Robert Tully Jr loves harness racing and working with horses but he's only too aware of how fickle the industry can be. The 27-year-old has waited more than half a dozen years for slots to be introduced into Ohio and even though they are just around the corner Tully isn't taking any chances.
The Dayton (Ohio) native considered taking the plunge boots ‘n all into his lifetime passion, but he knew just how unpredictable racing can be and that’s why he opted for a contingency plan in his working life.
“I wanted job security and no-one knows what’s around the corner in harness racing. I love the sport with a passion but getting a degree was important to me.
“With other employment I think racing and driving horses would be more enjoyable and less pressure knowing you have other income to rely on,” Tully told Harnesslink.
The Miamisburg-based student has almost finished a degree in network engineering.
He is currently applying for jobs in the IT industry and also intends studying for a Bachelor’s degree.
In fact had it not been for harness racing Tully could well have been qualified by now and working a five-day job.
Actually if you want to blame someone blame Tully’s Junior High School mate, John Ingram.
“I wasn’t born into a harness racing family and I didn’t really get to learn about and love the sport until I was in my teens. My friend John (Ingram) had a horse and the bug grew from there,” Tully said.
He got so hooked and then mixed his studies with working for trainers Chris Maguire and Jeff Nisonger when he left school.
He then raced a few in his own name from 2010 on. That year he had 22 starters to the races for a couple of placings and this year he’s placed once from six starts. He didn’t train under his name last year.
“I’ve been associated with a lot of winners in other stables, but I have driven 13 winners since 2002.
I think I will always have horses. I really enjoy seeing them develop from scratch and into winners.
“Ideally I would like to mix my work and horses and do both successfully. Hopefully the slots will provide us all with a lot more certainty,” Tully said.
Tully races mostly at Lebanon Raceway and Scioto Downs. He drove his first winner at the Sidney County Fair (Ohio) on July 25, 2002 behind a Set The Style gelding named Doyouwantitornot (1:59.4).
He said the best horse he had trained was7-year-old mare, Joanne’s Attack (1:56.2 – see video).
His favourite horse was Look Sharp gelding Get Up call (1:53.2).
Tully also said one of his highlights so far was driving for renowned horseman Chip Noble.
He has a girlfriend named Andre (see photo) and outside of harness racing enjoys golf, hockey and fishing.
For the record he is a big Columbus Blue Jackets fan (see video).
His favorite quote is:
"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than what you settled for."
By Duane RANGER (editor)
(1) Robert Tully and Joanne’s Attack -aka ‘Tully-cam’:
(2) Robert Tully is a big fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team:
(3) Robert Tully was born in Dayton, Ohio. This video of the grand old city was made 15 years before he was born: