King of the juvenile trainers
by Grant Clark
ou can pretty much
separateWashington trainers into two categories when talking about success with
two-year-old Thoroughbreds over the past 20 years. Bud Klokstad comprises the
first group. The second is every single other trainer.
The Billie Factor
Born March 1, 1931, in Landa, ND, Klokstad began
working in the Thoroughbred industry at age 16 in Roseburg, OR. It was also in
Roseburg where he met his wife, Billie, 55 years ago.
We were probably too young, looking back now,
didnt seem like it then, Klokstad said.
Its hard to argue with all those years of success
in marriage and training horses to win. Located in barn number one at Emerald
Downs, Bud and Billie Klokstad represent the most successful trainer-owner
combination in the Auburn tracks history. Not surprisingly, Klokstad has
conditioned every one of his wifes horses at Emerald, resulting in 113
total career wins, including a track best 11 stakes wins.
In addition to winning nine local stakes races with
Billies Ropersandwranglers, a three-time champion sprinter, one-time
champion older filly or mare and the 1996 Emerald champion three-year-old at
Emerald Downs, Bud and Billie have also teamed up to win with Return Call,
winner of the 1996 Diane Kem Stakes and recipient of the 1996 top juvenile
filly title in Washington and at Emerald Downs; Perfect Plan, winner of the
2001 Diane Kem Stakes; and Elegant Colors, winner of the 2000 Kent Handicap,
who Billie co-owned with Helen Sherry.
husband conditioning the horses and she serving as an integral part of the
team, Billie was the leading owner during the 1998 meeting at Emerald Downs
with 10 victories. She also finished second in wins in 1997 and third in 1996
and in 2005.
Her 113 victories places her second
on the tracks all time wins list behind Ron Crockett and she also ranks
second on the tracks all time career earnings list
Facts, Figures and Horses
Saying Klokstad has dominated the local juvenile scene
the last two decades would be an understatement as his statistics are
unmatched, more than backing up his reputation of being the premiere
conditioner of two-year-olds in the Evergreen State.
Since 1980, Klokstad has saddled a record seven
Gottstein Futurity winners and conditioned five Washington-bred champion
juvenile males and three Washington-bred champion juvenile fillies. During its
first 10 years of operation, Emerald Downs hosted 90 juvenile stakes races with
Klokstads runners accounting for wins in 17 of those races by far
the most for any trainer. In addition, six Emerald Downs juvenile
champions have called Klokstads barn home.
However, Klokstads greatest runners are not
confined to the two-year-old horse category. In fact, if you were to ask anyone
to list the best horses to run in Washington over the last quarter century,
odds are Klokstad conditioned a good percentage of them.
His roll call of champions include Chinook Pass, Staff
Rider, Peterhofs Patea, Return Call, Ropersandwranglers, Jumron Won and
Flying Notes just to name a few. Put it this way, if Washington horse
racing was major league baseball, Klokstads barn would be the New York
Yankees, they dont win the big one every year, but it sure seems like it.
At 75, Klokstad has very few, if any, equals when
it comes to Washington racing records. The only trainer to win 40 or more
career stakes races at both Longacres and Emerald Downs, Klokstad recently
celebrated the 50th anniversary of having taken out his first trainers
license, which he did in 1955 at Longacres.
surprisingly, Klokstad has not always been a trainer. For a while he was a
jockeys agent, where he learned the value of getting top riders on board
the backs of his trainees.
While he has never,
incredibly, won a training title at Longacres, Klokstad certainly set several
standards there, such as winning 14 stakes races and earning $851,343 in 1992
both not only are Longacres records, but state records. He is also
the second leading trainer of all time at Longacres with 54 career stakes wins
a mere three behind leader Glen Williams.
Klokstad has been equally impressive at Emerald Downs
winning a track record 41 stakes races and being the first trainer to
surpass $4 million in career earnings. He also led the trainer standings in
earnings in 1997 and 2001 and became the first trainer in Emerald Downs
history to post back-to-back victories in the Emerald Breeders Cup Derby.
