Washington Hall of Fame trainer Bud Klokstad dies at age 79 | Emerald Downs

Bud Klokstad, one of the greatest trainers in state history, died early Wednesday morning at his home in Northern California.

Klokstad, 79, was found dead at the family's condominium in Richmond, Calif., not far from Golden Gate Fields where Klokstad maintained a string of runners.

A member of the Washington Racing Hall of Fame, Klokstad had been in poor health for several months and had spent time in the hospital recently for a kidney ailment. Nevertheless, he continued to win races at a high percentage*he was six-for-22 in 2012 including a victory Saturday by Majestic Afleet, a 5-year-old gelding owned by his wife Billie and longtime client Art McFadden.

Born March 1, 1933 and reared on the plains of North Dakota, Bud Klokstad began his training career in 1955.Along the way he conditioned many of the fastest horses in Washington history while finishing second in career stakes wins at both Longacres (54) and Emerald Downs (43).

No horse was faster than the brilliant gelding Chinook Pass, a Washington-bred son of Native Born whom Klokstad conditioned to a world record time of :55-1/5 for five furlong, set Sept. 17, 1982 at Longacres. Chinook Pass next conquered Southern California, winning three stakes for trainer Laurie Anderson, before returning home to capture the 1983 Longacres Mile in his final race. Chinook Pass later was voted the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding sprinter.

Klokstad also developed a reputation for developing 2-year-olds, saddling a record seven winners of the Gottstein Futurity, including 1992 Longacres Horse of the Meeting Staff Rider, a Washington-bred son of Staff Writer who won five stakes and a then single-season earnings record of $280,549.

At Emerald Downs, Klokstad conditioned the filly Ropersandwranglers to a track record seven consecutive stakes victories from 1996-98 and three division championships. Flying Notes, voted 2002 Horse of the Meeting, turned in one of the most exceptional races in track history for Klokstad while winning the 2002 Emerald Downs Derby in a state record 1:45-2/5 for 1-1/8 miles.

Klokstad also trained the state's No. 1 all-time filly or mare earner Peterhof's Patea, a 1988 Peterhof foal voted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame after winning 16-of-52 starts and earning $623,367.

Klokstad, who last trained regularly at Emerald Downs in 2008, was planning to return here this season and had been granted 19 stalls for the 2012 meeting that begins April 13. Owner Gordy Jarnig, who enjoyed spectacular success with Klokstad in the claiming game, haltering stalwarts like Reba Is Tops and Upstairs Maid, said the trainer would be missed.

"If you didn't know Bud, he could be a little hard to understand," Jarnig said. "He had that my way or the highway thing with the horses, but I loved the guy and always enjoyed talking to him and listening to him. It's really sad."

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