(from Hollywood Park)
A memorial celebration for Steve Warner, a highly successful small-time California breeder who headed the Fast Lane Farms ownership and breeding syndicate, is scheduled for May 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hollywood Park clubhouse owner-trainer lounge.
Warner, who owned a feed company for the Southern California racing circuit that he started by delivering carrots to backstretches in 1990, died at his Playa del Rey home April 25 after an eight-month battle with cancer. He was 65.
Only hours before his death, Unusual Smoke, a 4-year-old colt Warner co-bred for Fast Lane Farms, won the $150,000 TVG Khaled Stakes during the California Gold Rush program. Warner co-bred and co-owned Unusual Smoke’s dam, Smokin’ Charlotte, winner of the 2002 Gold Rush's Fran’s Valentine Stakes.
Warner had even greater success as the co-breeder of a pair of California-bred grade I stakes winners: Thor’s Echo, who won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) and an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter in 2006, and Dancing Edie, who won the John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar the same year. Dancing Edie finished eighth in 2006 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
"I bred three mares to California stallions, and two are going to the Breeders’ Cup," said Warner at the time. "What are the odds of that: five million to one?"
After Thor's Echo won the BC Sprint, the tattooed Warner, a former hippie, observed: "I haven't been this high since Woodstock."
Warner was a native of Philadelphia who moved to California in 1972. Formerly a menswear executive and sales and marketing specialist, he started out in racing as a small partner in the Clover Racing ownership syndicate. He formed his syndicate in 1991.
He and his wife, Andrea, were married for more than 40 years. They had two children, Serena and Brad.