Alex Trebek’s Love of Horses Lives After Him

Horse Racing Radar
Valerie Mellema
Valerie Mellema is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Racehorses have some unusual, unforgettable names. So do the horseraces themselves. The Preakness Stakes is named after Preakness, the first horse to win a stakes race at Pimlico back in 1870. Races have been named after jockeys, a famous basketball coach, and maybe one day a race will be named after the most beloved game show host of all: Alex Trebek.


Well into his lengthy career as the host of Jeopardy, the Canadian born Trebek bought 703 acres in Paso Robles, California, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Eventually, Trebek would stable 350 to 400 horses there, including 40 that belonged to him. In 1999, the bug to race Thoroughbreds caused him to venture into racing as an owner.


The most noteworthy result of that venture was the acquisition of a two-year-old colt named REBA'S GOLD, a son of SLEW O' GOLD. While REBA'S GOLD was not Trebek's only racehorse, he was the one who most made a name for himself. A graded stakes-winning horse, REBA'S GOLD was in the money 60% of the time, winning eight of 37 starts, placing second seven times, and third seven times. Trebek put up a hefty $130,000 for him, and the colt returned lifetime winnings of $717,422. REBA'S GOLD raced through age seven, returning an average of $19,390 every time he broke from the gate. The horse was sent out to stud service in 2004, eventually purchased by breeders in New Mexico, where he died in 2008.


As for Trebek's wonderful horse farm, the Jeopardy host sold it in 2010 when he was 70. It was difficult for him to part with the serenity of the rolling wine country farmland he called Creston Farms. "I enjoy visiting the farm more than I enjoy going to the races," Trebek once told a LA Times reporter. "It's relaxing. It's like getting back to nature. Everything just slows down and is much calmer."


Trebek's racehorses were trained by Dan Hendricks, who is now located in Saratoga, New York. After Trebek's death on November 8, Hendricks reminisced about how difficult it was for Trebek to make it to the track to see his horses run because of his television commitments. "The shame was he couldn't make it to all the races because he was working pretty hard back then."


Even if he never has a stakes race named after him, he's sure to end up on Jeopardy again: Answer—the game's show host who owned and raced Thoroughbreds. Question—who was Alex Trebek?


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