Service Set for California Breeder Qvale

Owner and breeder of three California champions died Nov. 1 at the age of 94.

A memorial service for Kjell H. Qvale, a former majority owner and president of Golden Gate Fields and a longtime owner and breeder of racehorses in California, will be held Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. PST at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., in San Francisco.

He died Nov. 1 at the age of 94.

In addition to serving as president of Pacific Racing Association (Golden Gate Fields), Qvale served as chairman of the board of Bay Meadows and chairman of the board of the California Jockey Club. He was a member of the California Racing Hall of Fame and regularly ranked among the state’s top 10 breeders in the 1980s and 1990s.

Qvale was represented by three California champions, including multiple graded-stakes winner Silveyville, the 1984 California Horse of the Year who won the Hollywood Derby (gr. I) in 1981 and earned $1,282,880.

Qvale also bred and owned Variety Queen (California’s champion 3-year-old filly in 1979) and Variety Baby (California’s champion 2-year-old filly in 1987), as well as Variety Road, a two-time grade I winner who earned $964,540. He also campaigned the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Tribesman, victor of the $150,000 California Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in 2008.

A native of Norway, Qvale was a legend in the automotive world and was one of the first auto dealers to import European sports cars to the U.S.  He owned and operated British Motor Car Distributors Ltd. in San Francisco until his passing.

Qvale is survived by two sons, Jeff and Bruce; seven grandchildren; and one great grandchild.