Because of all this, it was no surprise to anyone
when Klokstad was inducted last October into the Washington Thoroughbred Racing
Hall of Fame, joining Allen Drumheller, Jim Penney, Tom Smith and Charles
Whittingham as the only trainers thus far to be honored.
The Early Chinook Pass
Following a three month training stint at Woods Creek
Training Center in Monroe, owner Ed Purvis brought Chinook Pass to Longacres in
1981 and turned him over to Klokstad. Despite Purvis beaming about the
juvenile, Klokstad wasnt sold at first.
He seemed to be a nice horse, Klokstad
remembers, but didnt look like anything special.
It didnt take Klokstad long to change his tune. A
workout or two in, and Klokstad knew Chinook Pass was destined for great
You stand there in the morning with
a watch and this horse will frighten you, Klokstad once remarked about
the future Eclipse Award winner.
disqualification during his career debut, Chinook Pass rebounded to win the
Washington Stallion Stakes in a 5 1/2 furlong track record, then followed up
that victory two weeks later with a win in the six furlong Stripling Stakes.
His otherwise spectacular 1981 season was turned
somewhat bittersweet after Klokstads charge broke poorly from the gate in
the Gottstein and finished 11th. Adding to the disappointment was the discovery
that Chinook Pass had injured a cannon bone during the race.
A seven month layoff followed, but Chinook Pass
returned better than ever in 1982. Under Klokstads watch Chinook Pass won
eight of 13 starts during his sophomore year, including tallies at Longacres in
the Speed, Governors and Owners Handicaps where he smashed the
five furlong world record time (:55 1/5 seconds) and a second-place
finish in the Longacres Mile-G2.
After that Purvis
went national with Chinook Pass, and turned the training duties over to
southern California-based conditioner Laurie Anderson.
However, Klokstad will forever be known as the
individual who began the Native Born geldings journey into a Washington
The First Gottstein Winners
O.K. Yet will always be known as Klokstads first
Gottstein Futurity winner. The son of O.K. So Far capped a stellar juvenile
campaign in 1986 by triumphing in the Gottstein. Klokstads charge raced
four times as a two-year-old, winning three races and finishing third in his
only other start while collecting $106,615 in earnings for the partnership of
Klokstad, Holman and Kays. Along with the Gottstein, O.K. Yet also won the
Stripling Stakes and the William E. Boeing Handicap.
Three years after O.K. Yets win, Klokstad was
back in the winners circle following the Gottstein Futurity, this time
with Jollie Four Stables T. D. Passer, who went on to be named
Washington-bred champion juvenile male of 1989. The son of Drouilly (Fr)
finished the year with a record of 3-2-2 from seven starts with $194,036 in
The following season Klokstad became
just the second trainer in the races 50-year history to win back-to-back
Gottsteins both runners were owned by the Jollie Four Stables
when he saddled Time to Pass to a victory in the two-year-old championship.
Time to Pass, who went on to earn $539,410, also won the Lads and finished his
juvenile season with three wins, two seconds from five starts and $191,113 in
A Record 1992 Season
Klokstads Staff Rider put together a juvenile
year in 1992 in which he won six of seven starts, five stakes races, including
the Gottstein Futurity, and earned a record $280,549 the most ever for a
single season in Washington racing history.
Another top two-year-old runner owned by Jollie Four
Stable, the Washington-bred son of Staff Writer out of the Barbaric Spirit mare
Sunrise River began his racing debut on June 14, 1992 at Longacres. He won that
five furlong maiden race with jockey Tim Doocy in the irons.
After finishing second to the Ron Crockett-owned
Bouncin Man in the Emerald Cup Stakes, Staff Rider won, in succession,
the Longacres Park Lads Stakes, the Tukwila Stakes, the Stallion Stakes, the
Lennie Knowles Memorial Sprint Championship Stakes and the Gottstein Futurity.
