LEDFORD ENJOYING EXCELLENT SEASON

08:51 PM 23 Jun 2005 NZST
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After more than 31 years working for General Motors in Dayton, Ohio, Seldon Ledford decided to retire - and become a full-time horse trainer.

Ledford is now a Top 5 trainer at the Meadowlands, where he was selected Trainer of the Week after winning with six of nine starters.

"We have string here in Chicago, and Ryan Daley is my assistant trainer in New Jersey," the 58-Year-Old Kentucky native said. "He oversees the stable at Showplace Farms. Ryan and his wife have been a major factor in my success for close to 10 years, and we have good help there.

"Last year, I won titles at Balmoral Park, Hawthorne and Maywood Park, so I was leading trainer overall (in Chicago)," he noted.

"This may be my retirement, but it doesn't bother me at all," he added.

"I could have worked seven days a week at General Motors, but I wasn't going to give up the part-time job with the horses.

"I was born in Kentucky, and I left there for Ohio when I was a teenager," he explained. "My family wasn't involved in the business, but I liked horses and we had some riding and pleasure horses on our farm.

"When I came to Ohio my brother and uncle liked to go to the races," Ledford said. "They took me a couple of times, and I told them I wanted no part of watching the races because I wanted to buy one.

“I started as an electrician for a couple of years before I joined General Motors in Dayton. I stayed there 31 and a half years, and then went full-time into the horses. I started really getting into it with five or six horses when Eric (his son, driver Eric Ledford) was 16.

“We always had two or three when he was growing up. As he got older, we got more horses and hired help. We raced at Lebanon, Scioto Downs, Louisville Downs and Lexington.

"Eric started driving in 1989 and over the next few years we had a 10 to 12-horse stable," he noted. "I was based at Lebanon Raceway until I came to Chicago. When he was winning all those races with Eternal Camnation, it was like having a kid who's an all-star baseball player. It was a thrill.

“He has a nice family now, and he's a more mature Eric Ledford. He could always get a lot out of a horse and handle one well. He hasn't done anything else since he was 8-Years-Old, and his experience has helped.

"We sent out a small string to the Meadowlands when Eric first came out there, but we never really had any power," he added.

"This season we had some nice horses like Town Champion and Fox Valley Gallant. That one just won the $135,000 First State Free-For-All at Harrington on Monday after winning at Woodbine in a lifetime best of 1.48.3. Town Champion races at Hawthorne this weekend.

"Change of scenery, diet and a different routine works sometime," Ledford said of his strategy with claimers. "I like to know exactly how the previous trainer had the horse hung up. I'm very big on shoeing, and I think it's overlooked a lot.

“I'll pull blood on a horse to see where their health is at and always check their teeth. I go over them with a fine-tooth comb and try to keep them happy. I like swimming horses, especially the ones with problems.

"When we claim a horse, we look for one with a decent amount of starts that show they're consistent, and you hope your program improves them," he said. "You're happy if they stay at the same level because the money is good at the Meadowlands.

"We claimed Glenwillow Lady (first race on Friday night at the Meadowlands) because she was very consistent in her class," he noted. "I figured maybe I could take a second off this horse. We handicapped her for a higher claiming tag, but she fits.

"Astaire Blue Chip (Friday's seventh race) won first time Lasix in a lifetime best of 1.55.2, and then made a break last time," he said. "He just needs a lot of attention.

"We just got Activator (first race on Saturday) this week, so I can't comment on him until he races for us," he explained. "Rakin N The Bucks (Saturday's eighth race) has been a good claim for us and comes off a lifetime mark of 1.51.3. Bramasole is entered in the eliminations for the Armbro Flight at Mohawk on Saturday."

Courtesy Of The Meadowlands Media Relations Department

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