-Won Bayer Legend California Challenge with Inthetwinkleofaneye in 2002
-Won 2003 California Breeders' Matron Stakes with Inthetwinkleofaneye
-Won the PCQHRA Breeders' Derby with Stel Corona in 2003
"I look for quality; quality in the breeding and eventually in stature," Sperry said about buying racehorses. "Until you run them, you never really know how they are going to turn out, but you try and pick out the best you can. I'm looking for the best horses I can afford to buy."
Sperry, who is a member of the California Horse Racing Board, ran the grocery clerk's union in Orange County for more than 30 years before retiring a year ago. He has owned racehorses for 25 years and was first exposed to horse racing when his father raced thoroughbreds in the late 1920's and early 1930's.
In addition to owning racehorses, Sperry also owns mares at his ranch in Hemet, Calif. With the expectation of having six foals next year, Sperry said he may choose to resell some foals as yearlings and keep others to race depending upon how they mature.
"I've loved horses all my life," Sperry said, "and when I was younger would always try to sneak out to Los Alamitos. I can even remember when the Vessels owned the ranch before the track was built at Los Alamitos, and they would run races in the other direction."
Sperry said he currently owns 22 horses, eight of which are racing. He is the owner of Stel Corona, who won the 2003 PCQHRA Breeders Derby, and Inthetwinkleofaneye, winner of the 2002 Bayer Legend California Challenge. AQHA Champion Trainer Paul Jones has trained Sperry's horses for more than a decade. In fact, Sperry was one of the champion trainer's first clients.
My dad raced Thoroughbreds in the '20s and '30s, so I've always been interested in horses my whole life, he said of his early roots in horse racing. My wife (the late Carol Sperry) and I never really had great horse but we were always looking for one, John said a few years ago. We never had a stakes winner, but we bred to the best that we could.
Stakes wins have now became a regular occurrence for the owner thanks to homebreds Inthetwinkleofaneye and the the speedy Stel Corona, the former owner of the fastest 300-yard time ever for a 2-year-old at Los Alamitos. Inthetwinkleofaneye won three stakes races in 2002, including the Bayer Legend California Challenge.