Steve Buttgenbach, a popular veterinarian on Southern California backstretches, died May 15 in his La Canada, Calif., home from complications of cancer. He was 64.
Buttgenbach began working the circuit in 1972 and was associated with trainers such as Henry Moreno, Tommy Doyle, John Canty, John Sullivan, Ray Bell and Neil Drysdale. His long-standing work with Drysdale helped 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy and champions Princess Rooney, Tasso, Hollywood Wildcat and Fiji.
“I knew Steve for 30 years,” said veterinarian Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board. “He was very consistent and very professional. He cared about horses and he cared about horse racing. He was a very personable individual. It’s a sad loss.”
Buttgenbach grew up in the Marina area of San Francisco and graduated from the University of California-Davis. He worked for Dr. Bob Baker in Chino before starting to work at the track. He spent 1974 in France working for the Wildenstein stable when it won the Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) with Allez France.
Buttgenbach is survived by two sons Adam, 21, and Alex, 17, and sister Stephanie Lloyd.