07/14/2010 6:23PM

Schvaneveldt got best from his horses


For decades, Quarter Horse handicappers at Los Alamitos did not get far into their selections before checking on what Blane was starting. Blane was the man who owners from his native Idaho to Southern California and back in Texas and Oklahoma wanted to train their horses at Los Alamitos.

Blane Schvaneveldt, who died Monday at 76 after suffering a heart arrhythmia on July 2, was truly a legend in Quarter Horse racing. Schvaneveldt won a record 3,982 races at Los Alamitos, 386 Quarter Horse stakes, and 38 training titles. He trained 24 champions who won 55 titles, including World Champions Cash Rate, Dash for Speed, Miss Thermolark, Refrigerator, and Super Sound Charge.

His legacy will be one of dedication to training, and to family. If he was not at Los Alamitos or at home, he was probably traveling between the two places.

His death led Jim Helzer, who owned early 1990s star Refrigerator, to review Schvaneveldt’s career records Tuesday.

“It’s phenomenal, damn near unbelievable,” Helzer said. “It’s pretty hard to say what he has meant to the Quarter Horse industry. He had so much intuition about him with a horse. That’s something a lot of people don’t have. I can’t think of a horse that he didn’t get the best out of.”

On June 30, Helzer and Schvaneveldt talked about a gall bladder operation that Schvaneveldt faced this summer, which was expected to keep him away from the stable for a few weeks. To Schvaneveldt, it was a distraction.

“That morning he was in good spirits,” Helzer said. “He said, ‘I don’t have a lot of strength. I can’t wait to get this gall bladder thing taken care of and get my ass back to the racetrack.’ ”

Schvaneveldt’s earnings mark of $55.3 million was surpassed last year by Paul Jones, who has $56.9 million. The two grew close in recent years.

“The last five or six years, we started becoming pretty friendly,” said Jones, 44. “Blane was a good horsemen and he won races because of his hard work. He didn’t get lucky. He was the real deal.

“I guarantee Blane was the hardest-working trainer there has ever been. I don’t know anyone who was more dedicated than him.”

At one point in his career, Schvaneveldt had 150 stalls at Los Alamitos and 300 horses registered with the racing office, according to racing secretary Ron Church.

“He was a horseman’s horsemen,” Church said. “He was the first one here in the morning, and the last one to leave.”

In 2008, Schvaneveldt won his first seven-figure race, the Golden State Million Futurity with Tres Passes. Dressed in his familiar white button-down shirt, blue jeans, and cowboy hat, he had a 12-year-old boy accompanying him outfitted the same way, his grandson Brayden.

“That’s my new assistant,” he laughed in the winner’s circle.

For Schvaneveldt, the moment was the best of everything – family and racing as one.