06/13/2003 12:00AM

O'Quinn, manager at Grosse Pointe, dies


Clayton O'Quinn, a respected member of Florida's horse community, died this past week at the age of 84. He had been ill for several months.

O'Quinn and his family moved from southeast Texas to Ocala in 1967 after he was offered the job of farm manager for Charlie Verhayden's Grosse Pointe Stud Farm. O'Quinn's experience until that time had been mostly with Quarter Horses.

Grosse Point stood the champion sprinter Decathlon, the successful stallion Distinctive, and resupplied its stallion ranks with Phipps family-bred sons of Bold Ruler: Winning Hit, Big Bluffer, and Hickory among them.

O'Quinn was the quintessential "aw shucks" cowboy with a huge heart. He helped found the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch and the Heart of Florida Youth Ranch for underprivileged kids.

O'Quinn and his late wife of 61 years, Marjorie, raised six children of their own and 16 orphans, and their door was always open to children who needed some TLC.

He was a director of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, and president and board member of the Florida Farm Managers Club. He was a founder of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company and elected to its first board.

Under O'Quinn, many a Grosse Pointe homebred was sold on the cuff to down-and-out horsemen who desperately needed to fill empty stalls. Even if he never got paid, O'Quinn would just grin and say: "If they could, they would."

Harold Kitchen, 93, dies

C. Harold Kitchen is another Floridian whose roots were deep in Marion County. Kitchen, 93, also died this past week.

In the early 1960's Kitchen packed his tack and moved to Ocala from Kentucky and developed Carousel Farm. Kitchen's Carousel Farm was never a big breeding operation. Yet from time to time the homebreds made headlines.

Three that come to mind are the graded-stakes-winning filly Sister Act, the stakes winner and now Rising Hill Farm stallion Halos and Horns, and the multiple stakes winner Leave It to Beezer.

A widower, Kitchen is survived by two daughters and four grandchildren.

Two stakes for Montbrook

Montbrook, Florida's leading sire in 2002 and well ahead to repeat in 2003, had a good Belmont weekend at Belmont Park. His son, Chapel Royal, who cost $1.2 million at the OBS Calder Race Course sale this past February, made it 2 for 2 when he won the Grade 3 Flash Stakes June 6 by 5 1/4 lengths. The Ocala Stud-bred colt out of the mare Cut Class Leanne, by Cutlass, is not bred to be a stayer, but should be right at home in juvenile sprints.

The 5-year-old Montbrook gelding Shake You Down, also bred by Ocala Stud, has found a new lease since being claimed by Scott Lake on March 12 for $65,000. His current four-race win streak includes last Saturday's Grade 2 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Final juvenile auction

The OBS June auction of 2-year-olds in training is set for Tuesday and Wednesday. It is the last of five annual 2-year-old sales on the Florida calendar.

The OBS has cataloged 490 2-year-olds for its sales finale, plus a dozen horses of racing age. There are 284 Florida-breds, 156 Kentucky-breds, and 62 New York-breds. Sales time is 11 a.m. for both sessions.

Paul Sharp, agent, has the biggest consignment of 2-year-olds, with 34, including a filly by Our Emblem and a colt by Green Dancer. Ocala Stud is next with 28 2-year-olds, including two daughters of Notebook. Sez Who Thoroughbreds has 18 cataloged as does Thorostock, agent.