Refreshed And Ready, Caldwell Takes Aim At Sam Houston Meet

The day-to-day responsibilities of training racehorses is more than most people outside of the industry can fathom. In short, it’s a 24-hour commitment beginning with acquiring quality owners, conditioning horses through morning works, making equipment adjustments when necessary and finding the right level come entry time. Coupled with attending sales, supervising staff, selecting a jockey, shipping to the next destination and dealing with weather extremes, it is far from an easy way to make a living.

Thoroughbred trainer J. R. Caldwell always loved horses. He rode on the bush tracks as a young teenager and assisted his father, Roscoe, running horses in Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and  Idaho for decades before going out on his own at the age of 18. The wins did not come very often in the beginning, but in 2008, the tide changed. His top earner, Texas Chrome, was a two-time Texas Thoroughbred Association Horse of the Year and is now standing stud in Arkansas. Caldwell set up shop at Churchill Downs, Remington Park, Delta Downs and Lone Star Park. Two years ago, he finished tenth in the standings at Sam Houston Race Park. He remembers the end of 2020 as a turning point for himself and his stable.

“I was mentally fatigued and pulled my horses out of Remington Park,” he recalled. “Sam Houston got a nice boost in purses and despite the challenges of COVID-19, they worked with us.”

Caldwell started the 2021 season here strongly, and finished second in the standings with 34 victories, 21 seconds and 23 third-place finishes. His runners hit the board at a respectable 56% with Sky Ride, winning the Stonerside Stakes in a dead-heat with Hollis and taking the Bucharest Stakes on closing night of the season.

“Finishing second to Steve (Asmussen) is like being leading trainer,” quipped Caldwell. “But Houston got us off to a great start for the year and we did well at Lone Star as well. It was the third-best year of my career.”

On opening night of the 2022 season, the Idaho native has runners entered in nine of the ten races and hopes to replicate his success from last year.

“When we finished at Lone Star, I was gearing up for Houston,” added Caldwell. “I’m blessed to have good owners who support me buying some nice Texas-breds. I have goals for this year at Sam Houston, for sure, but am happy to be in one place, winning races and keeping my owners happy.”

Caldwell currently resides in Valley View, Texas. He relies on Kylie Salisbury, who has been his assistant trainer for the past six years. Jockeys Lane Luzzi  and Obed Sanchez will ride the majority of his runners and last year’s rider Stewart Elliott will also have mounts for Caldwell when he is not riding for Asmussen.

The post Refreshed And Ready, Caldwell Takes Aim At Sam Houston Meet appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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