horses earn their own keep.” Anderson decided to embark on an ambitious campaign of racing her show horses. “It was unheard of at the time, but I put them in race training, where they did amazingly well,” she said. “I had a stallion, Serazim, that... ...

Read More →

Joe Parker

By Emily Shields Twenty years ago Joe Parker served as president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and president of California Thoroughbred Sales. Though his political days are long behind him and his booming insurance business takes up most of his time, Parker has not strayed far from his original goal of breeding and selling Thoroughbreds. Occasionally, when he isn’t able to sell a horse, Parker will agree to race it. Enter stakes winner Our Pure Creation, a homebred Parker didn’t plan to own. He always did have an interest in horses, however. Parker, a Texas native who moved to Fresno as a 4-year-old, grew up on a farm and originally dreamt of riding jumpers. “There aren’t too many opportunities for that, so I outgrew it,” Parker said. “But everyone always thinks they’d like to own a racehorse.” Parker enjoyed going to the races and handicapping, but it wasn’t until well after he left Fresno State that he “got around to looking at the breeding industry.” “We claimed a filly,... ...

Read More →

Lou Neve

By Emily Shields Louis Neve falls somewhere between eternal optimist and realistic businessman. That is why Neve pushed through the economic crisis of 2008, staying involved in horse racing and breeding while many in California were shuttering their barns. He adopted his racing philosophy from his commercial cut flower business: “If you don’t do well with one crop, there’s always another crop coming up behind it.” With this kind of confidence and due to his perseverance, Neve has watched his racing empire blossom. This summer he enjoyed one winner after another, including a spectacular three-win day with California-breds on Aug. 21. Before he ever pursued a longtime dream of owning and breeding horses, Neve was focused on his 40-year-old flower business. “We grow primarily hypochromic roses,” he explained, “which I’ve been doing for 40 years. The business is family-owned and in its third generation. I always enjoyed horse racing and had a dream of breeding horses, but it wasn’t until 2004 that I bought a Smokester filly privately.” On one... ...

Read More →

Elena and Hollis Crim

By Emily Shields Elena and Hollis Crim love what they do, which makes all of their hard work worthwhile. Elena grew up showing horses in Wisconsin, and she and her husband have a 400-acre spread in Globe, Ariz., where she breeds and raises stakes-winning Thoroughbreds, as well as sale-toppers. “Horses are an interesting passion,” Crim mused. “They get in your blood. I guess you could say I was destined.” Crim’s grandfather raised Standardbreds, which meant her father grew up also loving horses. Crim herself showed horses as a young girl, competing with jumpers. She eventually married Hollis Crim, now her husband of nearly 45 years, and they initially moved to Florida. “He was involved with cattle,” she explained, “so we bought a ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1980.” The vast H & E Ranch, named for their first initials, was a dream come true, but Crim found herself “with more time on my hands than I needed.” She started raising the same kind of hunters and jumpers she knew as... ...

Read More →

Dr. Tori Polzin

By Emily Shields From working at the track out of high school to owning her own veterinary practice and breeding operation, Dr. Tori Polzin has built her own success from the ground up. She is quick to eschew any praise, however, and turns it back to her horses and the team of people who have helped her reached her goals. At first the allure of the Sport of Kings made Polzin want to be a racetrack veterinarian. In time, however, the California native became more interested in mares and foals. After graduating from veterinary school at the University of California, Davis, Polzin began her work as an equine-only practitioner. It was only natural that Polzin would begin breeding her own mares, which led to an even greater venue. “I decided to try the sales,” she said. “The very first one I tried was the CTBA select sale when it was at Del Mar.” Now Polzin is a regular at the sales, breeding horses out of her Stony Creek Farm in... ...

