August 2, 2003 - Sipping champagne and sharing a good times with friends under a beautiful, clear southern California evening - life just could not get much better for Kim Kessinger and Jim Geiler, the co-owners of Quarter Horse racing's no. 1 superstar, Whosleavingwho.
Of course, Whosleavingwho had just given them another reason to celebrate, as the gelding by Chicks Beduino had become Quarter Horse racing's 36th millionaire after winning the $125,800 Vessels Maturity Saturday at Los Alamitos. It was 9:45 p.m. when Whosleavingwho crossed the wire well clear of Rare Coup in the Grade 1 race, clinching his 18th win in 32 career starts, while pushing his career earnings over the $1.004 million mark. He accomplished the milestone by turning on the rockets in the second half of the 400-yard race, on the way to come-from-behind 3/4-length victory.
"I thought we were going to lose by two lengths," Kessinger said. "It looked like there was no way that he could catch them. Then, he started to get away from the rest and once he got going (jockey) Joe Badilla just hand rode him to the wire. Whosleavingwho just kept on driving. He's so competitive, he'll run to the end of the earth for you."
In his last nine starts, Whosleavingwho has won seven races and finished second in the other two - against A Ransom in the Los Alamitos Championship and to Catchmeinyourdreams in the California Challenge Championship two months ago. In the other seven, Whosleavingwho has been money in the bank, winning the Champion of Champions, Los Alamitos Winter Championship, Spencer Childers Handicap and now Vessels Maturity during that span.
"It's taken him 18 wins to become a millionaire and we've loved every one of them," Geiler said. "Watching him become a millionaire has been a lot of fun for us. I was a nervous for a while in this race, but once he broke away from the pack, he went on to win easily. Los Alamitos is a wonderful place for an older horse to run and we'll keep letting him run as long as he looks like he's having fun doing it."
"There'll be some younger horses that will get tougher and tougher for him to beat," Kessinger added. "We'll keep doing what we can with Whosleavingwho before the younger horses catch up." For now, the owners will continue to enjoy Whosleavingwho.
"Fast horses and good friends, this sport has been a lot of fun for us," Kessinger added, as his winning party included longtime breeders James Markum and Dr. Steve Burns. "Who knew that we would be so lucky to get a horse like Whosleavingwho? He is a once in a lifetime horse. To own him is a great honor."
Kessinger and Geiler have now begun their search for what they hope will be their next superstar horse. "Kim is going to go the Vessels/Schvaneveldt Yearling Sale and we'll also be at the All American and Pacific Coast Sales," Geiler said.
"We'll try to find another one like Whosleavingwho but we know that won't be easy," Kessinger added. "We might have to wait a few years for another one like him but we'll take it when we can get it. Then again, who knows what will happen next?"