The Racing Journal Logo

Tribute to Ed Giles


June 22, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Terry Teeples

William “Ed” Giles, 66, one of the most successful and well-liked horse trainers in not only the Intermountain area but the nation, died Tuesday, June 14 from injuries suffered when his six-wheeler ATV turned over on him on Monday at his ranch in Hanna, Utah.

His funeral was held Monday, June 20, at the LDS Church in Tabiona, Utah and people were lined up down the long hallway and out the front door. Even though the funeral was held 130 miles in the mountains east of Salt Lake City, trainers, owners, jockeys and friends came from all over the west to say goodbye.

Following the church ceremony, the casket was transported to the cemetery by a horse-drawn wagon, with those in attendance walking behind.

Among those at the funeral were trainer John Hammes, Vaughn Church, jockey Rusty Vicerelli from the Denver area, Mac and Janis Spencer Murray from New Mexico, etc.

The night before the funeral, a viewing was held in Heber City, in the mountains east of Salt Lake City and Provo. There were over 400 people who came to show their respects and instead of lasting from 6 to 8 p.m., the viewing lasted until 11 p.m.

Ed was so well liked by everyone. If anyone ever said anything bad about him, then they didn’t know him. He was honest and so helpful, and willing to share his knowledge and advice even to his competitors.

I first knew Ed in the late ’60s when he and his wife, Carolyn, lived in Taylorsville, Utah and ran a successful upholstery shop next to their home. Ed was a member of the Sheriff’s Posse Riding Club and Carolyn was a member of the Silver Spurs Riding Club. Back then, we got excited running for trophies against the other riding club members. Ed was always a strong competitor.

Ed paid $20,000 for the stallion Dogface and then proceeded to haul his offspring nine miles every day to the track at South Jordan and worked them to prove his stud. He again was very successful.
Then he and Carolyn bought a piece of ground on the east side of the South Jordan race track, and with his two boys, built two big concrete barns. He could take horses out of the barns and right onto the backside of the racetrack, and the county took care of the track.
Ed had a lot of horses in training and his whole family helped. There were two sons, two daughters-in-law, Carolyn, and a nephew, Chad Giles. They’d hook colts to the chariot and work them two at a time with no weight on their backs.

I would get butterflies in my stomach every time I went to his stable because Ed and his family made racing so exciting.

Saturday, June 18, was the biggest racing day of the year in Utah. It was announced that all the races that day at Laurel Brown Race Track in South Jordan were dedicated to the memory of Ed Giles. Ed may have been there in spirit, as his son Wes Giles won the Utah Classic Derby and broke the track record with Diana Vees, by Vital Sign, who got a speed index of 110.

Then two races later, Wes won the Utah Classic Futurity with Where I Go Hugo, by Proudest Effort, which ran a speed index of 107 and broke the 350 yard record.

The day before, there was a strong headwind, but the day of the big races there was a tailwind.

Ed was the Intermountain area’s top trainer during 20 of his 23 years of training. He was second only to Blane Schvaneveldt on the list of all-time AQHA trainers by wins. He had 1,998 wins in 9,422 starts and his horses won $6,034,254, mainly in the Intermountain area. Ed was leading trainer in the nation by wins in 1988 and ’89. Horses trained by him won the Silver Dollar Futurity eight times.

He was a good family man and loved his wife, his two sons, Wes and Troy, and daughter Susan Powell. He loved his 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is survived also by five brothers and two sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers.

We will never forget you, Ed Giles.