Winning horse races and court cases is nothing new for Michael Laurato, a practicing civil law attorney who has won 40 races as an owner of Thoroughbreds since 2007.
The Winter Park, FL native, who maintains law offices in Tampa and Ocala, experienced something new at Gulfstream Park Sunday when he saddled his first winner as a trainer.
“I've had a lot of other winners as an owner, but it's always nice to win as a trainer. It's good to be hands-on,” said Laurato after getting his picture taken with first-race winner Ashley's Rose ($12.40). “I just wanted to be more hands-on. I like getting up in the morning and working with them, and to see the plan coming to fruition like this is really special.”
Laurato, who has eight horses in training in Ocala, has found a way to balance his training routine with his legal career.
“I get up at 4:30 in the morning and go over to the training center – I train out of Winding Oaks in Ocala. I go over there and train until about 8:30 and then go over to my law practice office and stay there until about 6,” Laurato said. “I come back to the horses, then go to my farm.”
Upon deciding to launch a training career, Laurato moved from Tampa to Ocala, where he bought a farm that has become an important part of his 'hands-on' approach to training.
“I initially started training horses on my own, galloping horses in the field,” said Laurato, who has ridden over jumps for many years as a hobby. “I'm a little heavy for the young horses, but the older horses that have some size, I gallop them once in a while. I have nice fields. I'm a big proponent of training out of the fields.”
Laurato notched his first training victory with his 18th starter. It took Ashley's Rose 17 tries to get her first win after finishing in the money in 10 of her first 16 races.
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