Read More →

Lloyd Mason

By Emily Shields, California Thoroughbred W hen Lloyd Mason was only 5 or 6, his mother would drive him to a nearby horse farm, hand him a sandwich, and watch him ride off into the Arizona prairie for the day. “All of us kids would go out and ride for hours,” Mason recalled. “I fell in love with horses that way.” Arizona Chrysler tycoon Bill Luke, who at one time had 70 racehorses to his name, owned the ranch where Mason learned to ride. “My dad was good friends with him,” Mason said. “Every other week or so we got to go, and I couldn’t wait. The horses were already saddled for us, and off we went into nothing but tumbleweeds.” Mason still remembers sitting in the backseat of his parents’ car when his produce-farmer father discovered that a wicked hailstorm had wiped out their entire crop. “He said to my mom, ‘We’re done.’ Next thing I knew, he moved us out to Walnut Creek, in Northern California.” Although he... ...

Read More →

Mark and Daryle Ann Giardino

By Emily Shields On a weekday afternoon when they have a horse running, Daryle Ann Giardino’s shouts of encouragement can be heard across the mostly empty racetrack while her husband, Mark, looks on, bemused. The scene depicts two of the Giardinos’ great passions: a love of their horses and their voracious desire to fill the seats with racing fans.   “The horse racing industry was at one time on top of the world,” said Mark, “and it’s like they kicked the can down the steps from the ninth floor. Now racing is in the basement, and they don’t know how to get it back up to the ninth floor.”   The Giardinos know just how thrilling horse racing can be because their homebred filly Home Journey has earned $279,920 and recently won the $100,750 Las Cienegas Stakes (gr. IIIT). They want to share that joy with as many people as possible, a drive that resulted in the making of “Behind the Gate,” their award-winning horse racing documentary.   That Mark... ...

Read More →

Billy Koch

By Emily Shields, California Thoroughbred Shortly after Singletary crossed the wire first in the 2004 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Lone Star Park, his cheering, chanting owners flooded the winner’s circle. Their $30,000 investment had just scored in a $1.5 million race, and their infectious enthusiasm was broadcast live on national television. The president of the Breeders’ Cup, D.G. Van Clief Jr., called it “the greatest single moment in Breeders’ Cup history.” For Billy Koch the win was nothing more than an exclamation point on what he already knew: Horse racing is supposed to be fun. “I feel that all of us lose perspective on how much fun we can have in our lives,” Koch said. “We’re allowed to have fun.” The search for fun is what led Koch, a self-professed “lifetime racetrack junkie and degenerate gambler,” to create his first partnership in 1991. The Versailles Racing Syndicate gave Koch a solid first experience in group ownership. “Over the next 10 years I just kept starting all these... ...

Read More →

Roy Guinnane

By Emily Shields When the late horse trainer John Roche asked Roy Guinnane to claim a horse with him, Guinnane felt in over his head. “I didn’t even know what claiming was,” Guinnane said. Not one to sit back and let an opportunity pass him by, Guinnane dove in and returned home with both a newly claimed Thoroughbred and a Quarter Horse. “Within three months I had 13 horses,” he said. “Then I was buying weanlings and yearlings, and traveling to Kentucky to get mares in foal.” Guinnane, a 59-year-old resident of San Francisco, went from a racing novice to a regular at the sales in just a short while. Now he is represented on the track by dual stakes winner Marino’s Wild Cat, maintains a string of 25 horses, and runs a construction company in Northern California. His GCCI Thoroughbreds stands for Guinnane Construction Company Inc., which is his livelihood outside the game. “I actually love working,”Guinnane said. “I’m not one of these people who sits behind a desk... ...

Read More →

Gloria Haley

By Emily Shields New California Thoroughbred Breeders Association board member Gloria Haley truly believes that horse racing is a team sport, and not just within each barn. Haley would love to see the powers in racing, both in the state and the nation, band together to fix mounting problems, such as purse troubles and finding careers for retired racehorses.   “Sport is important to me, and I love that that’s exactly what our game is: sport,” Haley said. As owners, trainers and racetracks, we all have to be unified in our effort to make racing succeed. We are like a clock, and we need to all turn as gears to make it work.”   Sports philosophy runs in Haley’s background, as the 63-year-old grew up officiating softball and volleyball games.   At Sonoma State University she studied physical education and physiology and eventually realized how much of what she was learning applied to horse racing.   “I was coaching at Santa Rosa High at the time,” she said, “when I... ...

