Vernon Rasner has seen it all in his 35 years in horse racing. He has watched Los Alamitos Race Course develop into the nation's premier Quarter Horse track and enjoyed watching legendary sprinters like Kaweah Bar, Town Policy and Charger Bar.
He's witnessed memorable records set by the likes of Corona Chick and Dash For Cash, and had the pleasure of seeing the great jockeys ride night after night. Above all, the 80-year-old owner fondly remembers the night his horse, Shawnes Diamond, beat the great World Champion Refrigerator in 1992.
"Talk about a great thrill," Rasner said. "I certainly didn't expect Shawnes Diamond to beat Refrigerator, but that's what made it so much fun. I wish I get another horse like Shawnes Diamond. He was a good horse."
Rasner had never seen Shawnes Diamond in action prior to purchasing the 3-year-old for $32,000 at a sale in Pomona in 1991. His racing lines were enough as far as the owner was concerned. "His records showed that he was a good horse," he said. To Rasner's pleasure, Shawnes Diamond turned out to be a little more than just a "good" horse.
"Not too long after I bought him he won a derby at Los Alamitos. That practically got me even on his purchase price and the next year he beat Refrigerator in the Go Man Go."
Rasner still has Shawnes Diamond by his side, as the gelding is enjoying life at the owner's Diamond R Ranch in Riverside. The ranch is the home for more than 60 horses and it features a full training facility. Having been involved in the paint business for many years, the obvious question to Rasner is whether he'll join the growing trend of racing Paint Horses at Los Alamitos.
"I don't know, I guess I might. There's more chances to run them now so that's a possibility," he added.
And why not? It would be something new and fun for a man who's seen it all.