A Passion for Life and Race Horses

March 23, 2024

George Allan Bryant. (Photo courtesy of George Allan Bryant/X)

Trainer George Allan Bryant Dies of Cancer

By Maribeth Kalinich

After a three-year battle, Texas horseman George Allan Bryant succumbed to cancer on March 20th surrounded by loved ones. 

George was a brave and kind soul who could see what was wrong in a horse and fix it.

George noticed he had a spot on his tongue, a sore, but ignored it for a few years. On the recommendation of a friend, he had it checked out and in the fall of 2021 a biopsy revealed cancer of his tongue.

Sadly, a CT scan showed the cancer was stage 4 and had gone into his lymph nodes. 

Nov. 11, 2021, George underwent 12 hours of surgery to remove half of his tongue and 70-80 lymph nodes. 

George then endured 30 rounds of radiation treatment and dropped 85 pounds but was determined to battle back. While he was laid up in recovery and treatment, he said all he could do is lay in bed and watch horse racing. And all he could think about was how much he had always wanted to be a trainer.

George didn’t let cancer turn life into a total downer. He focused on something that had been an aspiration, a passion for some time. Training horses. 

George had been a minor owner and his father was a former jockey and trainer who had recently retired.

“Always wanted to be a trainer and I said as soon as I get healthy, I’m going to train. I hit up everybody I knew. Said ‘send me a horse, send me a horse. I just want to train,” Bryant retold. 

Bryant said it took two months to get healthy enough, but he started training in February of 2022 then something amazing happened.

In April Adam Blick from Tennessee heard Bryant on a podcast and texted him.

“I’m lucky enough to have a pretty good business, I love what you do, I loved the podcast. I’m going to send you $40,000 cash. We’ll claim me some horses,” Bryant retells.

“Hell yeah!” was Bryant’s response. Blick has been Bryant’s “main guy” ever since.

Now George had some horses in his barn thanks to Blick and he had his inspiration, his father.

“My dad taught me how to train. He’s not a people person. Typical Texas guy sticks to himself. Doesn’t talk to people, say howdy. But being a horseman, legman,” Bryant said. 

“I can just look at a horse and tell you what’s wrong, what we need to fix, just something he’s taught me over the years.”

“Cancer came back in 2022. I had just started rolling at Delta Downs. I needed surgery and called my dad and said you need to come and run the show. 

His father took over for two months while George had surgery and went through chemo. 

“Got my strength up a few months ago and I kept my dad on the payroll,” Bryant said. 

George went to Delta, Dad went to Remington so their operation could claim from both places. Father and son were loving it. 

“We had a laid-back, perfect working relationship,” Bryant recalls.

Bryant knew how to fix a horse, but he also knew how to spot a horse and if there wasn’t a race that suited his trainees in the condition book in his hand, he would call upon Google. Literally, he would. “Hey, Google, what racetrack is within six hours of me right now.” And it paid to Google. Bryant’s charges were running for his owners, and they were winning at about 30%.

Bryant made his first start as a trainer on May 14, 2022, with Thompson Racing’s Rancho Bargo in a seven furlongs $15,000 Starter Optional Claiming Race. After finishing over 19 lengths off the winner Rancho Bargo came back and lost by a neck two months later in a one-mile dirt claimer. Bryant was so close. 

He’d get lucky with start number 25 on Sept.12 with 3-year-old filly Horse Racing D’s Half Page scoring in a $14,000 Claiming race. As luck is fleeting, Half Page ran for a $20,000 tag and was promptly claimed out of the race and Bryant’s barn. 

None was a deterrent for Bryant as he plodded racing at Delta Downs, Sam Houston, Louisiana Downs and wherever Google sent him.

Click for George Allan Bryant talking to Mick Joyce on X, Dec. 9, 2022.

It would take another month of plodding and spotting, but Bryant would hit a high note on Adam Blick’s Guitar Slim with back-to-back wins in October and November moving up a bit in class from Claiming to Allowance. Slim would reward Bryant again with a win in early December and a fourth place in the Boyd Rewear Stakes to close out the year.

