January 19, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - Kelsey Lefever was well-known in the Pennsylvania horse world. The 24-year-old horse trainer from Chester County competed at the Devon Horse Show and traded show ponies and draft horses on the Internet. At Penn National, near Harrisburg, one of the biggest racetracks in the state, she schmoozed thoroughbred owners, telling them she would find great homes for their horses when their racing careers were over. In fact, state police allege, Lefever was selling the horses - as many as 120, by her admission - to contractors for a Canadian slaughterhouse, where they were butchered and shipped overseas for human consumption.
June 5, 2015 |
WINNING A single Triple Crown race for a horse trainer is just like winning any golf major or any championship in any team sport. No matter what else happens in a career, only one trophy in horse racing's marquee series is a forever moment. Bob Baffert has won 11 Triple Crown races since 1997 - the Kentucky Derby four times, the Preakness six times, the Belmont Stakes once. To put in perspective how dominant Baffert's stable has been since Silver Charm won the '97 Derby, consider that he has won nearly 20 percent of all Triple Crown races since then (11 of 56)
May 20, 2005 |
When he heard the diagnosis, Kiaran McLaughlin had an image of multiple sclerosis: Richard Pryor in a wheelchair. The horse trainer was scared into an immediate depression. "Three weeks, I didn't leave my living room," McLaughlin said. "I just sat there. " Seven years later, the 44-year-old McLaughlin said he knows a lot about MS - "more than I ever wanted to know. " But other than self-administering a shot every evening, McLaughlin has been able to live with the disease in his "hip pocket" with only a tinge of numbness in his right arm as a reminder.
April 16, 1990 |
Maybe it happened when he was modeling athletic shorts on the runway for Macy's, or maybe it happened when he was doing a test shoot for Calvin Klein underwear. Or maybe it was when he was standing in line for a K mart ad behind Rick Edwards, one of the top fashion models in the world. He isn't quite sure. But sometime in 1987, after a year in front of the cameras and circulating with America's beautiful people, John Walker, from a horse farm in Burlington County, decided to take the focus off himself and put it back on horses.
March 23, 2010 |
Wrapped in a windbreaker, horse trainer Kate DeMasi stood on the rail at Philadelphia Park on a recent morning, bracing against a raw drizzle and watching an exercise rider work his mount on the muddy track. DeMasi, a major trainer at the Bensalem track, was taking stock of her latest prospect, a 6-year-old stallion named Slate. A few yards away in DeMasi's busy barn, Rumrunnin Purgy, a 3-year-old, playfully nipped at the grooms walking horses past his stall. After three races and one fifth-place finish, a tendon injury had abruptly ended Purgy's career.
November 2, 2015 |
Anthony DeFrancesco III fell in love with horse racing shortly before America began to fall out of love with it, when places such as Liberty Bell Park in Northeast Philadelphia still drew a Saturday night crowd. At 15 - two years before Liberty Bell closed in 1986 - DeFrancesco dropped out of junior high school to become a groom. His first horse was Blue Steel, a standardbred he cleaned, fed, and jogged. "It's my passion. It's what I do," DeFrancesco said last week in the stables of Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester.
October 29, 2014 |
IT WAS JULY 19, 2013, Rusty Carrier's 57th birthday. Doing exactly what any former horse trainer should be doing, he was watching the first race from Saratoga at his Castleton, Va., farm when, suddenly, this gigantic horse, with these amazingly long strides, just appeared. "You couldn't even see him on the screen," Carrier said last Thursday by phone. "All of a sudden, this huge stride went flying by everything to win. I said, 'Oh, my God, what is that?' " That was Hardest Core, a son of Pennsylvania-bred Hard Spun, the 2007 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up out of the mare Lillybuster, a daughter of Bob Levy's racing Hall of Famer, Housebuster.
June 5, 2012 |
THERE IS LITTLE middle ground on drugs in horse racing or Doug O'Neill, the man who trains the horse that won the first two-thirds of the Triple Crown. In a perfect world, there would be no drugs, legal or illegal, in horse racing and O'Neill would have a spotless record. It is not a perfect world. So is O'Neill, the trainer of I'll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, a man who has gone from the bottom of the sport to the top by hard work or by living on the edge?
August 14, 2000 |
Scott Lake is sitting in the clubhouse at Monmouth Park, having lunch with friends and looking more like an anonymous fan than the nation's leading horse trainer. In a few minutes, he will saddle a most unlikely favorite in the $150,000 Salvatore Mile Handicap. His horse, Leave It To Beezer, a big, strong 7-year-old gelding and former claimer who looks, some say, like a camel, is on a four-race winning streak and is the talk of the backstretch. And Lake, 35, a tall, handsome, personable trainer based at Philadelphia Park, is on a streak of his own. He leads the nation in total victories and has been winning at an unprecedented rate of 35 to 37 percent for much of the year.
June 24, 2011 |
As Buck Brannaman says, he doesn't work with people with horse problems. He works with horses with people problems. The documentary "Buck," directed by Cindy Meehl, follows the horse trainer as he travels across the country and teaches people how to work with their equine mates in ways that are both effective and far-reaching. Several interviewees who attended Brannaman's clinics proselytize about his methods, claiming that they not only learn to train their horses correctly, but his teachings bleed over into their real lives as well, in how they go about their jobs and treat their kids and spouses.