03/08/2007 12:00AM

Grade 1 win the perfect end to Brooks's career


Trainer Jack Brooks recently retired, and in retrospect he did it with Hall of Fame style. Brooks trained the winner of the first $1 million race, Moon Lark in the 1978 All American Futurity, and he won a $1 million race with the last horse he saddled, Valiant Hero, who won the 2006 Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star Park on Dec. 2.

On that same Lone Star program he won the Grade 1, $318,593 Texas Classic Derby with PYC Paint Your Wagon and the Burnett Handicap with Dashin Prince Henry. Not a bad way to tie a ribbon around a career.

Brooks's career has been defined by major futurity wins, highlighted by his record eight victories in the Grade 1 All American Futurity. The next leading trainer, Newt Keck, won three of the first five runnings.

After surprising virtually everybody in Quarter Horse racing with his retirement, Brooks, 71, is looking forward to time with his family. His oldest of four grandchildren, 12-year-old Ali Brooks, told her parents that she "wanted her grandpa to teach her how to really ride a horse this summer," said Jack Brooks.

Brooks's older brother Dalton, 75, died on Feb. 23.

"I lost my brother and then started thinking," Brooks said from his Jones, Okla., ranch, eight miles from Remington Park. "He had been retired for a long time and had time with his grandchildren. I was always gone [to Ruidoso] during the summer when the kids were out of school."

Wynona Brooks, his wife of nearly 50 years, said: "He didn't want this time to pass him by. I've been grooming him for this for two years."

"I just decided it was time," Jack said. "It's been emotional, but not sad. I just can't believe that this is so important to people."

Brooks leaves behind a career that started after he watched the first running of the All American Futurity in 1959 by looking through the fence, and it ended up with inductions in the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame and the Ruidoso Downs Racehorse Hall of Fame.

Since 1970, when the AQHA began compiling racing data, Brooks has trained the earners of over $37 million, second all-time to Blane Schvaneveldt. He won at least one All American Futurity in the 1970's, 80's, 90's and 2000's.

"I never had a bad year," Brooks said. "Some were just better than others."

Brooks said his most memorable day may have been Labor Day in 1982, when he ran one-two in the All American Futurity with Mr Master Bug and Miss Squaw Hand. He also won the two consolations to the All American Futurity.

"I thought Mr Master Bug could win, but I didn't think of that little filly running second," Brooks said of Miss Squaw Hand. "Mr Master Bug was such a nice horse. Kids could lead him around when he was 2.

"I guess that's it; I just loved the horses. I got as big a thrill training babies as I did from winning big races. I think that's what made me successful. I just did my thing."

Brooks said that Texas Classic Futurity winner Valiant Hero has joined the Mike Joiner stable, and that 2006 Remington Park Futurity winner First Prize Robin and 2006 Grade 1 futurity qualifier Voghts Gold will now be trained by Heath Taylor.

Gotta Get goes for ninth straight

Reigning champion aged gelding Gotta Get will be favored to record his ninth straight win in Saturday's Grade 2, $89,730 West Texas Maturity at Sunland Park. Gotta Get set a 400-yard world record of 18.867 seconds in the wind-driven trials to the race.

The wind drove the four fastest qualifiers to times faster than the previous world record of 19.018 seconds, set by Mongoose Jet Eye when she won the 2004 The Championship at Sunland Park.

Gotta Get easily won his trial by 1 3/4 lengths. His winning streak includes seven stakes, highlighted by the 2006 The Championship at Sunland Park.

Consistent as they come

Bullions N Garters brings a very consistent record into the Grade 3, $50,000 Eastex Handicap on Saturday at Remington Park.

Bullions N Garters has finished on the board in each of her 27 starts, with 17 victories. Last year at Remington Park she won the Decketta Handicap and the Garretts Miss Pawhuska Stakes in consecutive starts. She will carry co-high weight of 123 pounds in the Eastex.

* Angelas Toast tries for his seventh straight victory and his third stakes win of the Louisiana Downs season in the $60,000 Mr Jess Perry Stakes at 350 yards on Saturday. A 4-year-old gelding, Angelas Toast comes off wins in the 250-yard Harrahs Dash and the 350-yard Streakin La Jolla Stakes.