02/12/2014 11:30AM

Nebraska owner-breeder Don Everett dies

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Successful restaurateur, owner and breeder Don Everett died Tuesday in Lincoln at the age of 70 after dealing with Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years.

Everett campaigned 1984 Pan American Handicap winner Tonzarun. Tonzarun was a close sixth in that year’s inaugural Breeders’ Cup Mile behind Royal Heroine and went on to a career at stud. Everett later founded Bluestem Farm outside of Lincoln where he bred and raced several stakes winners, including Irish Villon, Thundering Verzy, and Bach’s Homebrew. The familiar yellow “BF” silks were a regular sight at racing venues throughout the nation over the years.

Everett became involved in his mother’s Runza Drive Inn in the 1960s and in 1979 franchised the restaurants, growing to over 80 outlets throughout the Midwest. He remained strongly involved in horse racing with Runza Restaurants sponsoring a family day on Easter weekend at Fonner Park for many years. Fonner has held a Runza Stakes for fillies and mares for several years.

Kayleen Smith More than 1 year ago
All Aksarben Racing fans should buy a Runza in his memory tomorrow.
Kayleen Smith More than 1 year ago
Don was "Don Quixote" in his efforts to purchase the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack from the City of Omaha. His nearly $40 million dollar offer was turned down to save the track from development. He was a hero for the fans and thoroughbred racing world. He was also a great example of an American business success story and inspiration to many including myself. I own Final Voyage by Tonzarun-Sailing Around by Sailor. This gelding was not a success on the track by a wide margin, but proved what a TB could do if nobody knew he was a TB, by roping and trail riding after his racing career was over. I met Don at the ill-fated Omaha City Council meetings. Hugged him and thanked him for being a "White Knight" then went back to mourning the loss of my beloved non-profit venue. I never forgot the man who seemed so small in stature, but big in heart and mind. The horse ce as a wrist of fate with the purchase of "an unpapered Quarter Horse used for roping" . Health problems led to a secondary vet opinion. Dr. Henning revealed a tattoo leading to his real identity. R02948 became a lucky find from the man who so inspired me, and now there is Final Voyage Farm.