I became involved in Harness Racing when I was attending college in the 1980s. I started helping a trainer at Pompano Park in Florida as a part time/no pay learning opportunity. The next thing I knew I quit school and was fully committed to racing. I earned my United States Trotting Association (USTA) trainers license in 1990.
My early run in Harness Racing did not progress as well as I hoped. I did not have the capital needed to acquire competitive horses. I eventually needed to revert to my other strength in computer technologies.
I have spent the last 25+ years in the computer industry with the over 15 years at Microsoft. I have had many roles at Microsoft and if you like you can take a look at my Linked-In Profile to see my career. I have had a very rich career working with the smartest, most driven people on the planet. Microsoft offered me the opportunity to learn things I never imagined, carry billion dollar responsibilities and travel the world prescribing solutions for customers; as well as returning feedback to product groups to improve products.
Microsoft is one of the great companies in human history, and truly changed the world for the better; and I am proud I was part of that.
I reentered racing in 2010 as an owner by making a claim at The Meadows. But I realized I missed the hands on experience and started to train my own in 2011 at the tracks around Chicago.
When I entered racing there was a six year apprenticeship qualification before you could take the written and practical tests for achieving a trainer’s license.
The first five years in the business I worked for Ernie Danks Jr.. Ernie learned his skills working for Hall of Famer Delvin Miller, and started his training career at The Meadows. Ernie was extremely strict and thoroughly schooled me on the fundamentals of horsemanship. I think back and the one key learning I am the most thankful for is by working for Ernie I learned how to hold together, or recover from injuries, the older claimers that fill out our cards every night. Ernie showed how to do it the old fashioned way with paint, good rubbing and the proper conditioning. I groomed in various states and racetracks along the east coast with the horses I cared for making starts at Pompano Park, Free State, Freehold, The Meadowlands, Brandywine and Rosecroft.
After working for Ernie I worked for Joe Pavia Jr.. Joe is an incredibly passionate competitor. From Joe I learned a bit more about speed, how he managed a larger stable, the importance of research and I became a bit deeper on veterinary management.
At one point in between working for Ernie and Joe I spent part of a spring/summer grooming thoroughbreds at Gulfstream and Calder. From the thoroughbred experience I learned the importance of nutrition and the proper balance of feed additives to enhance your horse’s health. But the standardbreds were more appealing to me than the runners.
I am very thankful to both Joe and Ernie and to this day still value their friendship. When I reentered the sport intending to train my own I looked back on my personal history to find the highlights of what I learned from various people that helped me along the way – and these would be the principals that define my methodology:
Healthy Horses – feeding the best performance feed and additives. Personal attention to detail on each horse in my care.
Happy Horses – understand the individual needs of the horses in my care. I believe in ample turn out time, diverse workout experiences and kindness. These incredible animals deserve to be treated with dignity.
Preparation – in all aspects of this business you need to be prepared. Proper conditioning oh horses, prepared to fully understand and research the input/feedback you receive from veterinarians, farriers and drivers. Being competitive requires constant research on all the latest methods, equipment, nutrition and health trends.