“This business is all I ever wanted to do” says trainer Tim Twaddle, who’s been training Standardbreds since he graduated from college in 1980. Discover why harness racing means so much to him:
How did you get into the business?
I was always horse crazy & there was a racetrack in my hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario (the now defunct Garden City Raceway). When I was a little kid my mom would put me in her car on race nights in my pajamas & we’d park along the backside so I could watch the daily double before going to bed…I knew early on that I wanted to be a driver!
Can you briefly describe your training methods and principles?
Training methods vary from trainer to trainer as we all have different ideas. A lot of bigger stables are regimented in their work ethics and stick to a rigorous routine. My horses need to keep me going all year long so we take care of them like family. You often hear that a horse ‘just doesn’t fit into our schedule’ …well we like to make our schedule fit the horse. Each horse is different and once we get to know each other we can figure out what makes them happy & producing on the racetrack.
Do you have a favorite horse that you have trained?
I’ve had the great fortune to train/drive many top horses & it’s easy to fall in love with most of them! At present I have a classy campaigner named Goggles Paisano who’s a favorite of mine. He’s just a beautiful gelding (7 yrs old) with a fantastic disposition and he tries hard everytime he goes behind the gate. Birnam Wood Farm bred him & Seth Rosenfeld owns him…I’ve had him since he was 2.
What do you look for in a quality racehorse?
I think every trainer looks for different things in a racehorse…some want flashy past performance lines, some want a good looking athlete , some are more focused on soundness…the common goal is always the same & that is to make a profit with whatever prospect we’re trying to purchase. I’m always looking for a horse that could earn money in the classes offered at The Meadows and having a safety net as backup…by this I mean if the horse doesn’t work out as well as we had hoped then I want to make sure there’s a conditioned claimer to fit him in so nobody gets hurt…options are great.
What advice do you give to people getting involved in harness racing for the first time?
Obviously there are no guarantees in this business…it’s a high risk investment…but it’s not rocket science…invest what you’re comfortable with and I’ll do everything possible to limit that risk… then it’s a fun experience! Casinos at our racetracks have made purses very healthy and well classified horses have little trouble earning their expenses…that’s just the dollars & cents side of it…when an owner comes to the barn & sees these magnificent creatures up close and personal they never forget it! Just being able to feed a horse a carrot or take a picture snuggling up to a horse…When you see their face as they take a ride on a jog cart with me…when they see the behind the scenes activities in the barn…the feeding, exercising, bathing, brushing…when they visit the paddock before a race to witness the energy and what happens with every animal before it heads out to race…it’s an experience they don’t forget! They can bring family, friends, business associates, you name it…out to the track & give them the same experience…it’ll bring everyone closer & they’re able to enjoy something very special together! It truly is a fantastic sport to be part of.
Your most memorable win?
I think my most memorable win was the ’93 Jugette with Towners Image in world record times! (Each heat was a record as well as setting a record for combined heats). My mom was there & it was a special day.
What are your goals for your stable for the future?
Goals we focus on are to keep it simple and have fun! When you love what you do it’s infectious and the successes will follow.