Spencer Childers, ranked fifth among all-time leading breeders of Quarter racehorses, died on July 9 at age 97.

Childers’ first horses were ropers that he competed on in the early 1940s. In 1957, he purchased Black Easter Bunny, a former champion 3-year-old race mare, and he and his wife, Florence, began breeding running horses on their ranch in Fresno, CA.

Black Easter Bunny’s second foal, Bunny’s Bar Maid, by Three Bars TB, put Childers Ranch in the spotlight, when she was made 1961 champion 2-year-old filly. Through 2008, Childers had bred earners of nearly $12 million, including 469 winners (from 654 starters), 45 stakes winners, 36 stakes placed, and 5 champions – Bunnys Bar Maid; Blobby Charger; Black Sable; Jet View and Uncas.

“Spencer had a huge influence on me and a lot of people,” said Ed Allred, owner and CEO of Los Alamitos Race Course.

Childers, who retired in the late 1970s, had been CEO of Vendo, the company that revolutionized the vending machine industry.

In addition to broodmare and racing operations, Childers also stood stallions at his ranch, including Question Mark, Ettabo, Fast Jet, Sir Rambler and Shirley’s Champion (TB).