Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trainer Snapshot: Longtime California Thoroughbred Trainer Mel Stute

The first in a weekly series spotlighting California trainers.

In choosing someone for my new series of posts on California trainers, I didn't have to think twice about who should be the first. Few trainers in California are as well respected and beloved as Mel Stute, who has been training here for more than 60 years.

Stute took a few minutes after training hours at Del Mar to talk about his experience as a trainer, and life in general. He discusses training methods and how they have changed over the years. He also offers a few insights about life, having just celebrated 59 years of marriage to Annabelle.

Born in 1927 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Mel is the father of trainer Gary Stute and younger brother of trainer Warren Stute, who passed away in 2007.

He has won 12 training titles, including three at Hollywood Park and seven at Fairplex Park, where he is the all-time leader in races won. He was the first inductee into Fairplex Park's Hall of Fame in 2003. In his honor, there is a "Mel Stute Bar" in the Clubhouse at Hollywood Park and a "Stute's Sports Bar" at Fairplex Park. In 2006, he shared the third annual Laffit Pincay Jr. Award with his brother, Warren -- an award that is presented for integrity, extraordinary dedication, determination and distinction in the sport.

Trainer Mel Stute
Stute trained Eclipse Award winners Snow Chief (1986 Three-Year-Old) and Brave Raj (1986 Two-Year-Old Filly). The long list of stakes winners he has trained also includes Very Subtle, Double Discount, Klassy Kim, Telly's Pop, Real Connection, Right Con, and Buffythecenterfold.

Stute underwent heart bypass surgery in 2000 but was back to work within two weeks. At 82, he's still going strong. His years of experience and willingness to share his knowledge make Mel Stute an invaluable resource for California horseracing.


Ryan said...

Excellent post Mary! I'm looking forward to the next one.

Shrink and Grow said...

Great post! Thanks, and I love the idea of a weekly trainer spot too! Look forward to seeing who is next!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary,

Mel Stute is a senior icon. I wish we could find more ways to honor those who have brought honor to the greatest game. rwwupl

zraces said...

How is this man not in the Hall Of Fame? He has done so much, with homebreds whose pedigrees were weak, with so few high dollar purchases... He won the Breeders Cup sprint against the boys with Very Subtle, who barely gets a mention! East Coast Bias!!!

TurfRuler said...

First visit but you have the right buzz for my taste! I will continue to follow your blog since I'm on the east coast but I sure wish I was back where it all started for me in Southern California

Michael Cusortelli said...

My fondest memory of Mel Stute was when he trained Telly's Pop for Telly Savalas in the mid-70s. I was at Bay Meadows when they won the California Juvenile Stakes in 1975, and at Golden Gate the next year when they won the California Derby. Great memories!

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