Klokstads trainee didnt simply win
races during his two-year-old campaign he dominated them. He won the 6
1/2 furlong Stallion Stakes by 11 lengths, the mile Lads by nine lengths and
the 1 1/16 miles Gottstein by 9 1/2 lengths before being named, not just best
two-year-old, but 1992 Washington-bred horse of the year and Longacres horse of
At three, Staff Rider won half of his
six starts, including the 1 1/16 miles Pleasanton Handicap, the six furlong
Rocket Review Stakes at Golden Gate Fields and the 1 1/16 miles James F. Lytle
Memorial Handicap at Santa Rosa. He was named 1993 Wash-ington-bred champion
three-year-old. Injuries plagued Staff Rider the rest of his career before he
was retired in 1996 with a record of 9-3-1 and $364,699 in earnings.
Life After Longacres
With the closure of Longacres following the 1992
season, Klokstad went on to find similar success in northern California with
his runners Peterhofs Patea and Al Renee, both of whom raced in the
colors of Roger Williams and Patti Strait.
Peterhofs Patea, a gray daughter of Peterhof out
of Tea At Ten, raced her first three years at the Renton racetrack before
traveling south to California.
Peterhofs Patea was the 1990 Washington-bred champion juvenile filly,
winning the Longacres Lassies, Green River Valley and Broderick Memorial Stakes
before finishing second to stablemate Time to Pass in the Gottstein Futurity.
As a three-year-old, Peterhofs Patea won
four of 10 starts with victories in the Ingénue, Belle of Rainier and
Mike Donohue Memorial Handicaps.
1992 Longacres season, which saw the Peterhofs Patea capture the Everett,
Prima Donna and Budweiser Handicaps, Klokstad took his mare to California. She
did not disappoint, triumphing in the Cecilia deMille Harper Invitational and
Los Altos Invitational Handicaps at Bay Meadows and in the Pacific Heights
Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.
Patea was awarded her second straight Washington-bred top older filly or mare,
as well as being named 1993 Washington horse of the year.
Peterhofs Patea ran one more year, winning the
1994 James Wiggins Breeders Cup Handicap at Solano before being retired
with a record of 16-14-6 from 52 starts with $623,367 in earnings making
her the richest Washington-bred female in history and the third highest earning
Washington-bred ever (as well as the top earning WTBA-sold individual of all
Al Renee may not have been as successful as
his stablemate, but he still managed to win 11 of 38 career starts and collect
$285,533. The chestnut son of Al Mamoon out of Renees Reflection joined
fellow Klokstad trainees Peterhofs Patea and Staff Rider in 1993 as a
Washington-bred champion, being named champion juvenile male.
During his first year of racing, Al Renee posted four
wins and two seconds from eight starts with victories in the 1993 Atherton,
King Glorious and Redwood Empire Stakes. Four additional stakes victories would
follow, including wins in the 1995 Sam J. Whiting Memorial Handicap at
Pleasanton and in the 1994 Pegasus Handicap at Bay Meadows, before Al Renee was
retired in 2000.
Unlike the custom of some local
trainers, the majority of Klokstads top horses have been gleaned from the
WTBA sales program, including Longacres era runners Time to Pass, T.D. Passer,
Staff Rider, Peterhofs Patea and Al Renee. Later, at Emerald, would come
the likes of I.M. Bzy, Flying Notes and Corvallis Dee.
The Queen of Emerald Downs
While Chinook Pass was clearly Klokstads best
horse, Ropersandwranglers was likely his favorite. But thats not to say
the California-bred daughter of EndowSilent Surprise couldnt run,
as she is considered by many to be the best sprinter, regardless of gender, in
Emerald Downs history.
Ropers, as she was
affectionately known, made her debut in Auburn on August 24, 1996, defeating
the speedy Cocktails Anyone, a future two-time Washington-bred champion older
filly or mare, by three lengths in a six furlong allowance race.
A two-length defeat in the Washington Oaks to the Larry
Ross-trained Ever Lasting followed. It would be nearly two years before
Ropersandwranglers tasted defeat around the Auburn oval again.
