Meet the WVS Team





TK Kuegler

Founder & Managing Partner

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Director of Aftercare
Community Evangelist

Adam Parker

Director of Equine Operations

George Adams

Bloodstock Agent

Sabrina Moore

Broodmare Manager

Tamarie Allard

Accounting

Ron Emrick

Engineering

Jesse Cruz

Jesse Cruz has grown up at the racetrack since his toddler years. According to Jesse, he didn't enjoy being there in his younger years but became more interested by a horse named Russell Road. Initially he wanted to pursue being a jockey. This dream was derailed by a growth spurt during his teenage years. After high school he spent time at Gulfstream Park and Saratoga as an exercise rider for Billy Mott and Mike Maker. He also worked for Ollie Figgins III as an assistant trainer. In December 2016 he earned his trainer's license in Maryland. Slightly more than three months after that he gained his first win. Jesse's stable is based at Delaware Park.

John Alexander Ortiz

John Ortiz grew up with a dad who was a jockey, originally in Columbia and later in the mid-Atlantic region. As a child he was Infatuated with horses and wanted to be a jockey. Making weight to be a jockey was too hard, so he opted to work in a different role. John has worked as a barn foreman and assistant to Bill Mott. He also worked under Graham Motion for two years and Kellyn Gorder for five years. In November 2016 he went on his own as a trainer with a client who wanted to claim horses. This was his first experience with claimers. He has won multiple stakes races with horses that he has claimed for $25k or less and won a Grade 3 stakes at Keeneland on an $80k claimer. He is based in Kentucky and runs at Churchill, Indiana Grand, Oaklawn, and Fairgrounds. Johnny gets on his own horses, breezing them. He has an advantage as he can feel them and experience a different understanding of each. He is a hands on trainer. If he isn't riding, he is in the stall. He is proud of his staff, whom he considers to be family. They are a capable group who focus on working together.

Mark Salvaggio

Mark Salvaggio started as a groom at Thistledown during high school. After high school he moved to Ocala and started galloping there. Mark moved back to Cleveland and became a jockey at Thistledown in 1980. He worked in that role for twenty-three years. During that time, he had a number of accomplishments. In 1990 he was second in the nation for wins as a jockey. He also won at three racetracks in the same day: Parx, Delaware, and Penn National. In 2003, Mark left his career as a jockey and began working for his brother, Michael, starting in the roles of groom and exercise rider. He earned his trainer’s license in 2011 and has been working on his own since then. His stable is located at Penn National.

Ronnie Spatz

A lifelong animal lover, Ron Spatz's first job in racing was walking hots for a dollar apiece while in college. Thereafter, he worked his way up the ladder, as a groom for trainers, Bud Lepman and Jimmy Crall, and then as an assistant to Greg Sanders. He's been training for 25+ years. Ron's stakes winners include: SNAZZLE DAZZLE, CARTERISTA, CAT ON TOUR, EXPLOSIVE JEFF, A REAL ZIPPER, NOBLE ROBYN, FINAL APPROVAL, NAKED ROYALTY, and MOUNTAIN FORUM. He lives in Plantation, Florida.

Zoe Valvo

I grew up in Idaho riding hunter jumpers, I rode my first pony race at the age of 8, and ever since then I’ve caught the horse racing bug and have not been back in a show ring. I acquired my first Steeplechaser, who was given to me for free as he was no longer running well for his previous connections in 2011. He went on that spring to win several hurdle races with me as trainer and winning the VSA (Virginia Steeplechase Association) Hurdle Horse of The Year award. I also trained the VSA Flat Horse of The Year in 2012 with a NY bred gelding who was also given to me due to the fact that his previous trainer said he was untrainable because of his behavior. The day after I turned 16 (legally allowed to ride races) I rode and won my first flat race and was third in my first ride over hurdles, both on horses I owned and trained myself. In 2012 I won my my first sanctioned NSA (National Steeplechase Association) race on a horse owned by my mother and that I trained. At the age of 16 I was asked to represent the US in the Fegentri International Amateur Jockeys series. For five years I rode Thoroughbred and Arabian races all over the world for ARCA and Fegentri in two all Women’s Amateur Jockey series. I rode out for multiple leading National Steeplechase Association trainers, including Janet Elliot and Doug Fout. I was also Niall Saville’s Assistant Trainer at Fair Hill at one time. I also was an exercise rider for Timothy Keefe at Laurel Park. In 2016 I started training steeplechasers for a private farm in Virginia, and we dabbled in some flat horses. In 2018 I opened my stable doors to outside clients.

Dororthy "Beth" Worton

Dorothy “Beth” Worton graduated from Averett University with a Bachelors of Science in Equestrian Studies. She continued with graduate work in Agriculture and Extension Education. Beth worked as adjunct faculty at a local college, teaching courses in these subject areas. Beth’s horse training career started at a Standardbred farm, where she learned and held all roles, including grooming, harnessing, and more. She rode for her husband at their farm, where he trained Arabians and Thoroughbreds. After the unfortunate passing of her husband, Beth met trainer, Carlos A Garcia, and began working as an assistant for him. During this time she earned her trainer’s license in Virginia and Maryland. In 2012 she went out on her own. Beth has worked at Laurel, Bowie, and Pimlico. She currently is stabled at Pimlico. She was the first trainer hired by Wasabi Ventures Stables and trained the first horse WVS owned, Slick William.

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