Q-Racing Blog: All American Family

Apocalyptical Jess delivers priceless memories for several families.

AQHA Media

Apocalyptical Jess delivers priceless memories for several families.

When Bill Robbins’ Apocalyptical Jess crossed the finish line first in this year’s $3 million All American Futurity (G1), it was truly a family affair.

First, the horse was bred by his owner’s father-in-law, Danny Joe Miller, who has cultivated the mare line for several generations.

Second, Apocalyptical Jess is trained by Blane Wood; Blane’s father, Leo Wood, won the 1979 All American Futurity with Pie In The Sky. They are the only father-son duo to win the All American Futurity.

Blane was helping his father when Pie In The Sky gained his victory.

“I did everything my dad asked me to do,” Blane said. “I learned everything I know from my dad. I asked my dad one time, ‘How do you learn this stuff?’ and he said, ‘Trial and error. If it works, do it again. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it again.’ ”

It’s been working for Blane and the rest of his family, which is heavily involved with the Wood operation.

“My wife, Sandy, the love of my life, she does the books, keeps all the records and does a lot of the hard work,” Blane said. “Lacey, our daughter, helps with the books, as well, and, of course, Trey works his tail off. I have one grandson, Tren, who is going to college at Texas Tech, and he’s helping us. I am trying to make him go to college first and then worry about this later.”

“The foundation has been laid for a long time and we would just like to continue,” he continued. “I would like to win it again and then go from there. I would like to see, obviously, Trey win it. He does most of the work.”

There is a good chance that Trey will get the family three-peat.

“It’s all family oriented and we want it to be for our owners as well,” Blane said. “They are family and not just clients. We like to go out to eat and enjoy people. You gotta make it fun because you aren’t going to win every time. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.”

It has not always been good times for the Wood family. Sandy and Blane lost a granddaughter to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Lacey became ill and almost died, Trey nearly died from an accidental gunshot wound, and Blane was kicked by horse and that was nearly fatal.

“It puts things in perspective,” Blane said. “We try to enjoy each and every day because each and every day is a blessing.”

 
Blane Wood talks with All American winner
Apocalyptical Jess,
while Trey Wood holds the 
lead shank. PHOTO: AQHA Media

Quarter Horse racing training techniques have changed, and Blane has moved forward with those changes.

“The horses have changed so much. These horses are a lot faster than they used to be,” Blane said. “I think our training techniques have basically changed. As far as breaking one, that hasn’t changed at all. The training process, after you get them started, has changed. I think that you don’t track them as much as we used to. We don’t put as much pressure on them. I used to track them a lot. I think, over the years, horses can’t stand that pressure any more. I’d rather have a real fresh horse than a really fit and potentially sore horse.

“This business is very good, but it’s very challenging,” he said. “It makes me get up in the morning, look to the next yearling, the next horse, the next race, the next futurity. There is always a ‘next.’ ”

Now there is a second member of the Wood family who is an All American Futurity winner.

“When somebody learns that you train horses, the first thing they’ll say is, ‘Did you ever win that big race over there, the All American?’ ” Blane said. “Now we can say, ‘Yes, we have.’ It’s an awesome feeling and to enjoy it with your family and friends, who have been behind you for so long, is a blessing.”

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