He began his career as a trainer in 1940, and he continued in that profession well into the twenty-first century. And in between, he rightly earned a place in the sport's annals for his success and longevity.
A respected horseman and mainstay in California racing for well over six decades, Warren Stute was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1921. He left his native state when his family moved to California in 1934, the same year Santa Anita opened following the passage of legislation allowing for parimutuel wagering.
It was not known at the time, but that legislation and Santa Anita becoming part of the racing landscape would factor heavily into Warren's professional life.
Six years after moving to California, Warren embarked on a training career, and he saddled his first winner that same year at Tijuana's Agua Caliente racetrack. What Warren was not aware of, however, was that many more visits to the winners' circle awaited him.
Throughout his career, Warren guided many horses to stakes victories. One such horse was Great Circle, and the horse and trainer teamed up to take the 1950 Del Mar Derby. An ever bigger win came in the 1951 Santa Anita Maturity (later the Charles H. Strub Stakes and then simply Strub Stakes), which boasted a purse topping $140,000 and was the richest race in the world. Those were not the only major stakes victory for Warren that year, for he guided Tonga to first place in the first-ever Del Mar Debutante.
The collection of stakes only grew. Among the races Warren won in subsequent years were events like the following:
-1957 Santa Ynez Stakes with Sully's Trail
-1963 Santa Monica Stakes with Table Mate
-1970 Charles H. Strub Stakes with Snow Sporting
-1970 Del Mar Futurity with June Darling
-A division of the 1970 Yellow Ribbon Handicap with La Sevillana
-1978 Rancho Bernardo Handicap with Happy Holme
-1982 Inglewood Handicap with Maipon
-1989 Grade II Hollywood Juvenile Championship with Magical Mile
-1999 Real Good Deal Stakes with Guillermo
There are two wins in particular that really stand out in Warren's career, and they both came teaming up with one of his best horses, Grey Memo. The first came in 2002, when he captured one of the biggest races, the Goldolphin Mile, which boasted a $1 million purse. The other came in 2000, when Grey Memo captured the Snow Chief Stakes. Grey Memo was actually a grandson of Snow Chief, and the 1986 Preakness Stakes winner was trained by none other than Warren's brother, Mel.
Snow Chief and the Stute family are of course forever linked, and the 2000 Snow Chief Stakes had to have been a unique and poignant moment for the Stutes. Given the history from years past, it had to have been fate.
All of the stakes wins listed are symbolic of Warren's staying power. He did not have a massive stable, but he knew how to train a horse and get them ready for a race, including the ones at the highest level.
In addition to Grey Memo, Warren trained several talented Thoroughbreds. Among Warren's finest horses were:
-Above the Table, who counted the 1994 Ballerina Stakes and 1996 Irish O'Brien Handicap among her wins
-Bright Magic, winner of the 1999 Fleet Treat and CTBA Marian Stakes
-Figonero, an Argentine-bred who captured the 1969 American Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Del Mar Handicap (where he set a world record time of 1:46 1/5 for 1 1/8 miles) along with the 1971 San Francisco Mile
-Go Go, who had a big 2001 with wins in the Grade III Las Flores, Las Cienegas and Desert Stormer Handicaps along with the Grade II A Gleam Handicap
-Magical Maiden, who placed in several graded stakes and won a pair of Grade I events in the 1991 Hollywood Starlet and 1992 Las Virgenes as well as taking third in the 1992 Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff. She went on to win the 1993 Grade II Chula Vista Handicap (now the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes)
-My Favorite Moment, winner of Del Mar's 1985 Bing Crosby Handicap and Orange Coast Handicap at Los Alamitos
And those are just a small sample of what Warren achieved on the racetrack.
Many in racing knew how good Warren was as a trainer. In 2003, he and Mel were both honored by the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT), and the brothers also received the 2006 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Award, which is presented to "an individual who has served the sport with integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction."
Warren, who was an Armed Forces veteran, continued training horses until just months before he passed away in August 2007 at the age of 85. He had a lasting influence on Mel, as Jay Hovdey once wrote when the Stutes were honored by the CTT. "Ask Mel to name the best trainer he has ever known, and he will say in a heartbeat, "My big brother."
Warren had an impact not just on his brother Mel, but on others, too. His son, Glen, trained horses, and Warren is still remembered by local racetrackers and figures in racing today, and with good reason. He worked hard for his accomplishments, including his more than 1,900 wins. And his longevity speaks volumes of his love and dedication to Thoroughbred racing.
And it goes without saying that Warren Stute rightly earned his place in California racing history.
Began career in 1940: Bloodhorse Staff. "Trainer Warren Stute Dead at 85." Blood-Horse, August 9, 2007. https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/158748/trainer-warren-stute-dead-at-85
"an individual who has..." No author listed. "Stute Brothers Named Pincay Award Winners." Blood-Horse, June 24, 2006. bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/164700/stute-brothers-named-pincay-award-winners
First winner at Agua Caliente: "Ask Mel to name..." Hovdey, Jay. "The California Thoroughbred Trainers Honor Mel and Warren Stute." Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, April 21, 2003. https://gregsonfoundation.com/mel-warren-stute-honored/
"Ask Mel to name..." Hovdey, Jay. "The California Thoroughbred Trainers Honor Mel and Warren Stute. Edwin J. Gregson Foundation, April 21, 2003. https://gregsonfoundation.com/mel-warren-stute-honored/
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