Between her loss in the Oaks on September 22, 1996
until June 28, 1998, when Shay nipped her at the wire in the Boeing Handicap,
Ropersandwranglers was unstoppable at Emerald Downs stringing together
the most impressive stakes streak in track history. Before Shays upset
victory, Ropers had won a track record seven consecutive stakes races.
In October of 1996, the streak began with a commanding
seven length win in the Hastings Park Handicap. She then closed out her
sophomore season with a 2 1/2 length victory over older fillies and mares,
including divisional champion Pleas Write, in the Belle Roberts Stakes before
being named Emerald Downs inaugural champion three-year-old filly.
Ropers raced the following year and earned a Emerald
championship for top older filly or mare, going a perfect three-for-three at
the Auburn track in 1997, chalking up wins in the Boeing, Ingénue and
After winning the Mountain View
Stakes and the Auburn Handicap to begin her 1998 Emerald campaign,
Ropersandwranglers was again nipped at the wire by northern California invader
Shay in the mile King County Handicap. The rematch, however, went to
Klokstads mare as she closed out 1998 with a 1 1/2 length victory in the
Boeing Handicap before having her five-year-old season cut short due to a
tendon problem. Despite having her stakes streak come to an end, Ropers capped
1998 by collecting an unprecedented third straight Emerald Downs sprinter
of the year honors.
She raced only once more
winning the Mountain View Stakes at Emerald Downs on April 25, 1999
before being retired because of her reoccurring injured tendon.
At the time of her retirement, Ropers was the most
successful horse in Emerald Downs history winning 10 of 12 starts,
including nine stakes races. She remains one of only three horses to win nine
or more local stakes and finished her remarkable career with a record of 13-2-2
from 20 starts with $260,575 in earnings.
Jumron Won $325,007 at Emerald . . . and
Jumron Won proved to be
Klokstads record-tying sixth Gottstein Futurity winner and his second
Emerald Derby winner. He appears poised to become the all time money earner in
Emerald Downs history during the 2006 season.
Foaled in Washington on April Fools Day, 1998,
the son of 1995 Kentucky Derby-G1 fourth Jumron (GB) out of Inspired Verse
captured three of his nine starts as a juvenile, hitting the board in eight of
his nine races, including a second place finish in the California Juvenile
Stakes-G3 at Bay Meadows.
At Emerald Downs, in
addition to winning the Gottstein, he also claimed victories in the Northwest
Stallion and Captain Condo Stakes.
three-year-old campaign at the Auburn oval was even more impressive, as
Klokstads gifted gelding won a track record-tying four stakes races in
2001, including the Emerald Breeders Cup Derby, the Pepsi-Cola and
Seattle Slew Handicaps and the Auburn Stakes.
Jumron Won concluded his second season of racing in the
same fashion as he did his first, by being named Emerald Downs seasonal
champion for his division. He became the first horse to follow up champion
two-year-old male honors with a champion three-year-old male title at the
Jumron Won remains one of only
two male horses, Handy N Bold being the other, to win seven or more career
stakes races at Emerald Downs, and ranks second on the tracks all time
earnings list with $325,007 currently only $7,093 behind record holder
Flying Notes 2002 Derby
Not only is Klokstad the record holder for most
Gottstein Futurity wins, hes also won Washingtons major Derby as
many times as any other trainer, having taken the three-year-old championship
three times during his career.
Klokstad is joined
by Frank Brewster (Two and Twenty, 1949, Whang Bang, 1950, and Bomb Special,
1952), Glen Williams (Auther B, 1959, Sparrow Castle, 1960, and Smogy Dew,
1964) and Bob Meeking (Mincemeat, 1970, Salad Sam, 1976, and Find Our Star,
1996) as the only trainers in the Derbys 71-year history to win the race
All three of Klokstads wins
came at Emerald Downs. Starting in 1998 with I.M. Bzy, and then scoring
back-to-back runnings of the race in 2001 with Jumron Won and 2002 with Flying
Notes. He was the fifth trainer to win the race in consecutive years and the
first since Williams in 1960 to accomplish the feat.
