05/16/2015 7:52PM

Quarter Horse great Bobby Adair dies at 71


Robert Adair, the leading rider at Los Alamitos for much of the 1970s and one of Quarter Horse racing’s leading all-time jockeys, died on Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer, according to a statement released by Los Alamitos.

Adair was 71. He died at his home in Southern California.

Adair won 1,705 Quarter Horses races at Los Alamitos, including 114 stakes. He won his first race at a recognized racetrack in 1962 and rode until 1984 when he sustained d a shoulder injury in an accident at Los Alamitos. Adair later worked as an outrider at Los Alamitos in the late 1980s and 1990s.

In a six-year span at Los Alamitos from 1968 to 1974, Adair won riding titles at nine of 11 race meetings, and won a then-record 103 races in a single meeting in 1969.

A native of Hagerman, N.M., Adair won with such notable stakes runners and champions as Band of Angels, Charger Bar, Don Guerro, Easy Treasure, Kaweah Bar, and The Plan. Aboard Kaweah Bar, Adair won a remarkable 32 races, including the 1969 Los Alamitos Derby and the Los Alamitos Championship in 1970 and 1972.

Adair won the prestigious Champion of Champions twice – with Don Guerro in 1974 and Mr Doty Bars, a 22-1 shot, in 1979.

“I thought I could ride anything that had hair on it,” Adair once said. “And, there’s no thrill that can compete to riding in a 10-horse race. I get a thrill every time I win a race.”

In the late 1970s, Adair was instrumental in advising Bob Baffert to ride at Los Alamitos at a time when Baffert was riding on the Arizona fair circuit. Years later after Baffert turned to training Quarter Horses, Adair rode a stakes winner for Baffert in New Mexico. Earlier this month, Baffert dedicated his victory with American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby to Adair.

Friday, Los Alamitos announced that the track will run the $60,000 Bobby Adair Stakes for Quarter Horses at 350 yards, beginning in April 2016.

Adair’s survivors include his wife, Linda, and daughter, Julie Adair-Stack.