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HRN Original Blog:
Bay Area Backstretch

Kjell Qvale and Cahill Chrome ready for a new challenge

Long time followers of Golden Gate Fields know the name Kjell Qvale.

For 14 years, he owned majority interest in the track and also served as president of it, as well as the post of chairman of the California Jockey Club board.  If you haven’t heard of him, maybe you’ve heard of a few of his best horses.

The two that stand out are Silveyville and Tribesman. Silveyville won 19 times in his career and made $1.2 million and won such races as the Grade 1  Hollywood Derby (in 1981) and the Grade 3 Golden Gate Handicap. Tribesman, who last ran in November, has won five stakes races and set the current track record for 6 furlongs of 1:08.35 back in 2007 when winning the Sausalito Stakes.

He’s owned so many horses, that one tends to forget a few when naming them. Although decreasing in numbers over the years, Qvale can boast one thing. At the age of 92, he is still a big part of the sport that has been such a big part of his life for so long.

Qvale’s current star, Cahill Chrome, is scheduled to go in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby next Saturday (Feb. 18th). He won’t be the favorite, nor will he take a lot of action at the window, but there are more than a few people that think the California Derby runner-up will be in the mix, when field hit’s the wire of the nine furlong race.

The son of Cahill Road out of Takes Two to Mango, has hit the board in seven of his 10 lifetime starts and was a surprising second (26-1) to local favorite Russian Greek in the California Derby last month.

Qvale has never been known to shy away from a challenge.

He immigrated from Norway in 1929 when he was 10 years old. He went on to attend the University of Washington where he starred on a different track, that of track and field, where he won the 100-yard dash in the 1941 Pacific Coast Championships His running career was cut short for a stint in World War II, where he flew planes as a captain in the Navy.

Once back, he turned to a long time passion of his, exotic cars. He founded British Motor Cars Distributors Inc. in 1948 and became known as one of the first distributors of the MG sports cars on the west coast. He later added such cars as the Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lotus, Jaguar and Porsche to his list of available cars. The business is still flourishing in San Francisco, 60 years later.

He even dabbled in the building of race cars and three times had a car race in the Indianapolis 500. One of his “exotic” creations was the Qvale Mangusta sports car, that stopped production after producing 284 cars.

After all that Qvale has accomplished through out the years, is there anyone that wants to bet against him? 

Brittany Burrows Continues On

I have been keeping tabs on the career of aspiring jockey Brittany Burrows as she learns the trade at the Frank Garza Jockey School. After a brief break over the holiday season, she is back at it, and telling us what she is learning now.

"Lately at the school there is only a few riders so I get a little more riding time in. We also have been going to Santa Anita at least once a week. We'll go early in the morning to watch the workouts and get introduced to a lot of the people around Clocker's Corner and stay for a race or two. I'm learning things every time I go out and ride but something that is totally different, and i'll be doing it soon, is coming out of the starting gates. I have never come out of one or even been in one, so it'll definitely be a new experience. One thing I was most surprised to learn so far is that some race horses hate having tight reins and being pulled on. I always figured you wanted to have a tight hold on them because their so strong and powerful but some of them you can't do that with." 


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Older Comments about Kjell Qvale and Cahill Chrome ready for a new challenge...

I hope I am still looking that good at 92! Looks like they might have to deal with a few tigers in Lucky Chappy and Russian Greek.

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Meet Don August

I have been involved in horse racing, from a fan to sportswriter, for the past 30 years. The first time my dad took me to the track, I picked a horse named "Black Tornado" and when he won, I was hooked.  From then on, I spent weekends and occasional school days at the race track, and my enjoyment of the sport led me to try my hand at being a jockey agent, which i did for 3 years. When that didn't work out as I had hoped, I concentrated on my writing career by covering big races and doing summer fair handicapping, off and on, for the Contra Costa Times.

Today, I stay involved in the sport by being part of a group that currently owns two horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields. As all owners, we have dreams of someday having that special horse.  Besides writing about horse racing I enjoy covering many sports and have had the honor of meeting and writing about some incredible athletes.

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