September 25, 2009
All business on the track, the stallion and racehorse was a gentleman with heart.
By Richard Chamberlain of The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal
Streakin La Jolla has gone to that great green pasture in the sky. The 1985 son of Streakin Six who became the racing industry’s all-time ninth-leading sire died June 11 at Granada Farms near Wheelock, Texas, of heart-related problems due to old age.
“He was a gentleman,” says Alvin “Bubba” Brossette, who in 1988 rode Streakin La Jolla to score in the Sound of Summer Derby at Delta Downs. “He was a stakes horse, and he was all business. He needed very little schoolin’ in the gate. Everything was pretty much automatic to him. He was never a horse to get antsy or panic. He was just a perfect horse to ride. He knew his job, and he did it. And it wasn’t that he got it from repetition or training – it was kind of natural. He just naturally knew what his job was.”
Bred by the Frisco, Texas-based partnership of AQHA Past President B.F. Phillips Jr. and Delbert Smith, Streakin La Jolla was one of 73 stakes winners by his sire and was out of the winning Raise Your Glass (TB) mare Bottom’s Up. Trained by Mike Lyles and undefeated in eight career races, Streakin La Jolla was scratched from the finals of the Firecracker Futurity (G1) and Firecracker Derby (G2) before retiring from the track with earnings of $56,227.
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“He slab-fractured as a 2-year-old,” says Bubba, 56, who hung up his tack after 3,361 wins made him the sport’s all-time winningest jockey. “They did surgery on him and brought him back as a 3-year-old. I qualified him for the Firecracker Derby, but he had a screw in his knee, and the screw began to back out of the knee. They had to go back in and take the screw out.”
But it was the horse’s connections who made the decision, not the horse.
“Any little bit of pain that he had when he went toward the starting gate, he blocked it out,” Bubba says. “Streakin La Jolla had a tremendous heart. Pain didn’t bother him. What problems he had, when it came to race time, he blocked them out and went and got the job done. The horse ran with a lot of problems. That’s what I remember most about him. He had more heart than any horse I know of, because of all the trauma that he had, and yet he still managed to be undefeated.”
Owned for the past 10 years by Robert and Karen Nunnally of Roberta, Georgia, Streakin La Jolla made his ultimate mark at stud. From 18 crops to race, the stallion has sired 728 winners from 1,092 starters and the earners of $22,160,757. Those include 77 stakes winners, 86 stakes placers and champions Mr Jess Perry and Streakin Sin Tacha.
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This year, Streakin La Jolla was represented by the earners of $1,245,786, including 74 winners (with eight in stakes), and he was ranked as 2008’s 26th-leading sire of earners – tying him with First To Shine as the 14th-leading sire of winners. Streakin La Jolla this year in April had sired the earners of $542,521, including Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G2) winner Streak N Attitude and John Deere AQHA Classic winner Heart Streakin.
Bubba rode a lot of Streakin La Jolla’s offspring. Now he trains them.
“He seems to pass on a lot of heart to his babies,” he says. “When they were talking about standing him at stud, Lee Ray Hayes owned him, and I assured Lee Ray that if he got some good mares, Streakin La Jolla would be an excellent stud because he had so much heart.
“He was one of the outstanding studs in the country and in the breeding business,” Bubba concludes. “He put a lot of heart into his foals, and he has made a tremendous contribution to our breed. His daughters made very excellent broodmares. Streakin La Jolla was a big step forward in the Quarter Horse racing world.”