Read More →

Nancy Probert

By Emily Shields Nancy Probert has been a member of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association for so long that it’s almost part of her identity. Although her parents had nothing to do with horses, an Irish grandmother is responsible for introducing Probert to the game. “She couldn’t drive, but she liked to bet on horses,” Probert recalled. “I started liking the sport and became a CTBA member in 1963.” Nancy also connected to horses via her mother, Dorothy Kitchen, a movie star who was in numerous 1920s westerns. Nancy’s Hollywood roots included her grandfather, Thomas H. Ince, a film industry leader who made more than 600 films. But Nancy’s passion for horses didn’t really take flight until she met her late husband. Nancy caught a ride to Catalina Island on the seaplane of Dick Probert, a well-known pilot. Later Dick required a stewardess for his plane, “Mother Goose.” He hired Nancy first, then married her. They were living in Long Beach when Dick decided he needed room for his planes;... ...

Read More →

Scott Gross

By Emily Shields “I had a fantasy my entire life of one day being a sports franchise owner,” said Scott Gross. “But you have to be a billionaire to do that. Owning racehorses is just like being a franchise owner, except it’s affordable.” Gross is 22 years into a journey that has seen him rise from state-bred maiden races to the Breeders’ Cup. Along the way he has been involved in various partnerships with close friends John Harris and Mark Devereaux. The latter is Gross’ partner on the grade II-winning California-bred Big Bane Theory. Although retired now, Gross was once a health care entrepreneur, working in hospital and outpatient services management. Before that, he went to Vietnam fresh out of high school, serving as a ranger medic. “I had to be careful that when I retired, I wasn’t just sitting around betting all the time,” Gross said. An avid horseplayer, Gross has “hit a couple of huge Pick 6 tickets,” and he admits that he loves all sorts of exotic... ...

Read More →

D. Chadwick Calvert

By Emily Shields ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 9, 2014) — As a young man, D. Chadwick Calvert was taught in church to remember the initials CTR for “choose the right.” They meant the right path, but Calvert has since converted the CTR initials to mean Calvert Thoroughbred Racing. “Plus, I’m always trying to choose the right. . .horse,” he said The past few years have seen Calvert do an excellent job of choosing profitable young horses, but he has decades of experience to pull from. With his own expertise and the help of a longtime friend, the Colorado-based attorney is building a stealthily good racing string. Born and raised in Denver, Calvert was first introduced to the game by his lawyer father, David. “Around 1968 a client approached him and asked if he wanted to buy a couple of racehorses,” Calvert recalled. “He didn’t know anything about them, but the first horse was named Flying Morman, and my dad was Mormon.” That seemed a sound enough reason to buy in. Calvert... ...

Read More →

Cliff DeLima Trains Marino’s Wild Cat

At 82 years old, Clifford DeLima vowed to cut back on the number of horses in his care. The trainer has been busy with racehorses at the track, horses on his ranch in Livermore, and eight great-grandchildren to spoil. “I said I was going to cut down,” DeLima affirmed again, “but then Roy Guinnane and I went to a sale and came home with eight horses. We can’t go to sales anymore.” If DeLima and Guinnane are a little eager at the moment, no one can blame them. Their 5-year-old gelding Marino’s Wild Cat is now 5-for-9 lifetime after winning the $100,250 Harris Farms Stakes Oct. 5. The 5 3⁄4-length victory was so impressive that it has DeLima and Guinnane dreaming of future stakes success, maybe even in Southern California. DeLima has trained some classy horses before, but his is far from a household name. He was born and raised in Hawaii, and when he turned 15, a visiting colonel from the United States Army befriended DeLima’s father. When it... ...

