fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Change is good at GP Downs

This might be the look of horse racing's future in the West.

Hector Magallanes grew up in Boardman, a town of 3,220 on the Columbia River in northeastern Oregon. It is a busy port town that boasts coal-fired and gas-fired power plants, plus a Pacific Ethanol plant managed by Magallanes — who packs another kind of power even though he's only 30 years old.

He is also a rising star in the quarter horse industry.

"Last year I partnered with my cousin, Luis Torres, at Portland Meadows," he said. "We won 14 races. We raked it in at the fairs, too. We won more than 20 races."

The cousins earned leading quarter horse trainer and jockey honors at the Portland meet.

Now, Magallanes has two entries in the $27,000 Firecracker Futurity, to be held July 4 at Grants Pass Downs. Rumors R Flying and One Famous Strawfly posted the third- and fifth-fastest times in the Futurity trials. They are at home resting on his 171/2-acre ranch in Boardman.

"They're ready to rock 'n' roll," he said. "They came back from the track perfect. They're both on their toes. I'm just going to keep them fresh. You want them to feel good."

One Famous Strawfly belongs to Ruben Magallanes, Hector's father.

Rumors R Flyin belongs to Tryn Espelien, Hector's partner.

"I'm the owner on paper," she said.

"You own her," he said.

Espelien, almost 25, is also an accomplished barrel rider in regional rodeos, a veterinarian's assistant and a licensed groom, exercise rider and racehorse owner.

"She's been around horses since she was a little kid. Her family has a nice ranch near Scappoose," said Magallanes.

In May, Rumors R Flyin and One Famous Strawfly competed for the Pot O'Gold Futurity at Sun Downs. It proved to be a contentious event.

Jess Be Hawkin burst from the gate and immediately veered into Rumors R Flyin, who in turn collided with another horse and unseated its rider. One Famous Strawfly, untouched by the collisions, went to the front and stayed there until she was passed by Jess Be Hawkin at the wire.

The victory did not stand. After an inquiry lasting several minutes, stewards disqualified Jess Be Hawkin and declared One Famous Strawfly the winner of the $26,750 Pot O'Gold.

These three horses are set for a rematch in the Firecracker Futurity. The plot thickens because Jess Be Hawkin is trained by Don Young, who gave Magallanes his start in horse racing.

"I began cleaning stalls for Don when I was 14," said Magallanes. "I learned how to ride, then galloped horses every day, then broke horses. All the basics I learned through Don."

Magallanes passed his trainer's license five years ago and notched his first win soon after at Grants Pass. This will be his third straight year to qualify horses for the Futurity, which is shaping up as a contest between the new and the old guard.

Hector Magallanes and Espelien will be here this weekend with a fresh load of quarter horses. Today they'll run Oxman and Miss Royal Rumple in the second race.

Next comes the showdown on the Fourth.

Dan Guthrie can be reached at guthrie23@centurylink.net

Change is good at GP Downs