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California horseman Glen Holt dies at 87

March 03, 2018

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Longtime horseman Glen Holt passed away Feb. 12 at age 87 in California.

Born in Missouri, as a young child Mr. Holt traveled with his parents and siblings from Missouri, following the crops and working in the fields for a living. By the time he was in eighth grade, when the family settled in Shafter, Calif., he had attended 13 schools.

Mr. Holt had a love of horses from the time he was a child. He he worked for the Shafter Police Department where he became a sergeant. While on the force he taught pistol shooting and became an expert sharpshooter. On his days off from the Shafter Police Department, he would go to the two local racing stables, one owned by Bill Lachenmeier and the other by Joe O'Brien. He assisted with jogging the horses, helping around the stables and asking a lot of questions in an effort to learn the business. Lachenmeier eventually gave him a broodmare and Mr. Holt's career as a sergeant with the police department ended and his career in harness racing began.

Mr. Holt began the Diamond HR Ranch, a boarding, breeding and training farm. After a few years, a swimming pool for conditioning horses was added to the farm, the first to be built in California.

Diamonte King was Mr. Holt's first 2:00 horse. He was followed by such top performers as Regret Me Not, David's Marenga and Something Sexy. Shafter Queen, a broodmare at Diamond HR, received numerous awards as California Broodmare of the Year.

From the mid-1960s to the 1970s, Mr. Holt traveled the circuit in California. His career in the sport spanned 50 years and one of the highlights was being the leading driver at the 1971 Cal Expo meeting. When race dates in California dwindled, Mr. Holt and his wife trekked east and raced at tracks such as The Meadows.

"Dad loved the horse racing business and could spend hours telling countless stories about his experiences and friendships," said Mr. Holt's son, Mike.

Mr. Holt's family remembered him as a kind hearted and empathic man with great integrity that was forged in him from his childhood roots. It never was a surprise for his children to hear of his acts of kindness for someone who needed "a little help," whether it was buying someone airline tickets, repairing autos, paying bills or giving cash, he did this unconditionally.

In 1950 he married Helen Rose from Shafter and together they reared four children. In 1986 he married Annette Funicello and was a faithful husband and caregiver to her until her passing in 2013. Together he found a new passion by founding the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases. He faithfully continued his work to raise money for research along with the help of his good friend Dave Mason.

He is survived by his children, Michael (Linda) Holt, Debbie (Greg/Hippo) Hanson, Philip Holt and Sharla (Mike) Johnson; 12 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; a sister, Martha "Mott" Seidel Mauney; brothers James and Tommy Holt; and godchildren and friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Newton and Letha Holt, five sisters, three brothers, one grandson, one great-grandson, ex-wife Helen Holt and wife Annette Funicello.

The family requests memorial donations be made to the AFRFND at https://connect.calfund.org/give/annettefunicello
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