‘Onwards And Upwards’: 500th Career Win, Promising Juveniles Bring Optimism To Trainer Ingrid Mason

Trainer Ingrid Mason registered her 500th career win on Sunday at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., when Storminside scored a wire-to-wire victory as an odds-on favorite in the day’s second race, a $4,000 claiming event going six furlongs.

A former exercise rider and jockey who in the early 1990s traveled to Dubai to work in Sheikh Mohammed’s stable, Mason began training in 2004, saddling her first winner with her eighth career starter the following February. She lost the few horses in her stable, went back to exercising horses for a few more years, then returned to training in 2009. She hasn’t looked back since.

“I started at the bottom and worked my way up,” said Mason, 50, who has stabled primarily at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and Arlington and Hawthorne in Illinois. “When I restarted my career at Arlington, I had three horses and was work riding for Steve Asmussen. I’d start at 4 a.m. and work till 1 p.m. then come back to feed.”

Mason grew her stable to 40 horses at one point (she’s now at about 28) and put together six consecutive $1-million plus earnings years beginning in 2014, her best season coming in 2016 when her runners earned $1,432,666. Much of that was earned by stable star Sarah Sis, a five-time graded stakes winner for Mason. The trainer’s winningest year was in 2014 when she won 56 races from 287 starts.

“I’ve had a rough couple of years after some great years, but that happens to everybody,” Mason said. “If you don’t have the animals to back you, it’s hard. It’s a challenging sport and so many things can go wrong. My biggest thing is to try and do as much preventive management as possible.

“I’ve got some nice babies this year, so it’s onwards and upwards,” she added. “That’s the fun and exciting part of our sport, the youngsters coming up and getting to watch them develop and progress. It’s exhilarating and the best part of the game.”

Storminside is anything but a youngster. The 7-year-old gelding by Hansen was bought privately early in 2019 by Mason’s “significant other,” Mike Waters, who races as Muddy Waters Stables. In his second start for Mason, Karl Broberg claimed Storminside for $10,000. Nine weeks later when Broberg ran him for the first time in a $6,250 claiming race, Mason and Waters claimed him back. He’s been in the stable ever since, winning four of 21 starts, including his last three.

He was claimed out of Sunday’s winning effort.

“I’m very fortunate,” Mason said. “I’ve got a lot of great owners who have supported me through the years and have never left my side, even during some difficult times. I’m very grateful for that. It’s hard to find loyal people in this business, especially when they see this guy or that guy winning races at high percentages.”

Mason could not be at Arlington for her milestone win, watching the race at home after being hospitalized for two days with a kidney issue. She is hoping this will not be her final year of racing at Arlington, which has been put up for sale by the track’s corporate owner, Churchill Downs Inc., and could be shut down for development.

“There is optimism here, because there are a lot of good people in the industry who want to buy Arlington Park and keep racing going,” she said. “To see Arlington Park close would be the saddest thing in the world.”

The post ‘Onwards And Upwards’: 500th Career Win, Promising Juveniles Bring Optimism To Trainer Ingrid Mason appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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