Juan Garcia Retiring; Son to Take Stable
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2008 8:54 PM
Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2008 6:17 PM
Veteran Southern California trainer Juan Garcia, once known as the "King of Caliente," is officially retiring July 21 and turning over his stable to his son, Victor.
The 65-year-old Garcia began training in 1968 and had previously retired in 1992 only to return to the sport in 1996. Beginning with the Del Mar race program July 23, it will be Victor Garcia on the trainer's roster. He'll take over a stable numbering 25 horses.
The elder Garcia won his first grade I race in 2002 when the California-bred Ringaskiddy, a horse he claimed for $50,000 the year before, captured the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita.
He also saddled James Weigel's homebred Dream of Summer for three stakes victories in 2005, including the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. The California-bred daughter of Siberian Summer also won the 2004 A Gleam Invitational Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park and the 2005 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park.
Garcia returned to racing after his brief absence when he claimed Native Desert for $32,000 in 1996. One of the all-time best California breds, Native Desert went on to an eight-year racing career, winning 20 races for Garcia and finishing in the money in 50 of 74 starts. The gelding, who raced for Miguel Rubio, earned more than $1.8 million.
"I thought I would just start a small stable and have fun," Garcia said of his return to racing. "But it started getting big right away. I usually have 25 to 30 horses."
Garcia said he plans to manage businesses he operates in Tijuana. He won't disappear from the horse scene, one in which he has participated since age 6, he says. He expects to be a frequent visitor to the Del Mar barn area.
Victor Garcia has served as his father's assistant for the past four years. He trained on his own in the late 1980s, saddling Approved to Fly to a fourth-place finish in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
"Victor knows the business," his father said. "I'm very comfortable with turning the stable over to him."
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