Gary Brinson, who was the head starter at Del Mar and Betfair Hollywood Park and has worked on gate crews for over 40 years, has been named head starter for the current Quarter Horse night meet at Los Alamitos Race Course effective on Friday, June 13.
The new appointment follows the decision by John Baker to resign as the starter at Los Alamitos on Tuesday afternoon. Baker had been the man with his hand on the button of the starting gate here since September of 2005.
"We're grateful to John for nine years of service as the starter," said Ed Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos.
Jay Slender will be the starter at Los Alamitos during the daytime Thoroughbred meeting that opens Thursday, July 3. Brinson will concentrate on the night races during this time. Brinson has a wealth of experience manning the starting gate. He had been the head starter at Del Mar since 1997 and also served in that capacity at Hollywood Park. The late Marje Everett hired him for that job in 1984. Brinson has started horses at Los Alamitos in the past, and is known for his innovative decision of moving to the ground level to start races. Other starters around the country have since followed his lead.
A lifelong horseman, Brinson began walking hots and mucking stalls at a young age for his father, the late trainer Ross Brinson. Gary and his older brother, Clay, also rode as jockeys and were exercise riders. Clay trained Thoroughbreds at Los Alamitos for many years, winning 67 races with the breed here. Ross Brinson won the Hollywood Gold Cup in 1947 with Cover Up and trained in California for more than 65 years. .