Jerry & Joe Muniz
Before the sun awakens in the east, Joe Muniz is on the road, with his work gloves and lunch box by his side, ready to hit the trenches at his pipeline contracting company in Costa Mesa. It's simply been that way for more than 35 years. Such an incredible work ethic could be the reason that the 74-year-old self-taught businessman remains vibrant and strong, although the joys of Quarter Horses may have a little something to do with Muniz's high spirit.
You see Muniz is part owner of Chicks Beduino, one of the all-time great Quarter Horse sires and one of the most memorable horses ever to race in the west coast. The stallion's progeny has included some of the fastest horses in recent years including Corona Chick, Separatist, This Snow Is Royal and Chicks First Policy in addition to the only two horses to ever record 440-yard times in under :21 seconds in Evening Snow and Southern Beduino.
The Munizes first visited Los Alamitos as fans with their daughter Kathie and her husband, John Bobenrieth, in late 1970s. Not too long after, Muniz was back at the track, this time during morning workouts hoping to learn a little more about the sport.
"Joe kept talking about how much fun it would be own a horse," Jerri explained. "I finally told him, why don't you go out there, meet a trainer and see how you can buy a horse."
That's exactly what the always outgoing Muniz did, immediately striking a conversation with trainer Gary Sherlock, who would become the Munizes and Bobenrieths first trainer.
"We first leased a horse to be owners and then we started claiming horses," Muniz said. "One horse became two horses, two became three, three became 10. After Gary left, we met Connie and then Chicks Beduino came along.
"When we first got Chicks Beduino he looked alright in the mornings but nothing too exciting. Then when he worked for the first time, Connie called us and said, 'I think we may have something with this horse.' "
Hall could not have been more right as Chicks Beduino became a star by winning the Bay Meadows and Governor's Cup futurities while earning more than $412,099. As a sire, more than 70 stakes winners in addition to earners of $15 million have represented Chicks Beduino. And while their sire has provided the racing world with a slew of great perfomers, the Munizes, ironically, have felt like they're on the outside looking in.
"Jerri and I have not had a great runner since Speedy Chick in the early 1990s," Muniz said. "Elite Chick was another good runner we've had but we expected a little more than what she's done."
Speedy won the Inaugural Handicap and was the second fastest qualifier to the Governor's Cup Derby, but unfortunately he had to face the great Corona Chick and Holland Ease. Meanwhile, Elite Chick ran third to Champion Corona Kool in the Ed Burke Futurity in 1999 in addition to qualifying to the All American Futurity Consolation.