Taylor Spitzig, 23, of Courtright, Ont., celebrated her first ever career win, as a trainer, this past Tuesday at The Raceway at Western Fair District, In London, Ont.. Taylor is the owner and trainer of Windwood Nick who would roll gate-to-wire at 11/1 for driver Lorne House in 2:00 flat.
When asked about her background in racing, she says she’s been involved her whole life.
“My dad (Rusty) has always had horses and back before harness racing was popular he was racing ponies in Sarnia and in Indiana, Michagan and Ohio,” shes says. “As a young child I’d bring my colouring books to the track - while my dad drove or looked after the horses we had racing that night. I was ten when I picked up my groom’s license just so I could actually be in the paddock with my dad.”
“Dad has been my biggest influence, but I also look at trainer Casie Coleman and the success she has had in the business,” continued Spitzig. “Not only is she the top female trainer, but she’s a top trainer in a male dominated industry.”
Together with her dad, the Spitzigs look after sixteen horses - a mixture of race horses, two-year-olds, yearlings, broodmares and retired horses.
“I have a two-year-old of my own that I’m getting ready for O.S.S. action this year - Casimir Ozzy aka Ozzy - and then I’m training two Dontgetinmyway two-year-olds to go back to Indiana for their sire stakes this summer,” she explains. “Some other ‘project’ horses I have are my two three-year-olds and my old trotter Twin B Rawley. I’m hoping to have those three qualified by mid-April.”
Going into Tuesday’s race with Winwood Nick, Taylor said there was no need to be any more confident about her chances of winning.
“Whenever I am confident it seems to backfire on me... All I said to Lorne (House), before the race, was - I hope ‘Woody’ has his game face on... I figured I was good enough for a cheque but not the win. Being in against my dad’s horse (Birkdale) and my pet, I was just hoping they could both finish in the money - which they did!”
When asked if she had purchased a win ticket on Winwood Nick, for that first training win, Taylor was quick to admit that she’s very superstitious.
“No I didn’t have a ticket on him,” she says. “I won’t bet my horses... I won’t Tweet about them or go on Facebook to talk about them until after they race. I feel like I jinx them when I do any of that,” she continued. “You may just see me in the same jeans, tank, sweater and sneakers next time ‘Woody’ is in to race because that’s how superstitious I am!”
Here’s Taylor describing the feeling of watching and winning her first race...
“When they got past the half and ‘Woody’ was still on top – the excitement started to kick in... I was yelling at the top of my lungs from the fence hoping he would keep going. I don’t even remember seeing the finish I was just way too excited. And then I questioned myself thinking he may have got nipped at the wire - because it was close - but then I heard Brad in the starting car say ‘test the winner #3’ and I started walking to the winner's circle with probably the biggest, goofiest, smile on my face ever. All the guys going out to warm up horses kept congratulating me... It felt amazing! All I could think was 'I finally won my first race!’ and that smile hasn’t left my face yet... My dad keeps teasing me - asking how many copies of the win photo I'm going to have made.”
by Shannon "Sugar" Doyle, for the Raceway