ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2017) – Perennial leading sire Unusual Heat and longtime Los Alamitos Race Course executive Brad McKinzie have been elected into the California Hall of Fame and will be inducted posthumously at the annual meeting and awards banquet of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, to be held February 12, 2018, in the Chandelier Room at Santa Anita Park.
Unusual Heat, a six-time leading stallion in California, passed away in May due to complications of arthritis-induced laminitis at the age of 27. McKinzie, a 30-year Los Alamitos executive and co-founder of Finish Line Self Insurance, died in August from renal carcinoma at the age of 62.
Unusual Heat, a son of Nureyev claimed for $80,000, was pensioned last year after becoming the all-time leading California sire by progeny earnings (more than $55 million from 17 crops). He sired 15 California champions and three millionaires, including Eclipse Award winner Acclamation, and is the leading California sire in progeny turf earnings this year.
He was owned by a syndicate that included Madeline Auerbach, trainer Barry Abrams and Harris Auerbach, and his success helped Madeline Auerbach create CARMA, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation, retraining and retirement of Thoroughbred racehorses.
McKinzie was instrumental in addressing stabling and insurance challenges faced by the racing industry. As vice president and general manager of Los Alamitos, he oversaw the expansion of the Cypress track from five furlongs to a mile, as well as the addition of 700 stalls. That allowed the track, which had been devoted to night Quarter Horse racing, to assume dates for daytime Thoroughbred racing left open by the closure of Hollywood Park.
With business partner Michael Lyon, McKinzie’s Finish Line Self Insurance Group provided worker’s compensation coverage for jockeys, exercise riders and grooms representing 99 percent of the California Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing industry.
McKinzie was a product of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. One of his classmates was eventual Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who currently is readying McKinzie’s namesake, the 2-year-old colt McKinzie, for Saturday’s $300,000 Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity.