JOE MUNIZ, 94, A PART-OWNER OF THE GREAT CHICKS BEDUINO, PASSES AWAY
Joe Muniz, who campaigned horses at Los Alamitos for more than 40 years and was an integral part of the ownership of the champion racehorse and great stallion Chicks Beduino, passed away from heart failure on Thursday said his son-in-law, John Bobenrieth. Muniz was 94.
An ever-present figure at Los Alamitos Race Course, Muniz simply loved Quarter Horse racing. He first visited Los Alamitos as fans with their daughter Kathie and her husband, John Bobenrieth, in late 1970s. Not too long after, Muniz was back at the track, this time during morning workouts hoping to learn a little more about the sport. Even before he owned his first horse, Muniz would tell people how much fun it would be to own a horse. His wife, Jerri Muniz, encouraged him to “go out there, meet a trainer and see how you can buy a horse.”
With Quarter Horse racing having sparked his curiosity, Muniz did just that. He struck a conversation with trainer Gary Sherlock, and eventually he would become the Munizes and Bobenrieths first trainer. The new racing partners first leased a horse to learn the subtleties of horse ownership. Then they started claiming horses. One horse became two horses, two became three, and so forth. They eventually had a double-digit number of horses in their barn. After Gary Sherlock, Denny Ekins trained horses for the partners followed by trainer Connie Hall. Soon after the Connie Hall-trained Chicks Beduino came along. After his first workout, they knew they had a racehorse.
Chicks Beduino became a California racing sensation by winning the Bay Meadows and Governor's Cup futurities. He won his first start, running 300 yards in 15.59 seconds on a sloppy track. He then set the fastest qualifying time for the Bay Meadows Futurity, winning his trial by more than four lengths. He set a track record in the Bay Meadows Futurity at 350 yards on the way to earning $419,099 in his racing career.
Chicks Beduino’s everlasting mark in Quarter Horse racing came as a sire, as he sired the earners of more than $35.5 million, making him the sport’s eighth leading stallion in earnings. The stallion's progeny has included some of the fastest horses in Quarter Horse racing’s history including Corona Chick, Separatist, This Snow Is Royal and Chicks First Policy in addition to the first two horses to record 440-yard times in under :21 seconds in Evening Snow and Southern Beduino. By 2003, he was multiple champion sire, the second all-time living sire of money earners, and the No. 1 leading sire of money earners and No. 2 leading sire of winners.
A Costa Mesa native, Muniz played football as a blocking back at Harbor High in the mid-1940s. He married the former Jerri Conner, which would lead to three children. Muniz would enjoy great professional success, as one of the most respected pipeline contractors in Southern California. He was a self-taught business with an incredible work ethic, and the joys and social aspects of Quarter Horse racing helped to keep Muniz’s high spirit and helped balance his professional responsibilities.
In addition to Chicks Beduino, Muniz also campaigned stakes winner Speedys Chick, who had the difficult task of facing all-time greats Corona Chick and Holland Ease during her futurity and derby years. He also raced Elite Chick, finished third to champion Corona Kool in the 1999 Ed Burke Million Futurity. The Munizes and trainer Juan Aleman raced the colt Duke Kahanamoku, who earned over $85,000 in his solid, yet brief racing career. He finished third in the 2011 El Primero Del Año Derby and qualified to the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity. In recent years, he partnered with Wayne Lyle to campaign several horses at Los Alamitos.
“He still loved Quarter Horse racing,” Bobenrieth said. “Over the past year, he wished all the time that he could go the track. He had a pretty good career in Quarter Horse racing.”
More information will be shared as it becomes available.