Few victories in Emerald Downs history have been
as impressive as the Derby triumph of Johnny and Ruth Lewiss Flying
Notes. Klokstads trainee earned legendary status by winning the 11/8
miles $125,000 Emerald Breeders Cup Derby by a widening 11 1/4 lengths,
crossing the wire in a record-shattering 1:45 2/5, which eclipsed the state
record by an amazing 1 3/5 seconds the equivalent to eight lengths.
Im amazed. None of them run like
that, Klokstad said following Flying Notes winning romp. It
was frightening. I thought, what the hell is he doing?
Ridden by Kevin Radke, the chestnut gelding set
blistering fractions of :23 1/5, :45 4/5, 1:08 2/5 and 1:32 3/5, easily shaking
off Salt Grinder, an Emerald Downs track record holder in his own right,
in the process.
Not only was Flying Notes
final time the fastest in state history, breaking Kings Favors 1:46
3/5 record set on September 5, 1966, it was also the fastest time at that
distance on dirt in North American in 2002.
time was fourth-fifths of a second better than Seeking Delights time in
the Brooklyn Handicap-G2 at Belmont, a full 1 2/5 seconds faster than
Pleasantly Perfects time in the Goodwood Handicap-G2 at Santa Anita and
bettered Left Banks Whitney Stakes-G1 time by 1 3/5 seconds. Only Simply
Majestics 1988 world-record time of 1:45 is faster.
The most eye-popping number put up by Flying Notes in
the Derby, however, may have been his mile fraction time in the race of 1:32
2/5. Had the race been at the mile distance, the gelding would have crushed the
1:33 state record time set by Slew of Damascus at Yakima Meadows in 1993 and
equaled by Sky Jack at Emerald Downs in the 2003 Longacres Mile.
Following the race, Klokstad gave his runner the best
compliment he possibly could.
runs just as good or better than Chinook Pass, Klokstad said. Plus,
hes a little more manageable than Chinook. You can do what you want with
Flying Notes closed out the 2002 season
by being named Emerald Downs horse of the meeting making Klokstad
the only trainer in history to condition horses to top seasonal honors at both
Emerald Downs and Longacres.
A Record Seventh Gottstein
Klokstads place among the greatest trainers in
Washington history was already firmly established before Corvallis Dee crossed
the wire first in the 2003 Gottstein Futurity. It merely reconfirmed his status
as the top trainer of juveniles in Washington, as the win gave him a record
seventh victory in the two-year-old championship, one more than Bob McMeans,
who won his six Gottstein Futurities at Longacres.
This has been a long time coming, Klokstad
said after the Art McFadden-owned Corvallis Dee defeated future graded stakes
winner Harvard Avenue in the Gottstein by 1 1/2 lengths on the inaugural
Washington Cup Day card. Im getting a little long in the tooth and
Im not sure how many more of these I have in me, so it means a lot to win
this one and set the record.
McFadden had teamed up in the prior two runnings of the Gottstein, but failed
to win the stakes despite having the race favorites; Melcapwalker finished
second in the 2001 edition of the race and Bub finished third in 2002.
Corvallis Dee, an $11,500 yearling purchase by
Slewdledo and out of Mia Rolls, was named for former Oregon State football
coach and athletic director Dee Andros. He would go on to earn top juvenile
male honors at Emerald Downs that season.
The Upcoming 2006 Season
As Emerald Downs begins its 11th season of racing,
Klokstads barn is once again one to watch. Last season, Klokstad finished
tied for fourth in the trainer standings with 36 victories and sixth on the
earnings list with $404,614. His brightest star during the 2005 season was yet
another champion juvenile in multiple-stakes winning filly Cinderella Liberty,
a daughter of 2005 leading freshman sire Liberty Gold and Notjustanyknight
proving that Klokstad is far from relinquishing his title as
Washingtons King of the Juvenile Trainers.
for a complete list of all the Washington Hall of Fame inductees.