Robert Zink has always relied on employment outside of harness racing to support his wife Tamara and their seven children - but like many Ohio horseman he dreams of the day when he can earn a full-time living from training.
Zink has conditioned eight winners from 41 starters this season. He’s also placed 12 times.
That means he wins one in almost five races and places almost one in two – all for $11,657. That is why Zink works in a factory.
“I would love to be able to just train for a living but we all know how it is in Ohio. Hopefully things will change if and when the slots come in.
“They will be a much needed boost to purses. I’m looking forward to it but I won’t be leaving my other job until positive changes are made,” 47-year-old Zink told Harnesslink.
The Lebanon horseman was a late harness racing bloomer. He was raised on a farm but never got into the sport until his mid-20s.
“When my late mother got divorced she met a man who was into harness racing. I went and helped them and got the bug almost instantly.
“I bought a couple and raced them and it started from there. Today I work a team of five,” the Miami (Ohio) native said.
Zink drove his first winner behind Winston Skipper at Lebanon Raceway in 1990 and has had four winning drives but gave that away in 1997.
“I quit simply because I wasn’t very good at it,” he said.
Since 1992 Zink has trained 258 winners and placed 623 times for $566,211 in purses. His best year was in 2009 when he triumphed 52 times and won $122,699.
He remembers his first training success:
“That was with Maxceleration also at Lebanon.”
He rated 7-year-old Monte Hall mare, Altesse as the best of his five horses at present.
She has had 22 wins and 35 placings from 105 starts and has won $132,785. Zink has had her for her last 25 starts.
“She won well two starts back at Lebanon. My son Jacob helps me with her, so I think he might be my lucky charm. Altesse is a consistent mare.
“Jeremy (Smith) drove her well that night. I like to use him a lot. He’s a talented reinsman and usually in our top five here at Lebanon.” Zink said.
For the last three years Zink has been working in a Home Depot Distribution Center specialising in hardware.
Last year he married his wife Tamara. They have seven children - Tyler, Brianna, Kameron, Karlie, Jacob, Kolin, and Urijah.
Zink attended Henderson County High School and was in the class of 1988. He also studied at the Ivy tech State College.
Outside of harness racing Zink spends all of his time with his family. He also enjoys watching and the Cincinnati Bengals football teamand Cincinnati Reds baseball side.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
(1) Rob Zink is a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals:
(2) Rob Zink also supports the Cincinnati Reds: