Eastex Dies

Legendary champion dies at 31.

Speedhorse Press Release
April 12, 2013

Eastex

Eastex. PHOTO: Speedhorse Magazine

Eastex (Texas Dancer (TB)-Tall Cotton by Easy Jet) was euthanized March 25 due to complications of old age. The 31-year-old gelding held the distinction of being the all-time leading money earning 2-year-old for 27 years, only to be overtaken by Stolis Winner in 2008. Eastex earned $1,573,622 as a 2-year-old. He raced until 5 years of age and retired with $1,869,406 from a race record of 31-13(4)-4(1)-5(3).

Eastex was bred by Dr. and Mrs. H. D. Hall of Ada, Oklahoma, and was foaled in 1982. He won his first start in a 250-yard maiden race at Manor Downs, and went on to win the Grade 1 All American, Dash For Cash and Bay Meadows futurities, as well as 10 other races. He also finished third in the Grade 1 Kindergarten and Golden State futurities, and set a 350-yard track record in the Bay Meadows Futurity trials for a career-high 106 speed index. Eastex was the AQHA High-Money Earning Horse, earned AQHA Supreme Race Horse honors, and was named champion 2-year-old and champion 2-year-old gelding.

At 3, Eastex won the Golden State Derby (G1) and finished second in the El Primero Del Ano Derby (G1). He suffered an injury to his hind leg when in transit from California to Ruidoso Downs. The damage was thought to be minor and Eastex continued on to New Mexico. He finished third in the trials to the All American Derby, qualified and ran sixth in the finals.

Eastex never returned to his former brilliance following the accident, and he never made it to the winner's circle again. He did, however, finish third in the Vessels Maturity (G1), and was a finalist in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, World's Championship Classic, All American Gold Cup, Horsemen's QHRA Championship, Champion of Champions and Peninsula Championship.

Eastex returned to the track in 1990 to lead the post parade for the race named in his honor at Remington Park. In 1993, he was sold by his breeder to interests in Mexico, and was later spotted wearing racing plates at a barn near El Paso, Texas. Andy Golden of Speedhorse negotiated his purchase for $10,000, and Eastex was returned to Oklahoma.

Eastex was rescued by a group of dedicated horsemen, who came forward to help pay for him. His honorary owners included Gail Butler, Andy and Jean Chavers, Sandy and Bob Erwin, Richard Fell DVM, Kenneth Freund, Robert Gentry, Jim and Marilyn Helzer, Jeff Holmes, Roger Knight Esq., Alfred Marez, Linda and Jerry Minter, Bruce and Rexanne Pilkenton, Joe and Joyce Platt, Paula Platt, Dee and Betty Raper (Belle Mere Farms), Joella Rogers, Ernie Rowe, Ron and Melany Shalz, the John Shaw family, Gerald Vetter, Jerry Windham, Butch Wise and Lazy E Ranch, Robert and Cynthia Zoch, Blue Ribbon Downs, Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association, and his Speedhorse family.

Eastex continued to make "celebrity" appearances across the country, as well as lead the post parade for the Eastex Handicap at Remington Park. He spent the first 10-years of his retirement at Andy Golden's ranch in Norman, Oklahoma, and Speedhorse continued to provide for his room and board when he moved across the street to Dee and Betty Raper's Belle Mere Farm.

Eastex developed cataracts in one eye and injured it in 2002, never again to regain his sight in that eye. In spite of his old age, he was high-spirited, in good health, and enjoyed his retirement grazing on green pasture. At the age of 31, the hard decision was made. Eastex was buried near one of his old pasturemates at Dee and Betty Raper's farm south of Norman, Oklahoma. The noble and proud Eastex was and always will be known as the "Champion."

Watch a documentary on Eastex.