Washington Racing Hall of Fame - Bud Klokstad

King of the juvenile trainers

by Grant Clark

You 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, didn’t seem like it then,” Klokstad said.
    It’s 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 track’s history. Not surprisingly, Klokstad has conditioned every one of his wife’s 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 Billie’s 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.
    With her 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 track’s all time wins list behind Ron Crockett and she also ranks second on the track’s 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 Klokstad’s 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 Klokstad’s barn home.
    However, Klokstad’s 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, Peterhof’s 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, Klokstad’s barn would be the New York Yankees, they don’t 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 trainer’s license, which he did in 1955 at Longacres.
    But surprisingly, Klokstad has not always been a trainer. For a while he was a jockey’s 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 wasn’t sold at first.
    “He seemed to be a nice horse,” Klokstad remembers, “but didn’t look like anything special.”
    It didn’t take Klokstad long to change his tune. A workout or two in, and Klokstad knew Chinook Pass was destined for great things.
    “You stand there in the morning with a watch and this horse will frighten you,” Klokstad once remarked about the future Eclipse Award winner.
    Suffering a 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 Klokstad’s 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 Klokstad’s watch Chinook Pass won eight of 13 starts during his sophomore year, including tallies at Longacres in the Speed, Governor’s 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 gelding’s journey into a Washington racing legend.

The First Gottstein Winners
    O.K. Yet will always be known as Klokstad’s first Gottstein Futurity winner. The son of O.K. So Far capped a stellar juvenile campaign in 1986 by triumphing in the Gottstein. Klokstad’s 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. Yet’s win, Klokstad was back in the winner’s 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 earnings.
    The following season Klokstad became just the second trainer in the race’s 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 earnings.

A Record 1992 Season
    Klokstad’s 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.
    Klokstad’s trainee didn’t 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 the meeting.
    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 Peterhof’s Patea and Al Renee, both of whom raced in the colors of Roger Williams and Patti Strait.
    Peterhof’s 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.
    At two, Peterhof’s 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, Peterhof’s Patea won four of 10 starts with victories in the Ingénue, Belle of Rainier and Mike Donohue Memorial Handicaps.
    Following the 1992 Longacres season, which saw the Peterhof’s 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.
    Peterhof’s Patea was awarded her second straight Washington-bred top older filly or mare, as well as being named 1993 Washington horse of the year.
    Peterhof’s 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 time).
    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 Renee’s Reflection joined fellow Klokstad trainees Peterhof’s 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 Klokstad’s top horses have been gleaned from the WTBA sales program, including Longacres era runners Time to Pass, T.D. Passer, Staff Rider, Peterhof’s 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 Klokstad’s best horse, Ropersandwranglers was likely his favorite. But that’s not to say the California-bred daughter of Endow—Silent Surprise couldn’t 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 Shay’s 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 Auburn Handicaps.
    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 Klokstad’s 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 Counting
    Jumron Won proved to be Klokstad’s 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 Fool’s 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.
    His three-year-old campaign at the Auburn oval was even more impressive, as Klokstad’s 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 Auburn racetrack.
    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 track’s all time earnings list with $325,007 – currently only $7,093 behind record holder Kid Katabatic.

Flying Notes’ 2002 Derby
    Not only is Klokstad the record holder for most Gottstein Futurity wins, he’s also won Washington’s 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 Derby’s 71-year history to win the race three times.
    All three of Klokstad’s 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 Lewis’s Flying Notes. Klokstad’s 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.
    “I’m 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 King’s Favor’s 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.
    His time was fourth-fifths of a second better than Seeking Delight’s time in the Brooklyn Handicap-G2 at Belmont, a full 1 2/5 seconds faster than Pleasantly Perfect’s time in the Goodwood Handicap-G2 at Santa Anita and bettered Left Bank’s Whitney Stakes-G1 time by 1 3/5 seconds. Only Simply Majestic’s 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.
    “This horse runs just as good or better than Chinook Pass,” Klokstad said. “Plus, he’s a little more manageable than Chinook. You can do what you want with him.”
    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
    Klokstad’s 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. “I’m getting a little long in the tooth and I’m not sure how many more of these I have in me, so it means a lot to win this one and set the record.”
    Klokstad and 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, Klokstad’s 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 Washington’s “King of the Juvenile Trainers.”

Click here for a complete list of all the Washington Hall of Fame inductees.


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