In Their Care

Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: ‘I Wouldn’t Trade This For A Doctor’s Job’

Earl Wade had just graduated from high school in Louisville in 1982. He was 18 years old, an age when many young people are carefree. Not Wade. He had already fathered two children, and he urgently needed income. His mother, Alma, who cleaned bathrooms and handled other maintenance chores at Churchill Downs, found him a […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: Maryland Racing Community Shows Its ‘Heart’ During Trainer’s Family Crisis

Maryland based-trainer Phil Schoenthal used to become upset when things did not go his way in a sport filled with adversity. Not anymore. He remains passionate about winning and the attention to detail that requires, but his perspective radically changed when his son Emerson, then 3 years old, was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy last spring. […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: The Therapy Of The Backstretch

While Jude Pastor was installing a rock garden on a broiling July afternoon in Louisiana, he could not wait to enjoy a cold soda. When he finally allowed himself a break, he drank deeply, expecting to almost instantly feel refreshed and restored. Instead, he was jolted by pain he never experienced before. “Wow, that hurt,” […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: ‘This Is What Keeps Me Going’

Mothers know their children – the good, the bad, and the awful – so Fern Augusti knew the call would come one day. Brian, the oldest of her five children, had been resuscitated once before after overdosing on heroin only to plunge again into those depths of despair. When the call came in July 2009 […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: Ex-Steeplechase Rider Still Jumps At Opportunity To Be On Horseback

Lorna Vincent wanted to die. She had experienced a steeplechase jockey’s worst nightmare in 1986 in her native England. Her mount failed to clear a jump and somersaulted in mid-air, planting the rider into the turf head-first. Vincent immediately lost all sensation from the neck down. Even as doctors and nurses tended to her at […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: ‘You’ve Got To Have Dreams’

There are times when Niccolo Troiani and his girlfriend, Danni Griggs, feel as though they are foreigners in their native land as they work for accomplished trainer Robertino Diodoro. They have looked after horses at Turf Paradise, Oaklawn Park, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Saratoga Race Course and Delta Downs – their current home – in the […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co Presents In Their Care: ‘Jack Of All Trades’

From the time she gets out of bed at 3 a.m., Melissa Williams is the very definition of multi-tasking. All morning, the long-time assistant to Woodbine trainer Mike De Paulo is problem-solving, directing stable employees and keeping a hawk’s eye on the horses. Williams, 45, said her story isn’t so different from many others on […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co Presents In Their Care: The Story Of ‘Cristina’s Journey’

Trainer Dale Romans describes Cristina Bahena’s position in his bustling operation as “barn mother,” and that is only fitting. Her willingness to walk three days across a Mexico desert in 1991 with two children in search of a better life in the United States surely reflects the strength of a mother’s love. Bahena, then a […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: Throwbacks To An Era Long Gone

Rene Duplessis groaned.  “I just hurt,” he said. His complaint had nothing to do with his work as a groom. He started in the early 1970s at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. He has worked as a groom for trainer Neil Howard, currently based at Churchill Downs, since the early 1990s. No, Duplessis’ woes had […]

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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: ‘A Humble Life By All Means’ For Pulido Mendoza

In an age and in an industry in which employees tend to jump from one opportunity to another, Felipe Pulido Mendoza was hired by Richard Mandella in 1974 and became someone the eventual Hall of Fame trainer continues to view as indispensable. Pulido Mendoza was still learning early lessons as a groom when Bad ‘n […]

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