Bryant also picked up wins that fall with Horse Racing D’s Moro Mafia and Double Trap. The latter would reward his punters generously with $47.80.

Bryant didn’t just have a passion for the business. He shared it. 

With Gail Rice Bryant created Passion Racing, a racing partnership, with their first horse, Hello Marylou. 

This endeavor precipitated Passion Bloodstock, a breeding partnership. Both companies were designed to bring new owners into the racing industry.

2023 would kick off with a victory for Bryant with one of his original trainees, Sky Tizzy winning by four lengths at five and a half furlongs on dirt and rewarding not only Bryant but the punters as well with $35.80. 

Click to see race on X.

The second win of the year would come with Thompson Racing’s Angela’s Celerity in an $11,000 Claimer but as Bryant played the claiming game his winner was snagged for a tag of $4,000.

2023 would also kick off another scrimmage with cancer for George: “I will start 6 treatments of chemotherapy next week. My dad who is my hero and taught me everything I know is going to come out of retirement and alongside of my crew will take care of the horses with my crew and I will go back and forth until I’m 100%.,” he posted on X January 17.

His Dad and his crew did indeed keep things going. At Delta Downs in February, Horse Racing D’s Mr B Quiet won a one-mile claimer on dirt by a head after a stalking trip and tiptoed back to Bryant’s barn unclaimed.

Guitar Slim would grab third in a $60,000 Starter Stakes at Delta Downs in early February for Bryant. Jose M. Camejo’s 3-year-old gelding In Detail gave him his lone win for the month but did it in dramatic fashion by a head setting wicked fractions with an opening quarter of 22.71. 

The tenacious trainer only had one runner in all of March at Sam Houston Park and it was on to Lone Star. 

Diamonds N Aces would come into Bryant’s barn for owner Tony Wilson after a second-place finish in mid-March. 

In her first race for Bryant, she finished fifth on May 6th. He brought her back eight days later. Rated between horses by Rene Diaz off the pace to the head of the lane, Diamonds N Aces split horses and dug in gamely to close well late in the drive. The Tale of Ekati filly would just miss a victory by half of a length to Steve Asmussen trained Eagle Express, coincidently owned by Julie Asmussen and ridden by Keith Asmussen. 

June 24th Diamonds N Aces would come up in the winner’s circle in an Allowance at Lone Star and do it in style for Bryant by five and a half lengths.

May 28th, Bryant checked off a personal bucketlist item in Race 9 at Lone Star Park. Click to watch on X.

Blick Stables’ Roses Are Gray topped the board June 10th at Lone Star, Guitar Slim would strike again at Louisiana Down on June 12th. As he split his crew between locations, June was fruitful for Bryant as he also garnered wins with Tony Wilson’s Sparra at Lone Star and Blick Stables’ Pickens at La. Downs, the latter who had won May 27th as well.

Having gone through a round of chemotherapy from his last bought with cancer, Bryant was feeling much stronger and had begun to regain some of the over 100 pounds lost during his battle.

The rebounding trainer bounced out of June with a second place with Blick Stables’ Eagleford at Lone Star and landed in July with a second with Tony Wilson’s Cranky Sheila missing the win by a nose.

Bryant racked up double wins at Louisiana Downs on July 8th with Blick Stables’ Graceofcaroline and Roses Are Gray who had given the conditioner a victory in mid-June as well.

July 16th Blick’s Carbon Stryker placed second in the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Gillespie Fairgrounds, also placing fourth there in August in the GCFA Texas Bred Stakes. Pickens followed suit at Louisiana Downs in August placing second in the Louisiana Cup Sprint Stakes coming off back-to-back wins for Bryant.

Th same day at Gillespie Eagleford gave the tenacious trainer a stop in the winner’s circle. Cranky Sheila would have her day for Bryant at Louisiana Downs Aug. 7th in a fierce battle to hold the lead to win by a neck. Click to watch on X.

In July 2023, George Allan Bryant felt up to chatting with Jon Stettin about life, cancer and racing.

Aug. 21st Bryant would score as owner and trainer of Get Witt Gone at the Downs. The gelding, named for his breeder Henry S. Witt Jr., set an opening quarter of 22.97 and stayed on point through the wire.