Read More →

Marsha Naify

By Emily Shields It is rare that someone in the racing industry is “just” an owner or “just”  a breeder. There is a constant juggling of hats that comes with the game: Exercise riders become the gate crew, farriers become bloodstock agents, and handicappers may find themselves buying into syndicates. Although Marsha Naify’s father, Marshall, was an iconic force in the sport, having campaigned the likes of Bertrando, Manistique, and Swept Overboard, Naify herself didn’t figure to become entrenched in it. She was working for the family business, United Artists Theater Circuit, while juggling real estate, aware of the racetrack and interested in her father’s exploits, but not overly enamored with it. When Marshall died at age80 in 2000, Naify found herself dealing with the dispersal of his equines, and despite herself, she purchased a few of them. Less than 15 years later she is one of those multifaceted industry gurus, not only breeding and racing her own horses but also sitting on the board of directors at the California Retirement... ...

Read More →

Joe Daehling

By Emily Shields ELK GROVE, Calif. — Even as a young man in Germany, Joe Daehling “always liked horses,” but he couldn’t imagine where his passion would eventually take him. He tilled the fields of his native country behind powerful workhorses, admiring them and learning the skill of farming. “There were tractors in those days, but about half the work was still done with horses,” he explained. Daehling then immigrated to the United States in 1960, and after brief y pursuing life as an auto mechanic, he returned to agriculture. “I wanted to eventually fulfill my dream of raising horses,” Daehling said. “In 1973 my wife, June, and I bought a 400-acre ranch.” That property became Daehling Ranch in Elk Grove, Calif. While Daehling enjoyed making a business out of accepting boarders, he had yet to get his foot in the door of the racing industry. “I answered an ad for somebody who wanted to board a string of Thoroughbreds,” he said. “They brought out a whole bunch to live... ...

Read More →

Hector Palma

Back in the 1970s and ’80s, trainer Hector Palma was a force to be reckoned with. He won training titles and multiple grade I stakes races, and conditioned the likes of Irish O’Brien and Pen Bal Lady. After a lengthy quiet period Palma’s stable is returning to the spotlight, thanks to a new farm, the successful stallion Affirmative, and a classy filly named Magic Spot. Palma, 77, has been around a long time, but he still remembers his roots. The native of Mexico came up in racing in Tijuana before moving to the United States. “I worked for Michael Millerick,” Palma recalled. “Buster” Millerick, a member of racing’s Hall of Fame, is best known as the trainer of California-bred Native Diver, who won three straight Hollywood Gold Cups from 1965 to 1967. “I started training on my own on June 1, 1971,” Palma said. “I won my first race, and seven days later I ran my second horse and won that, too.” In 1976 Palma won his first graded stakes... ...

Read More →

Richard Kritzski

Richard Kritzski (R) accepts congratulations from Mel Stute and Joe Talamo after win by Awesome Return.   Three days after Awesome Broad dropped a bay son of Decarchy at Magali Farms, farm manager Tom Hudson turned to breeder Richard Kritzski and proclaimed, “We’ve got a stakes winner here.” Hudson’s declaration has already come true, as Kritzski’s Awesome Return is now a dual stakes winner. He is also another page in the story of Kritzski’s rise through Thoroughbred ownership, which started as recently as 1999 and has since been a bit of a whirlwind. Kritzski’s close friend Gary Brown can take the majority of the credit for getting Kritzski involved in the sport. In 1998 Brown was campaigning a handsome 2-year-old son of Broad Brush, Mr. Broad Blade, who broke his maiden stylishly by three lengths at Hollywood Park Nov. 29. As happens with most flashy juveniles winning over a route of ground, the victory thrust Mr. Broad Blade onto the Triple Crown trail. Kritzski joined Brown for that ride and... ...

Read More →

Alex Paszkeicz

When retired school teacher Alex Paszkeicz made the improbable jump to being an owner, breeder, and trainer, no one could have guessed the move would result in multiple stakes horses and more than $3.5 million in earnings. http://issuu.com/californiathoroughbred/docs/califthor-2014-6?e=1664187/8101693 ...

