Chuck Jenda, who conditioned Northern California’s first Eclipse Award winner, Brown Bess, has retired from training after a successful 36-year career.
The 65-year-old Jenda took out his trainer’s license in 1976 after learning the business from trainers Olen Battles, Charlie Comiskey, and Mort Lipton. According to statistics from Equibase, Jenda started 8,410 horses and won 1,477 races, good for a career win percentage of 17.5. His horses finished in the money 47% of the time and earned $24,661,645 in purses.
Jenda trained numerous stakes winners in addition to Brown Bess, including Hallowed Envoy, A B Noodle, Sir Alfred, Yearly Tour, New Advantage, Mangaki, Windy City Envoy, Gaelic’s Fantasy, Tanya’s Tuition, Casa Petrone, Free to Move, Watch Rachel, Night Letter, Dayla, and Time to Spare.
Brown Bess provided Jenda with his biggest victory when she captured the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita in 1989. The decisive win against stellar competition clinched the Eclipse Award for Brown Bess as the nation’s top female grass horse that year.
Jenda ranked among the top trainers in Northern California for several years. He tied for second in the trainer standings at Golden Gate Fields in 1994 after finishing third in the standings at the 1992 and 1993 meetings. He also finished third in the standings at the 1994-1995 Bay Meadows meeting.
He saddled his last horse on Dec. 16 at Golden Gate Fields and saw his charge, Live Sundays, finish third in the third race. Jenda and his wife, Susan, resided in Castro Valley but are currently in the process of moving to Spokane, Wash.
“It was a good run,” said Jenda of his training career. “Brown Bess was great, but to me, Hallowed Envoy was right up there too. He won a lot of stakes in Northern California.”
Hallowed Envoy competed in the 1980s and won a record 18 stakes in Northern California.
Victor Trujillo, who galloped Brown Bess and has served as Jenda’s longtime assistant trainer, has taken over many of Jenda's former horses.