2000 Greyhound Hall of Fame Inductee
Gene Randle was born on June 15, 1912 near Idana, Kan. His father, Boyd E. Randle, was a farmer who also was a pioneer Greyhound breeder with a reputation for raising good Greyhounds. Gene saw his first race as a child in Kansas City.
At the age of 14, Randle handled his father’s Greyhound, Miss Judy, who won the 1926 Sapling Stake at the national meet in Fort Riley, Kan. It was one of his first and biggest thrills to accept the trophy.
Randle trapped and sold animal furs to save money to buy his first Greyhound. In 1927, at the age of 15, he spent $75 of that hard-earned money to buy a Greyhound out of Buck and Alic, a top bloodline in those days. But tragedy followed; although Randle slept in the barn in order to nurse the ailing puppy, it died at age six months of what was termed then as “big head.”
After graduating from high school, nineteen-year-old Randle began working at the tracks in Miami earning $9 a week. He joined with Johnny Allen and operated a kennel at Flager and Biscayne before taking a job with Lewis Randall in California. When Randall couldn’t pay him his wages, Gene formed a partnership with Randall and Allen using nine Greyhounds, most of them leased from Gene’s father. On his first night at a new track near San Jose, he went to weigh-in his Greyhounds and was prohibited from getting them inside. He had to get special permission to enter the track because he was a minor.
Through friends he made in the industry, he got a booking at the El Cerrito track and later went to Portland, Ore. Often short on funds, Randle told of doing odd jobs such as building crates from packing boxes and straightening the nails because he couldn’t afford to buy new ones. Randle once stated that the first time he made money racing Greyhounds was the first year Revere opened in the mid-1930s.
He continued to build his kennel and began to prosper in the business. After his brothers, Ned and Ray, returned from World War II, Gene took them into his business as partners, forming Randle Brothers Kennel. In the 1950s, the brothers built a modern breeding farm near Wichita, Kan.
When the partnership split after the new Kansas turnpike divided the farm, Gene raced in Miami as the Gene Randle Kennel, which became one of the most powerful in the nation in the 1960s with nearly all of his Greyhounds descendants of Miss Judy.
His most famous Greyhound was Real Huntsman, one of the first three Greyhounds inducted into the Greyhound Hall of Fame.
“He was the best that ever lived at all distances,” Randle said in 1978. “He didn’t have to have his hold, his track or his distance.”
Other champion Greyhounds were Lady Huntress and Razor’s Edge. Randle retired in 1973 after more than 40 years in the business. He was inducted into the Pioneer section of the Greyhound Hall of Fame in April of 1979, just months before his death.
He and his wife, Rachel, had four children, Jeanine, Nedwin, Chad and Sharie.