Terryll Griffeth is one of the pioneers in the Quarter Horse breeding industry. For the past 10 years, she has been a forerunner in the multiple embryo transfer breeding process in which an embryo is removed from a donor mare and placed in a surrogate mare.
The practice enables a mare to be pregnant multiple times during the February to June breeding season and has become more common since the American Quarter Horse Association started allowing more than one embryo transfer foal from a single mare to be registered for racing in the same year.
"It has the obvious advantages of being able to continue to breed these older mares without having them have to carry it themselves and [breeding] the younger mares and bring the mare back to the racetrack," said Griffeth, who runs her breeding operation with husband Chuck.
The Griffeths benefited from this process by being able to breed aged mare Rr Le Mistral with sire First Down Dash to produce champion The Down Side, who won the 2003 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Terryll said breeding The Down Side has been the highlight of a career that has spanned more than 30 years.
"We've been doing it for a long, long time," she said. "We had show horses in the '70s, and we got introduced to Quarter Horse racing through friends of ours and decided to make the change from show horses to racehorses and have kind of built on it since then. We got involved in it a little bit at a time, and it just kind of grew."
The Griffeths also bred Fishers Tale, who was second in the 2005 Ed Burke Million Futurity and third in the 2005 Golden State Million Futurity. Up until approximately six months ago, the Griffeths had worked in partnership with longtime breeder James Markum.
Along with breeding, the Griffeths also own Quarter Horses, and some of their recent runners have been their best. Million Dollar Kool competed in the inaugural running of the Los Alamitos Million in 1995. They have two Quarter Horses who have run at Los Alamitos Race Course this year, one of whom, Shining Down, won an allowance race in January and captured the Corona Kool Handicap in August 2005.
Outside of the racetrack, the Griffeths, who live in Rosamond, Calif., about 110 miles from Los Alamitos Race Course, operate a machine shop. Terryll said that Chuck hopes to retire soon from that business.
"We would like to keep a small band of broodmares and continue breeding and racing a few, and that's what we'd like to do," Terryll said.
The future of the Griffeth breeding operation could rest with Terryll and Chuck's son, Dane, and daughter-in-law, Cindy, who live in Georgia. Cindy Griffeth raises Paso Fino show horses, but Terryll said they might be interested in switching to racehorses, just like she and Chuck did 30 years ago.