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February 4, 2012
Russ Ragain, the 11th all-time leading Arabian racehorse trainer at Los Alamitos Race Course, passed away on Saturday morning following complications from a massive heart attack he suffered on Sunday, January 29. A resident of Los Alamitos, Ragain was 55. He had been hospitalized at La Palma Community Hospital near his hometown.
Ragain was a lifelong Arabian horseman from the Volunteer State of Tennessee, which also produced great Arabian trainers Billy Lewis and Felix Payne. Ragain, a native of a small town called Greenback located near Knoxville, trained horses for more than 30 years. For 20 years, he was a fixture in the Arabian standings at Los Alamitos, conditioning several of breed’s biggest stars like 2002 Helen Logan Memorial Challenge and 2001 California Firecracker Futurity winner Kador De Blaziet and 2002 Los Alamitos Winter Distaff winner Vega CS. He also trained 2003 California Oaks winner Rodania Arbi. Ragain trained 93 Arabian race winners at Los Alamitos, a figure that ranked him 11th all-time here.
"I bought my first Arabian when I was 12-years-old from Arabian racing pioneer Dr. Sam Harrison,” Ragain once said. “I remember my dad would elbow every time I had to make a bid."
A few years later, Ragain went to work for Harrison, the legendary leader who helped established the Arabian Jockey Club and the Arabian Racing Cup series.
"I worked six or seven years with Dr. Sam before I went on my own."
Ragain worked for the top people in Arabian racing, including top owners Randi and Eric Moreau-Sipiere of Iowa and also Leslie Smith, a director of the Arabian Jockey Club and the chair of the Arabian Racing Association of California. Ragain saddled Smith’s first ever stakes winner when he sent Hes The Most to victory in the Cypress Open Stakes.
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