Barbara Walter, who with late husband Robert was honored for a quarter century of successful breeding by induction into the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Hall of Fame earlier this year, died Oct. 31, according to the CTBA. She was 79.
The Walters, who owned Vine Hill Ranch near Sebastapol, Calif., came especially close to winning the 1996 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Their homebred Cavonnier was caught at the wire by Grindstone and lost by a nose. Cavonnier, who had won the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) prior to the Run for the Roses, was voted California Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.
In five different years, the Walters were the breeders of more than $1 million—in 1995-96 and 2000-02. Their best year was 1996, when they ranked second among California breeders with $1,814,583, largely through Cavonnier’s earnings of nearly $950,000.
The Walters also were the breeders and/or owners of grade I winners Lazy Slusan, Ringaskiddy, and Tout Charmont, who finished second in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). Their Charmonnier upset multiple Cal-bred champion Best Pal in the 1991 Wells Fargo Bank California Cup Classic.
Barbara Walter’s last stakes winner was homebred Robador, who won the $250,000 Cal National Snow Chief Stakes in 2005, two years after Robert Walter’s death.