Lin Melton, one of the top Quarter Horse conditioners in the history of the northwest region, is now training at Los Alamitos full-time.
"You are stuck with me now," Melton said with a smile. "We just bought a home in St. George, Utah and that's just a six-hour drive from Los Alamitos."
Since beginning his career in 1973, Melton has saddled more than 1,400 winners and the earners of more than $5 million. Stakes winners he's trained include Grade 1 winners Juno Dat Honor and Famous Chapelle, and Grade 2 winners Shes A Royal Flirt, Mr Deep Pockets, Royal Peepers and Famous Alibis. He also trained Los Alamitos Million Futurity runner-up Meteoric.
"The unstable situation of Quarter Horse racing in Idaho played an important part in my decision to stay here," he said. "Los Alamitos is a great place to run horse and the one thing you know is that there's racing here every single week."
Melton has won seven races from 65 starters this year, which currently makes him the 19th leading trainer at Los Alamitos. What's Melton's strategy to eventually reaching the top 10?
"I'll try to buy the best 2-year-olds possible and then we'll try to develop them into the best horses possible," Melton said. "When we've come here in the past our horses would have started in Idaho and from there we would have brought the better half to Los Alamitos. Right now we have all of our horses here and we are testing them to see what they can do. Many of these horses would not have made the trip here in past. We'll see what happens."
For many years, Melton raced horses out of Painted Rock Ranch in Terrebonne, Oregon, which was operated by his son Scott and his wife, Angela. Their homebred stakes winners included Fancy A Shag, Easy Misdemeanor and Paladium. Melton and his wife, Julie, have since sold their home in Kennewick, Washington before moving a home in St. George, Utah.
"St. George is a beautiful place and it is great in the winter. We train and break our horses at the track in St. George. They have a great year-round facility," Melton added.