Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Sitting on top of the world

Dave Aranda-Richards

Special to the Village News

Fallbrook's Stuart Ross's smile lit up the room, as he related to me the story of his 25-year-old box seat at the Del Mar Racetrack.

"It's the oldest and most coveted seat at the track. I am right on the finish line and can see each horse as they pass in a chute alongside me on to the track. My partner actually purchased it over 60 years ago," 83-year-old Ross said.

"Surrounded by some of racing's most famous owners and trainers, I'm privy to the latest scoops in the horse racing world. Bob Baffert's box is close to mine as is Jerry Moss, the owner of the greatest horse I ever saw run, Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of The Year." he went on.

I asked, "In your decades of watching the thoroughbreds run, what event stands out most in your memory?"

"That's easy, it is Johnny Longden's final race at Santa Anita Park, March 12, 1966. At age 59 atop Royal George, he won the $125,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap by a nose. Longden's career, not any one horse, stands out in my mind. He won the Triple Crown aboard Count Fleet, and in 1969 the Kentucky Derby, as the trainer of Majestic Prince, making him the first man ever to win as a jockey and trainer. To me he is the greatest jockey ever with 6,032 wins, and one of Del Mar's all time winning jockeys."

Now that the track is open, what are you looking forward to this season?

"Why of course, the most important race in the world, The Breeders Cup. The top horses in the world will be here Nov. 26. It is already sold out."

Stu and his wife, Jackie, have lived in Fallbrook for over 20 years, retiring recently to a gated community, from their horse breeding and training ranch, The Lost Horse Ranch.

"None of my ponies ever won a stakes race, but we visited the "Winners Circle" a few times and each was a thrill." Stu shared.

How did you meet Jackie?

She was my secretary when I was a V.P. For Merrill Lynch. Been hitched for 35 years.

I asked what his and Jackie's activities entail now.

"Well, since the hospital closed, Jackie and I have been individually giving rides to seniors through The Foundation for Senior Care, whose doctor's appointments are out of town and do not have a way to get there and back. We take them to their medical procedures and wait for them for as long as the procedure lasts."

"Jackie and I love working with the foundation and suggest that any senior needing a ride in town, a caregiver, groceries or any other need, contact the center at 760-723-7570. They are loving and caring people. We will soon be driving people that are homebound to church on Sundays.``

Stu, tell me about your "R-O-M-E-O" group here in Fallbrook.

"Ha, yeah we are about 12 guys that have been meeting for seven years on Thursday mornings for breakfast and fellowship at Denny's. The acronym stands for; 'Retired Old Men Eating Out.' Want to join us, you're 84?"


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