LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - Blane Schvaneveldt, the legendary Quarter Horse trainer whose influence on the sport was felt throughout the western United States, has died, his family announced on Monday.
The Guest Book is expired.
Schvaneveldt, of Cypress, Calif., died Monday afternoon. He suffered a heart arrhythmia on Friday, his family said over the weekend in a statement released by the publicity department of Los Alamitos racetrack. He 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 at Los Alamitos racecourse. Earlier that morning, he oversaw the training of his racing stable.
Schvaneveldt was 76.
Schvaneveldt won 3,982 races and 38 training titles at Los Alamitos and trained such champions as Refrigerator, First Down Dash, Town Policy and Dash for Speed, to name a few.
The full extent of his achievements is unknown. The American Quarter Horse Association did not keep individual records for trainers until 1970. Schvaneveldt had a record 386 Quarter Horse stakes wins at Los Alamitos.
"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.
One of 12 children born in Preston, Idaho, Schvaneveldt began training in the Pacific Northwest and relocated to Los Alamitos in 1968. Over the years, he won many of the track's major stakes multiple times, including nine runnings of the Champion of Champions, the annual year-end race that plays a pivotal role in the World Champion voting, the highest honor in Quarter Horse racing.
Among his other prestigious wins, Schvaneveldt won six runnings of the Ed Burke Futurity and Go Man Go Handicap and won five runnings of the El Primero Del Ano Derby, Los Alamitos Derby, Vessels Maturity, Golden State Futurity and Governor's Cup Futurity.
"It's hard to imagine a Los Alamitos racecourse without Blane Schvaneveldt," said Edward C. Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos racecourse. "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."
At his stable's height from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, Schvaneveldt trained for many of the sport's most prominent owners, from states and regions such as California, Oklahoma, Texas and the Pacific Northwest. At one time, Schvaneveldt had a division racing at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
Schvaneveldt led the nation's Quarter Horse trainers in money won and earnings in 1977 and repeated those titles for the next eight years. The AQHA inaugurated a title for champion trainer in 1985, and Schvaneveldt was the first winner and earned the award annually through 1996.
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. The win surpassed a milestone that had lasted a month. Schvaneveldt won his first seven-figure race in November 2008 when Tres Passes won the Golden State Million Futurity.
Inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2001, Schvaneveldt served in two organizations that led the sport - the AQHA racing committee and AQHA racing council. A ranch owner in Romoland, Calif., where he stood stallions, Schvaneveldt conducted an annual yearling sale in Southern California.
Schvaneveldt's influence in Quarter Horse Racing led to two races being named in his honor in recent years - the Blane Schvaneveldt Futurity at Wyoming Downs and the Blane Schvaneveldt Handicap at Los Alamitos, which will be run this year on Oct. 1
Schvaneveldt is survived by his wife, Shirley; two daughters, Shonna Smith and Brenda Figueroa; and three grandchildren, Brandi Mitchell, Brayden Figueroa and Barrett Figueroa.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, July 13, 2010, at 1 p.m. in the Weston, Idaho, LDS Church. Friends may call Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Webb Funeral Home's new facility, 1005 S. 800 East in Preston, Idaho, and Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the church in Weston. Interment will be in the Weston Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at Los Alamitos race course at a date following the burial. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.webbmortuary.com.
Published in Logan Herald Journal from July 10 to July 12, 2010