Frank “Scoop” Vessels III was killed in a plane crash Aug. 11.
Vessels and a friend, Sam Cannell, died when the plane went down near Burns, Ore. According to preliminary information, the twin-engine Aero Commander 500B crashed under "unknown circumstances" about 9 a.m. approximately 70 miles south of Burns, said Ian Gregor, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. Burns is located about 135 miles east of Bend.
A leading breeder in both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industries, Vessels served as president of the American Quarter Horse Association and also as president of the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Vessels is best known for the creation and management of Vessels Stallion Farm at Bonsall, Calif.
Vessels’ grandfather, Frank Vessels Sr., started the family in racing. A Kentucky native who made his way to California in the 1930s, he was a breeder and owner of Quarter Horses and founded Los Alamitos Race Course in 1951. The family sold the track in 1984.
Under Scoop Vessels’ direction, Vessels Stallion Farm branched out into breeding and racing Thoroughbreds. Alone and in partnership, the farm is represented as breeder by 14 stakes winners, including graded winners Excessivepleasure, Notional, and River’s Prayer, whose big win came in the 2007 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I). Vessels Stallion Farm campaigned homebred stakes winners Russian Elite and Swift for Sure in partnership.
"The passing of Scoop will be hard for Quarter Horse racing not only in California but also nationally to overcome," said Edward "Doc" Allred, owner of Los Alamitos Race Course. "There could not be a person in this sport more significant in terms of ability, background and family heritage. Vessels Stallion Farm has been the dominant source of Quarter Horse racing bloodlines for many years and we depend on their racing stock. Above and beyond that, Scoop was devoted to this sport and the horses, not only Quarter Horses but Thoroughbreds as well.
"As a past president of the American Quarter Horse Association and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Scoop spent his life working in the production and promotion of fine horses. We will have to dig deep to overcome, survive and thrive as a sport without him. It will be a difficult task. It’s the biggest blow this industry could have suffered. We couldn’t have lost anyone of more importance. ”
Vessels Stallion Farm stands several stallions, including major Thoroughbred sire In Excess.
Vessels is survived by wife, Bonnie, and sons Bryan, Colt, and Kash.
Cannell was an architect from Redding, and was an owner and breeder. He was a partner on champion Little Bit Of Baja. He is survived by four daughters.