07/14/2010 6:15PM

Quarter Horse legend Schvaneveldt dies

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Blane Schvaneveldt, the winningest trainer in Los Alamitos history and the champion Quarter Horse trainer in the nation 12 times, has died of complications from a heart arrhythmia, his family announced Monday.

Schvaneveldt was hospitalized last Friday after showing signs of distress while having breakfast in the track kitchen. Subsequent medical tests at Los Alamitos Medical Center revealed that Schvaneveldt had limited brain activity. He was taken off life support Sunday afternoon.

Schvaneveldt was 76.

A native of Preston, Idaho, 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. The full extent of his achievements is unknown. The American Quarter Horse Association did not keep individual records for trainers until 1970. Schvaneveldt had 386 Quarter Horse stakes wins at Los Alamitos.

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 an astonishing nine runnings of the Champion of Champions, the annual year-end race that plays a pivotal role in the World Champion voting.

Among his other 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.

At his stable’s height from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, Schvaneveldt trained for the most prominent owners in the sport, from states and regions such as California, Oklahoma, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest.

Schvaneveldt was active with his stable until the time of his death, 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, Schvaneveldt 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. Just a month earlier, Schvaneveldt won his first seven-figure race in November 2008 when Tres Passes won the Golden State Million Futurity.

Schvaneveldt is survived by his wife Shirley, and two daughters, Shonna Smith and Brenda Figueroa.