Prominent horseman Lloyd Arnold, who helped shape California's harness racing industry as the operator of two tracks, died Sunday after a long illness at age 83.
Saturday night at Cal Expo, local racing fans and horsemen will honor the track's former operator with a race in his honor, the Lloyd Arnold Memorial, at about 6:20 p.m.
"Harness racing was one of Lloyd's great passions," said longtime friend Chris Bardis. "He accomplished so much for the sport not only in California, but nationwide. He was 'Mr. Harness Racing.' I know of no one else who has had a greater impact on the harness world."
A former Midwestern cattle rancher, Mr. Arnold sold his Iowa property to pursue harness racing. He owned hundreds of trotters and pacers, and campaigned his stable nationwide.
In Sacramento, he operated Golden Bear Raceway at Cal Expo and brought national attention to his sport with fast horses, big purses and outrageous giveaways.
In 1977 at Golden Bear, Mr. Arnold's pacer Warm Breeze shattered the all-age world record by one second, winning in 1:53 1/5 by 18 lengths.
Known as an outstanding promoter, Mr. Arnold drew thousands of fans to Cal Expo harness races with free drawings for gold Cadillacs, Chevrolet trucks and a year's supply of groceries.
Besides running Sacramento meets, he also co-owned Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County. He also ran harness meets at Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Fairplex and Hollywood Park.
"He was always trying to do good for the game in California, trying to keep it going," said trainer Bob Johnson, who knew Mr. Arnold for decades. "He was great for racing, got new people involved, had lots of innovative ideas."
Added retired driver Rick Kuebler, "Lloyd blurred the line between horsemen and management, having worn both hats with unequaled success. His passion for harness racing never broke stride. He trotted the whole mile."
Mr. Arnold spent millions on standardbreds including at one time the most expensive yearling bought at auction and earned national honors as harness racing's 2001 Owner of the Year.
A native of Iowa, Mr. Arnold died at his home in La Quinta three days after his 83rd birthday.