George would celebrate his son’s first birthday August 27th: “Happy 1st birthday to River Derby! I hope you know how much you motivate me.”

In just a short time, George would need a lot of motivation. September would prove challenging for Bryant as he reported Sept. 26th: “The cancer has come back and that’s what caused my artery to rupture. Since then, I have started chemo and gotten back to work. My stable heads to Delta Downs this weekend and I can’t be more excited. I’m fucking unstoppable.”

October would rock for Bryant with a streak of wins for Carbon Stryker, Pickens and Blick Stables and Passion Racing Club’s She’s Extra as well as seconds by Horse Racing D’s Mr B Quiet and Blick Stables’ Seize the Treasure at Delta Downs.

All through the fall Bryant’s trainees continues to be in the money. And he relishied in watching his own baby boy, River Derby flourish.

The “stars” in Bryant’s barn continued to perform well with Roses Are Grey bagging a win Dec. 13 and Blick’s Magic Glass (watch on X) on the 27th. Pickens, Mr B Quiet, Carbon Stryker and Seize the Treasure all continued to hit the board as well.

2024 kicked off well for George’s barn but his fight with cancer was never over. As he continued to fight for life he focused on his training and his horses and his goals.

George posted his 2024 goals on X:

Passion Racing LLC & Passion Bloodstock announced:

Mr B Quiet hit the board third in the barn’s first start of the year Jan. 4th and Phillip Cleek’s Mardi Gras Alarm gave the first win Jan 21st. The 4-year-old filly just missed a follow up victory Feb. 2nd by 3/4 length.

Always a sportsman, Bryant congratulated Erick Asmussen on his first win at Sam Houston.

Diamonds N Aces would rack another win in a $40,000 Allowance at Sam Houston to close out January (watch on X).

Fresh off the win and the claim on Jan. 11, Blick Stables’ Fire Vision would score for Bryant in a $44,000 Allowance at Delta Feb. 7th. Mr B Quiet would close out February with a win in a $40,000 Allowance. Bryant was rolling and raking in purses.

Passion Bloodstock announces first breeding for 2024 season.

Bryant’s homebred Get Witt Gone won another $40K Allowance at Sam Houston to ring in March on the 2nd. The next day Sparra would rack up a claiming race.

The following week Cranky Sheila, Carbon Stryker and Diamonds N Aces all hit the board.

It would be on March 17th that Fire Vision would fittingly give George Allan Bryant his very last win. 

George Allan Bryant’s final victory on the track with Fire Vision at Sam Houston fittingly on March 17. (Jack Coady Photography)

But that may not be the end of this story. Diamond N Aces is entered in the Yellow Rose Stakes at Sam Houston on Saturday, post time 4:35 p.m.CT. According to Sam Houston racing secretary Mike Acton “Yes, the stewards will let the horse start.”

George’s last win could be a bouquet of yellow roses. 

In loving memory of George Allan Bryant.
Race with the angels.

234(5) starts, 33 firsts, 22 seconds and 25 thirds with $711,999 in earnings

Help if you can …

Lyndsey Breland has organized a GoFundMe to raise money to assist the family & children of this world’s most exceptional human being, George Allan Bryant. George bravely fought cancer off & on for almost 3 years. Each time he won the battle, the dreaded C word came back stronger & George battled until the very end. George was an amazing father, son, friend, & role model to everyone who knew him. He never met a stranger & made all he knew feel special. There was only one GAB! 

George has 2 children, Lexi & River & we are hoping to be able to assist them in any way possible. Money raised will go toward college funds & expenses for them. We appreciate any assistance that anyone could provide.

George will be missed, forever & will live on through his beautiful children. Click to offer your support.

Contributing Authors

MariBeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Past the Wire

Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

View Maribeth Kalinich, Senior Editor, Graphic Designer

@Tracking_Trips baaaaaannnnngggggg, still making money on vacation days with Big Jon. Let's go here.

Ryne Olsen @ryne_olsen View testimonials

Facebook

Comments

Leave a Comment