Jim Walker, who bred and raised AQHA Supreme Racehorse and 2016 Champion of Champions winner Zoomin For Spuds, died on Tuesday, January 21. He was 87. Walker campaigned horses at Los Alamitos for more than a decade led by the 2016 AQHA champion 3-year-old gelding Zoomin For Spuds. Walker also bred and raced Bux For Cocktail, a full-sister to Zoomin For Spuds, Time For Jesse Lee, a graded stakes placed gelding, and Jesses Perfect One, a half-brother to both Zoomin For Spuds and Time For Jesse Lee.
As detailed in a profile story in the December 2019 edition of Speedhorse Magazine, Jim was born in 1932 to Willard and Jewel Walker in Casa Grande, Arizona. A few years later the Walkers moved to Northern California. Walker grew up around horses, but he always wanted one of his very own. At the age 8 and after saving every nickel and penny that he could, Jim purchased his first horse. While attending high school in Grass Valley near Nevada City, Walker met his lifelong sweetheart JoAn, who would later become his wife. After high school, Jim served in the Army and attended studied business at Sacramento State University. He would eventually start Walker Sand and Gravel, building the company to multi-million dollar company, which is now run by his son, Jim Jr. Walker was also a contractor working on large projects like dams, roads, airports, etc. In the mid-1970s, the Walkers moved to Bellevue, Idaho. Walker Farms remains in Bellevue and is home to Walker’s breeding operation.
As he became more involved in racing, Walker formed a great partnership with the Arrossas. Monty Arrossa trained Zoomin For Spuds to victory in the Champion of Champions and worked with all of Jim’s racehorses over the past years at Los Alamitos. Monty’s father, Pete, drove chariot horses for Walker, an activity that Monty would also take part in some 20 years ago as well. Zoomin For Spuds, or “Spudsie” as his connections called him, is the horse that Walker’s will mostly be remembered for at Los Alamitos. The homebred son of Zoomin For Bux is one of only six Quarter Horse to qualify four or more times to the Champion of Champions. Zoomin For Spuds has earned $815,771 in his career with 14 wins from 42 starts.
"I pulled him out of his mother," Walker once said. “First person he saw in this world was me grinning. I knew he was going to win (the Wild West Futurity). I never doubted it and I never wanted to think anything different. There's no other way to think. I feel lucky that at my age I was blessed with some good horses.”
"He was always thinking ahead and always thinking about what was next,” Arrossa said. “Even when Idaho is getting pounded with snow, he’s out on a loader moving snow and chasing elk out of his place. He was always positive, encouraging and was always ready to motivate me.”
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