Q-Racing Blog: Go Man Go Returns to Ruidoso
A hall of famer returns to hallowed ground.
By Ty Wyant | December 22, 2015
The legendary Go Man Go, who died at age 30 in 1983, is coming back to Ruidoso Downs. Really.
Dr. Leonard Blach, who was the veterinarian at Buena Suerte Ranch, and Ruidoso Downs are working together to move Go Man Go’s remains and headstone back to the track where he scored five of his 17 stakes wins, including the 1956 Ruidoso Derby. He also placed in four stakes at Ruidoso Downs, including the 1955 Ruidoso Futurity. He will be in a special casket at Ruidoso Downs. The headstone and casket will be located near the infield winner’s circle. Fans will be encouraged to visit the site.
Go Man Go’s remains and headstone are currently on the grounds of the former Buena Suerte Ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. It was owned and operated by the late Harriett Peckham. Go Man Go lived at Buena Suerte Ranch from 1972 until he died in 1983. He serviced mares until 1974.
The Buena Suerte Ranch property is now an alfalfa farm.
The move will be completed by the start of Ruidoso Downs’ summer season on May 27. There will be a special ceremony on opening weekend.
“We are extremely pleased that Go Man Go’s grave will be here at Ruidoso Downs,” Ruidoso Downs’ general manager Shaun Hubbard said. “We sincerely want to thank our friend Leonard Blach for all of his work and dedication to bring Go Man Go back to Ruidoso Downs.”
Go Man Go was a sensation as a racehorse and as a sire. He was a three-time world champion and raced until he was 7-years-old. In today’s world, he could have been retired after he became the first 2-year-old to be named world champion in 1955. When he repeated as world champion as a 3-year-old, he almost certainly would have been retired. Therefore, it is probable he never would have had the opportunity to race to three consecutive world championship titles. He is still the only stallion to hold three-consecutive world championship titles. The mare Miss Princess (Woven Web (TB)) raced to three straight world championships in the early 1940s.
Along the way, Go Man Go set a 440-yard world record at Ruidoso Downs at 440 yards of :21.80 and a 400-yard track record of :20.10 at Los Alamitos. He was the highest money earner in 1956 and 1957 on his way to earnings $86,150 with 27 wins from 47 starts. His earnings would equal about $725,000 in 2015 dollars.
Go Man Go was no sweetheart, although it has been reported he liked to have his lip tugged.
One of his trainers told legendary Quarter Horse writer/photographer Walt Wiggins Sr. that Go Man Go was “jes’ plain mean as a bear most of the time” and his jockey Robert Strauss said he “was onery from the day I met him, but was the greatest horse I ever rode.”
A son of unraced Top Deck (TB) and the unraced appendix mare Lightfoot Sis, Go Man Go ran off with jockey Strauss when he was being started and before he was supposed to breeze. Then there was his memorable first start. Reportedly, he flipped in the gate, unseated Strauss, broke through the front of the gate and ran around the track. He was caught, reloaded and won the race. He won his next five races by a total of 9 lengths.
There were problems with his registration. With his Thoroughbred sire-appendix dam breeding, he was originally registered as an appendix horse. Back then, an appendix horse could pass into what AQHA called tentative registration after gaining a required performance record and passing a conformation inspection. He certainly passed the performance requirement, but failed the conformation inspection twice. This was in the era of the Bulldog-type American Quarter Horse and inspectors said he looked too much like a Thoroughbred. This was finally resolved in 1958 when it was determined his first foals looked like Quarter Horses.
“He absolutely would have passed inspection today,” Blach said.
Go Man Go’s first cropped established him as a leading sire. That 1960 crop included three All American Futurity finalists – Mr Meyers, champion Dynago Miss and Angie Miss (the dam of Kaweah Bar). He went on to sire All American Futurity winners Hustling Man (1962) and Goetta (1963).
Go Man Go was an equine rock star. He stole the show and had attitude. As Wiggins Sr. wrote: “He had intrinsic talent and couldn’t care less.”
However, he mellowed with age. “He calmed down. He was real easy to handle and a good horse to breed,” Blach said.
Go Man Go will soon move to Ruidoso Downs, a legendary home for Quarter Horse racing and an important part of that legend has been Go Man Go.
“I just think Ruidoso Downs is the place for him,” Blach said. “I think he woke up a lot of people to Quarter Horse racing when he raced. He will get more recognition there.”
*A note from Wrangler Ace Martha Claussen:
Alvarez Wins 3-of-4 Louisiana Titles: It's been a successful year for Louisiana-based jockey David Alvarez. The 37-year-old rider won his third leading rider title of the year on Saturday night at Evangeline Downs. His year began with a tie with Raul Ramirez, Jr. at Louisiana Downs. He topped the standings at Fair Grounds and came from behind to tie John Hamilton last Saturday at Evangeline.
He won four races in a row to get within one of Hamilton, the top-ranked Quarter Horse rider in the country by wins, on Friday night. Hamilton did not win on Saturday, but Alvarez rode Kimbo Slice to a dead-heat victory in the fifth, to finish in a dead-heat for the title.
"It was pretty exciting," said Alvarez. "I told my family on Friday to pray for me and I had a good night."
Alvarez was born in Veracruz, Mexico, and has forged solid bonds with many Louisiana and Texas trainers.
He is part of a Louisiana-based jockey trio that tops all Quarter Horse riders in wins, according to AQHA statistics. Hamilton leads with 152 victories; Alvarez has 137 wins and Ramirez has won 126 races in 2016.
"I am grateful to many horsemen, especially Martin Trejo and Bobby Touchet," said Alvarez.
Of course, also to his wife, Wendy, and three children, David, Emily and Ashley for their prayers and support!
Hialeah Meet Gets Underway on Saturday: Hialeah Park will kick off its seventh season of live Quarter Horse racing on Saturday, December 26. Their 2015-2016 meet runs through February 29.
Pete Aiello will call races there until January 10 when he departs for Oaklawn Park. Pompano Park harness announcer Gabe Prewitt will take over for the duration of the season. The 32-year-old Prewitt called Quarter Horse races at The Red Mile in Kentucky and is looking forward to taking the microphone at the south Florida racetrack. Aiello, who has been the voice of Hialeah since the track re-opened in 2009, will retain his duties as director of simulcasting.
Hialeah has announced two rewarding promotions for the 2015-2016 live racing season. Patrons who purchase a program on "Free Money Fridays" might be the lucky recipient of a $100 mystery betting voucher. Racetrack officials are also gearing up with "Monday Pick 4 Madness" in which the Pick 4 wagers on the card will be guaranteed for $5,000.
Good luck to all the horsemen wintering in beautiful south Florida; many of us will be very jealous in January and February!
Wrangler Racing Aces in December: Visit the Q-Racing Aces page on Facebook or follow them @HorseRacingAces on Twitter for timely updates on Quarter Horse racing across North America. The Wrangler Racing Aces are following the horses, jockeys, trainers and milestones at Los Alamitos, Sunland Park and will profile Hialeah Park when their season gets underway on December 26.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook and visit www.aqharacing.com.