LARC NEWS Posted: 11/12/2018 6:35:21 AM

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            Luke Myles, a leading rider at Los Alamitos from the 1970s to the early 1990s, passed away on Sunday after an illness. He was 67.

Born on June 21, 1951 in Hugo, Oklahoma, Myles won 687 Quarter Horse races and 29 stakes races at Los Alamitos during an outstanding riding career. Quiet and unassuming, Myles was highly respected by his peers because of his professionalism and riding prowess. He was a perennial top 10 rider at the Cypress track in an era in which the local jockey colony was perhaps among the best ever in the history of Quarter Horse racing. Myles contemporaries included all-time greats like Bobby Adair, Danny Cardoza Charles Smith, Kenneth Hart, James Dreyer, Ron Banks, Steve Treasure, James Lackey, John Ward, James Brooks, Robert Bard, John Creager, Ralph Pauline, Henry Garcia, Danny Mitchell, Donald Knight, John Watson, Jerry Richards, Kenny Clerisse, and more.

“A trainer would lose a great jockey for his horse, but the trainer could walk into the room and find 10 jockeys that were as good or better as the rider being replaced,” Dreyer said. “Luke was among the top riders during that time. He was a very good guy and an excellent jockey. He wasn’t much of a talker. He just went about his business the right way.”

During the early years of the Champion of Champions, Myles was a fixture in the 440-yard race. He rode the champion gelding Come Six in the inaugural running of the Champion of Champions won by Mr Jet Moore in 1972 where they would finish in seventh place. Myles and Come Six were back in the Champion of Champions the following year and this time they finished third to the Hall of Fame mare Charger Bar. Myles would ride Southern Gentleman to a fifth place finish behind AQHA World Champion Dash For Cash in the 1976 Champion of Champions and a year later Native Creek to a fourth place finish, again behind the great Dash For Cash, in the 1977 running of the Champion of Champions. He rode Shadow Moon Walk in the 1978 renewal and then for Ed Allred he piloted Rich Gritch in the 1980 edition and Private Practice in the 1981 running.

“Private Practice is one of my favorite horses of all-time and Luke did a great job riding him many times,” Allred said on Sunday night. ”Luke rode a lot of my horses.”

In addition to the Champion of Champions, Myles also piloted Private Practice to back to back victories of the Mr California Handicap when the race was held twice during the 1981 racing season. For Allred, he piloted Rich Gritch to victory in the 1980 Golden State Derby.       

Myles also piloted the multiple Grade 1 winner Wicked Dash in the 1990 Champion of Champions and Dash Master Miss in the 1992 running. He had previously guided Dash Master Miss to victory in the 1992 Kansas Derby. Among his Los Alamitos stakes wins, Myles guided Ali Alibi to a score in the Grade 2 Shu Fly Handicap in 1975 and Native Creek to victories in the St Nicholas and Cypress Handicap in 1976. At 870 yards, Myles piloted Three Wild Chances to wins in the Table Tennis Handicap and Marathon Handicap in 1982. He rode Game Charger to win the 1979 War Chic Handicap and Movin West to a score in the 1985 Anne Burnett Handicap. He also enjoyed stakes wins with the likes of Shadow Moon Walk, Bound Passem, I Can Go and Mystery Moon just to name a few.

            Among the most famous race that Myles was involved in took place at the Hipódromo de las Américas in México City, Mexico where he piloted Mildred Roe’s aforementioned Come Six in a match race against Justo Fernández Ávila’s ultra-fast Thoroughbred Beduino. A gelding by Azure Te, Come Six was the 440-yard track record holder at Ruidoso Dows and at Centennial Racetrack near Denver, Colorado, making his a worthy adversary to the great Beduino. The match race took place February 24, 1974 in front of a crowd estimated at 50,000 racing fans. Leaving from post number four, Come Six flew out of the gate, as expected, to take a daylight advantage, however, after 200 yards the two stars were back evenly racing down the straightaway. The race was tight for the next 100 yards, but in the final 80, Beduino switched to a higher gear to take the lead for good. With Myles doing everything possible, Come Six posted a personal best time at 440 yards, but it was Beduino’s :21.3 clocking that proved to be too much. Nevertheless, it was a race for the ages and Myles was a key figure in this historic event.

            Myles was living in Harrah, Oklahoma, just outside of Oklahoma City, at the time of his passing. He is survived by his daughter, Mandy Wendel, her husband, Dallas, their three children Bella, Jonah, and Kendal; and his son Luke Myles III, his wife, Vanessa, and their children Luke and Avery. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

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