Q-Racing Blog: Mr. Racing

An old friend helps celebrate an old friend.

An old friend helps celebrate an old friend.

I was stunned. Gobsmacked. After 25 years, Mr. Racing called.

Mr. Racing’s history is, shall we say, colorful. He lived in the dark shadows of horse racing. He had tremendous insight into everything about Quarter Horse racing. Every once in a while, he would check in at QuarterWeek Magazine (1984-1999) and regale Brad McKinzie, Bruce Rimbo and myself with his insights. They were then worked into the “Nobody asked, but … ” column that ran every week in the magazine.

After chatting on the phone, we decided to meet.

Where have you been all these years?

Mr. Racing: Ahh, I downsized. You remember I had this importing business that was extremely lucrative. Then one day – boom – it was gone and I was forced to downsize. It wasn’t much fun downsizing to just one room and only getting outside for only a few hours each day. But, I worked through it. I kept up with racing the best I could and now I have retained my contacts in Quarter Horse racing. I’m back.

That explains a lot and I’m honored that you chose to call me. Why did you call?

Mr. Racing: It was because our brother Brad McKinzie died. I knew he was very sick and his death (on August 6) put a big hole in my heart. I felt I needed to talk. So, I called you.

I’m grateful for the call, but certainly wish it was under lighter circumstances. Brad’s death has been hurtful for many people. He had a lot of friends and a lot of people are mourning. What do you recall about Brad?

Mr. Racing: He was the best. He helped so many people. When I’m sad about his death I think back and remember the good times, all the fun times. It helps, and Brad would want us to remember the good times.

I agree. Perhaps, you could share one story.

Mr. Racing: Brad was a groom for a couple of trainers at Los Alamitos when he was in high school. His time as a groom served him well in later years because he understood the backside when making big decisions. Anyway, back to the story …

Brad knocked off a Brinks truck.

He rubbed Faquir’s Trick, a top 870 horse. The horse ran in a stakes and by the time Brad finished cooling the horse out, it was about 1 a.m. He jumped in his dad’s old Caddy and headed home. He took a short cut in front of the grandstand and T-boned the money truck, knocking it over, spilling coins and money. The cops came with guns out. That’s how he got those scars on his head. Yeah, and then he goes on to be general manager and was in charge of the money. Go figure.

I recall Brad telling that story. It’s a Los Alamitos classic. OK, this will be read by Quarter Horse breeders. Here’s a story for them. Do you remember when Brad, you and I first saw First Down Dash?

Mr. Racing: Yeah (laughing). That’s when Vessels Stallion Farm was next to the track and the magazine was across Katella. Millie Vessels had bought him as a yearling at the Phillips Ranch sale and Tom Goncharoff had just hauled him from the sale. He called the magazine and said we needed to see this colt. We went over. He was nothing, I mean nothing. We laughed at him. And he was parrot mouthed. Tommy’s wife, Leslie, nicknamed him Polly, like Polly the Parrot.

I recall thinking he was a little slab-sided filly. Then Tommy opened his mouth. Jeez. To this day, I have never seen a horse change so much as he matured.

Mr. Racing: That’s right (still laughing). If somebody would have walked up and said he would be world champion and the all-time leading sire, we would have asked what he’d been ingesting.

Really. Finally, Brad would want to get your overall take on the state of Quarter Horse racing.

Mr. Racing: I thought you would ask that and have been giving it some thought. It is still a great game and has the best people. Like Brad. Racing could use a hundred Brads.

I finally think there are positive moves on this drug problem. You gotta get to the owners and that’s through the horses. I just saw that here in New Mexico a horse can be put on the stewards list for 60 days if it gets positive test for certain stuff. That’s a good step. I would like to see a futurity or derby horse get sidelined for six months or a year. Folks would get religion real quick.

If racehorse people don’t know the name Travis Tygart, they might want to check him out. He’s the CEO at the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He busted Lance Armstrong. You don’t want him on your butt. USADA could get involved if the feds get involved. It’s gotta change, by one means or another.

I just want to leave you with one reality: It’s simple, you do what’s best for the horse.

As always, thank you for your precious time.

Mr. Racing: I just want everyone to remember Brad and smile with that big grin of his in your mind’s eye. He always did what he thought would help racing. Some people disagreed, that’s their issue. He squeezed it all in in too short a time.

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