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Pleasanton Preps: Remembering Clare Schmitt, a legend in local horse racing

Longtime owner was strong supporter of hometown track
Clare Schmitt is shown here with husband George at the Del Mar race track, one of the places where they ran their horses. A longtime leader in horse racing in Pleasanton, Clare died on Jan. 10, 2023 at age 77.

We took another big hit this month when Clare Schmitt passed away.

The name may not immediately ring a bell for many in this town, but Clare and her husband George have made an impact on anyone that was fortunate enough to cross their paths.

The imprint they made on horse racing alone leaves a legacy that should see them known as Mr. and Mrs. Pleasanton.

With the passing of Clare on Jan. 10 at the age of 77, there is a hole opened that cannot be filled.

Clare and George became major owners in Northern California horse racing and could be found at the track regularly.

When the Alameda County Fairgrounds was a year-round training facility, it seemed like George could always be found early in the day for the morning works.

At times I also saw Clare in the mornings, but she would always be there for the races. The two were also fixtures at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association's yearling sale each year at fairgrounds.

I loved watching the two interact.

One thing I have admired about George is that he will always be honest and offer his feelings whether it is the popular opinion or not.

He believes in what he says regardless of if it was a popular opinion or not. Except when it came to Clare.

A strong man of power, George also knew who was the powerbroker in the Schmitt family -- Clare.

"Very," said Clare's daughter-in-law Jennifer Schmitt when asked if Clare ruled over George. "He would say something, even though he knew a chewing (out) was sure to come. He lovingly calls the look he would get, 'Clare's Glare.'"

I saw it numerous times myself, whether I had George as a guest at a horse racing seminar at the Alameda County Fair, or when I would be interviewing George for a story.

He would have a spicy opinion and if Clare didn't like it, Clare's Glare was easily spotted.

I remember once during a seminar, George leaned over to me and said, "oh, I am going to hear about that one later."

But it wasn't just George that was on the receiving end of the "Glare."

"We all got it a time or two, but we always deserved it," Jennifer said. "Clare kept the Schmitts in line."

It will be easy to remember Clare Schmitt and smile while doing so. But the entire horse racing world lost a true friend to the sport.

What has separated the pair from so many others in the business is the time the two put into the care and aftercare of theirs.

They were both quick to rest a horse when a break was needed, and Clare tended to their ranch along with George in Gardnerville, Nevada. The ranch boasted a state-of-the-art barn for the horses.

The two are just as responsible for the success of racing in Pleasanton as a few local icons. Pleasanton residents, they loved their town and loved their race track.

Godspeed Clare -- you will always be remembered fondly by all who were lucky to cross your path.

Foothill girls' basketball

Dougherty Valley unleashed an offensive assault in the second half on the Falcons to get a 70-56 win.

Foothill led 29-25 at the half, but the Wildcats outscored the Falcons 45-27 in the final two quarters. Beti Terpstra and Riley Young had 19 points each for Foothill.

Foothill boys' soccer

The Falcons are battling every game but are not getting the results as warranted by their efforts.

The week started with a 5-1 loss to Monte Vista. Alejandro Ramirez got the lone goal off an assist from Dylan Russo.

Two days later, Foothill dropped a 5-0 game to De La Salle, the top-ranked team in the East Bay Athletic League.

In the third game of the week, the Falcons got a goal from Ramirez, but fell 2-1 to Amador Valley.

Again, no results were turned in by Amador.

Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email

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