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Robert Strauss, Jockey Of Go Man Go, Has Died - Updated 06/07/24
Robert Strauss passes away

Chris Martinez
Robert Strauss, Jockey Of Go Man Go, Has Died - Updated 06/07/24

LOS ALAMITOS, CA–JUNE 6, 2024–Robert Strauss, who rode AQHA Hall of Fame champion Go Man Go to many victories and was the leading rider at Los Alamitos during the 1956 fall meet, passed away on Thursday morning at age 91.

Born on April 23, 1933, Strauss was the son of Gabriel and Julia Strauss and was part of a tremendous family of horsemen. He came from a family of jockeys, beginning with his father. He said he was the second to the youngest of 11 siblings: seven brothers, all jockeys, and four sisters. His brother, Richard, was a leading rider here in 1954, and his brother, William, was also a stakes-winning pilot. His brother, Stanley, was the leading trainer at the Cypress oval in 1958 and another brother, Murphy, also trained at Los Alamitos.

Robert Strauss' passion for racing took him full circle as he began as a hotwalker in the 1940s before going on to become a top exercise rider, then a leading jockey, a racehorse trainer, and in his later years, a pony rider, and then an outrider Los Alamitos before taking his last job in racing as a hotwalker. Throughout his life, Strauss simply wanted to be around horses as much as possible.

"My dad was a great rider,” said Robert Strauss, Jr. “One thing he said that I’ll always remember is that he just wanted to be half the horseman that his dad was. I thought he was one of the best jockeys of his generation."

Robert Strauss in the 1955 PCQHRA Futurity winner's circle with Go Man Go at Los Alamitos. © Victorville Daily Press

In the Los Alamitos record books, Strauss is credited with 66 victories and seven stakes wins and was the winning rider aboard Diamond Charge in the 1961 Inaugural Handicap and the winner of the Bardella with Don Bar in 1957. Of course, it was Go Man Go who was the greatest horse that Strauss had ever rode. 1955 Strauss piloted the great Go Man Go to victory over a muddy track in the 1955 Juvenile at Los Alamitos. He would also pilot the superstar stallion to victories in the 1956 and 1957 Clabbertown G and the 1956 and 1957 Los Alamitos Quarter Horse Championship. Strauss’ brother, Eldridge, trained the great Go Man Go for owner J.B. Ferguson.  

Strauss was also the first to ever sit on the back of the strawberry roan Go Man Go.

“I broke Go Man Go,” recalled Robert Strauss in the May 1988 issue of The Quarter Racing Journal. “I was the first one to ever sit on him. When we were breaking him, he ran off with me before we ever wanted him to run. I mean, just flat ran off with me.”

"It took me forever to get up the nerve to get on that horse the first time, and I had been riding all of my life. I guarantee you he had buck on his mind every morning."

Robert Strauss working Go Man Go at Los Alamitos.
© Los Alamitos

Strauss would later present the trophy to the winner of the Go Man Go Handicap, which is still run at Los Alamitos.

"I think about Go Man Go all the time,” Strauss said in the winner’s circle after the Go Man Go a few years ago. "I am always telling people about his greatness. He is the fastest I've ever seen and rode. He won a championship race when he was a 4-year-old in which he was in front right out of the gate and kept on going. He blew the best of the best away on that day. He was really special."

In the April 1958 issue of the Quarter Horse Journal, “Go Man Go is in my heart,” he said. “He is a good natural horse. He loves to run at all times, and I always get a thrill when riding him. But he does have funny ways. It is terribly hard to gallop him with a grey pony because when he was a three-year-old, he fell in love with a grey pony and still remembers it.”

Strauss is recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association as a "legendary rider" and was inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum Hall of Fame.

Robert Strauss is survived by his children, Marie, Mary, Ellen and Robert, Jr. A memorial service will be held in Victorville.

Robert Strauss's service will be held on Friday, June 28, 2024, at Desert View Memorial. The viewing will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and the service will be from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The address is 11478 Amargosa Rd, Victorville, CA 92393. For more info, call 714-820-2690.