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WVS Community

The WVS Community Pulls Together

At Wasabi Ventures Stables, we like to think of ourselves as a tight-knit community. Recently, we learned that this thinking is true.

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Debbie Nakayama

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

My first memory of my love for Horse Racing was watching Secretariat win the Triple Crown in 1973. I didn’t get hooked on racing until 1978 when Affirmed and jockey, Steve Cauthen won the Triple Crown. I was a teenager who fell in love with Affirmed and I had a mad crush on Steve Cauthen too. While other teenage girls were reading Teen and Tiger Beat magazines, I was reading my subscription to TURF magazine cover to cover. I wanted to know everything about the sport.

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Chad Glass

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I was attracted to horse racing at an early age when I started going to the track with my grandfather. As I grew older, the excitement of race day grew stronger.

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Lydia Folse

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

When I was 12, my aunt took me to the Fair Grounds here in New Orleans for the first time and I was hooked! The whole experience — the horses, the atmosphere, the excitement — was unforgettable. In those days, the daily race results were part of the local sportscast so I began following the sport and trying to learn a little along the way.

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Connie and Jim Black

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

Jim bought a horse in 2014 for barrel racing. Friends who went with him to check out the horse noticed it had raced a few times, never doing better than 5th, but had good breeding with Mr. Jess Perry being the sire’s sire. Our friend, who had his training license, talked us into letting him train her for 30 days then enter her. She won! The first race we ever entered and we went to the winner’s circle. We were hooked!

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Christopher Boyd

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

Around the early 1980s, I went to Laurel Park for the first time with my parents. They had a friend that had racehorses. Ever since then, I was hooked. I would visit here and there a few times a year. About 20 years ago, I started visiting different racetracks to drop a wager and watch. And now it continues to a weekly event and as Co-owner and Ambassador with Wasabi.

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Lauren Floyd

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I’ve loved horses for as long as I can remember. I started taking riding lessons as soon as I turned 8 and have been riding off and on ever since. In 2004, one of my best friends suggested that I watch the Kentucky Derby on TV, which turned out to be the year of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt. I was starstruck after his win in the Preakness, where he obliterated his competition. Of course, I was heartbroken when Birdstone ran him down in the Belmont.

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Alyssa Lapa

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I did not have a real interest in horse racing outside of the three races of the Triple Crown, and the only track I can recall ever being to was Turf Paradise in Arizona, and that was more than likely because we got invited for some event perhaps by my Mom’s employer. At that time I was still too young to grasp the concept of horse racing.

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Asad Butt

Before you became interested in horse racing, what was your perception of the industry?

I really thought it was just rich people buying horses, training them over the course of a couple years, and then racing them. That’s that. But the Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club has shown me that it’s much more. Now I feel like I’ve gotten a crash course and my interest has increased.

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Tony LaGuardia

When did your interest in horse racing develop?

I’ve always loved horses. When I was a child, I had ponies and was around other horses quite a bit. My grandfather had an interest in horse racing, and we would go together to Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey from the 1970s and on into the 1980s.

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Vanessa Kerr

What attracted you to the horseracing industry?

I’ve loved horses since I can remember, but when I was younger the only way I could participate was by watching horse races on television. That was my introduction to the industry.

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Gary Quill

Handicapper Gary Quill, Part 1

Gary is a fourth-generation handicapper. Currently, Gary’s handicapping prowess is on display as “The GQ Approach” at TheRacingBiz.com, providing selections & analysis for every race day at Maryland tracks. In the past, he’s been a guest handicapper at Laurel Park on Maryland Million Day and at Pimlico on Preakness Day in the Preakness Infield Corporate Village. During Preakness Week, he has conducted interviews with horsemen, jockeys, and others in the racing industry at Pimlico Stakes Barn, Alibi Breakfast, and Preakness Post Position Draw since 2008.

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John Piassek

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I go to college in Maryland, but I’m originally from Cranford, New Jersey. My dad is a big fan of horse racing and, when I was very young, he’d take me to Monmouth Park and Saratoga. I really liked it. As I got older, I would watch racing on TV. There was a Monmouth Park replay show in New Jersey that I watched every day. I actually recorded all the shows and watched them over and over again. I’ve been watching racing on TV and going to the track ever since.

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Steve Messa

What attracted you to horse riding?

I had a friend who was a dressage rider. Dressage is basically an art form of horse riding. It’s almost like ballet on a horse. The goal is to train your horse to be as obedient and flexible as possible. The rider’s performance is judged on several criteria. When I saw my friend’s dressage performance, I was very fascinated. I visited the barn, and she had two horses there. One was her horse for dressage, and the other one was her older horse. The older horse was a mare named Rosie. I got to ride her and had a bunch of lessons. I rode Western-style, so I didn’t do dressage. Dressage traditionally involves more English and French riding styles, while Western-style riding is more for ranching.

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Christie Lane Craven

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I was your typical horse-crazy little girl. We didn’t have a Thoroughbred track close to us, so I started by watching Standardbred Racing. I grew up in southern Maryland, where Rosecroft Raceway is located. My dad used to take me to the harness races. However, I got really annoyed because in Standardbred racing they don’t run. When they break pace, they have to go to the back until they regain their stride. So, I thought, ”This is fun, but why don’t you just let them run as fast as they can?” Now that I live more north, I’m about seven miles from Laurel Park, and it’s very nice. I can go there a lot to see the Thoroughbred races.

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Chris Eldridge

What attracted you to the horseracing industry?

My initial experience with horse racing was about three years ago when I was a speaker at a conference held at Churchill Downs. I was there very early in the morning getting prepared, and American Pharoah was doing his morning workout. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I didn’t know anything about horse racing. I just knew that was the “horse from TV”, but we all know what happened a few weeks later when he won the Triple Crown. So, it was amazing for me to know that I saw American Pharoah at Churchill Downs only a few weeks prior to his win. Since then, I’ve enjoyed learning about the sport and experiencing the thrill of racing, whether as an owner or spectator. It’s entertaining to watch the horses race.

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The Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club has people from all over the United States in the Club.

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