Read More →

Ed Delaney

Ed Delaney is breeder of California Cup Oaks winner Susans Express. Q: When and how did you first get involved in the Thoroughbred breeding industry? How does your professional background influence your Thoroughbred breeding plan? A: I got hooked on race horses when I was an 8-year old kid. Every August my mother and I would board a bus and take the two-hour trip to Saratoga Race Track.  For me it was love at first sight—an experience I will never forget. Then in my mid-twenties I started buying some harness horses.   I didn’t get involved with thoroughbred breeding until nine or 10 years ago. A friend of mine who had already been breeding for a few  years kept urging me to get aboard. I finally jumped in, bought some broodmares, some breeding books, started reading the industry magazines a little closer, talked to as many people in the industry as I could and started the never-ending road of experimenting.   I’ve always been in business for myself so at first breeding... ...

Read More →

Dr. William Gray and Jill Gray

Dr. William Gray and Jill Gray are longtime members of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Q: When and how did you first get involved in the Thoroughbred breeding industry? How does your professional background influence your Thoroughbred breeding plan?   A: My first experience with breeding began in 1969 with my father, Wesley Gray in New Mexico.  We hauled an old mare in a one-horse trailer pulled behind our car to a small farm south of Albuquerque.  We unloaded the mare, she was in heat (apparently), bred the mare, paid the $100 stud fee, loaded her back up and took her back to the pasture.  She had a colt 11 months later.  It was easy money!   Now, 45 years later, I am a practicing veterinarian, running a multi-doctor practice and a small breeding/racing operation.  Now I have to deal with problem mares, sick foals, lame and colicky horses.  Many days I wish I could go back to that one-horse trailer, $100 dollar stud fees, and my dad paying for the... ...

Read More →

Sue Greene

Sue Greene is secretary of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and past president. Q: When and how did you first get involved in the Thoroughbred breeding industry? How does your professional background influence your Thoroughbred breeding plan? A: I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing in 1968 after I convinced my Dad to buy the horse I was competing with in endurance racing.  We completed the Tevis Cup 100 mile one day ride that summer and in order to continue competing I had to have a job to pay the expenses. I went to the track with a friend I rode with and got my first race track job cleaning stalls for Skip Retherford. I left the track to attend Cal Poly but returned after graduation and spent 12 years on the track. I purchased my first farm with Mr. Retherford. We stood the stallions Mr. Airstream and Battle Call. I have built two farms since, beginning a career in the breeding end of the racing industry. I have brought the knowledge gained at... ...

Read More →

Mark and Daryle Ann Giardino

Q: When and how did you first get involved in the Thoroughbred breeding industry? How does your professional background influence your Thoroughbred breeding plan? A: We first bred our first Thoroughbred race horse in 1994.  Prior to that, we had owned horses but never bred them.  We got into breeding because we had purchased a two year old in a sale that we thought had some talent.  Unfortunately, she was injured in her second race.  After much thought, we decided we would try our hand at breeding.   Becoming Thoroughbred breeders only enhanced our love of the sport.  We have continued to breed horses throughout the years and currently have three broodmares in foal. Although we still purchase yearlings and two year olds at sales, we are thrilled to raise and race home breds. It has added an additional thrilling phase to our experience as Thoroughbred owners. Being a general contractor and developer, I analyze property and visualize its potential.  Thoroughbred breeding is also trying to find the right combination to... ...

Read More →

Dr. Bruce Zietz

Occupation: Retired oncologist. Education: UCLA, University of Louisville, UCSF. Bred: Stakes winner Qiaona, stakes-placed Gangnam Guy. Owns: Stallion Roi Charmant, four mares. Member of CTBA since 1995. Stable name: B&B Zietz Stables, with wife Bev. Advice: “I think the best way to get into racing is by breeding. In my own way, I’ve been right but under the radar.” – Dr. Bruce Zietz. ...

Read More →