Tell us how you became the Track Superintendent at Turf Paradise?
I started at Turf Paradise in 2006 as a tractor driver. I became the Assistant Superintendent in 2007 and remained in that position until 2014 when I took the Superintendent position at Evangeline Downs. When the opportunity came up for a superintendent at Turf Paradise in 2015, I returned because I consider AZ home and I have been here ever since.
For those who don't know what are your specific responsibilities and what does a normal day during live racing look like for you?
My responsibilities include care and maintenance of all surfaces. This includes the Main Track, Training Track and the Turf Course. I also have the responsibility of supervising some of the ordering of supplies & for trackside maintenance. A normal day starts by dropping off my kids at school and arriving at the track before the break to ensure that everything goes as planned. After the break we set harrows, fuel up the equipment, and perform a maintenance check to ensure that all equipment is safe & ready for racing. I pick up programs and spend some time doing paperwork and PO’s. After the track closes for training at 10 am, I have 2 hours to prep the surface for the day’s racing. 12:30 is post time and they are off. After the day’s racing is completed, we put the track to sleep for the evening to wait for my crew to come in at 2 am in the morning to start it over again.
What do you think are the most important aspects in managing both the dirt and turf tracks?
Staying ahead of the weather.
What has been the reaction of horsemen to the track surfaces for the 2021 meet?
It’s been a busy year due to the pandemic and I have not been able to spend much time out there touching base with many horsemen. So far, my phone has been quiet. I believe “no news is good news!”
Obviously, you head up a small team at Turf Paradise, what qualities do you think make a good track superintendent and how can young people learn if this is a good career for them to be involved in?
Being a motivator and leading by example to inspire people to do the best job that they can do. There is no such thing as a dumb question, only the one you do not ask. A superintendent cannot be working every position all the time. You must have faith in your crew. Most kids are intrigued by the heavy machines. My advice would be to start out by learning to drive a tractor and ask lots of questions. Learn to operate as many pieces of equipment as possible.
What is one aspect of your work that would surprise most people?
That I am on call 24/7. The weather does not keep regular hours!
Favorite food and drink?
I really love a good burger and enjoy an ice-cold beer.
Most inspirational people in your life?
My mom and my stepdad because they taught me the value of a strong work ethic.
Best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Always have a plan “B”!
What are your tastes in music?
I like all kinds of music and it is a very important part of my life. But one of my favorite tunes to hear is the “Call to The Post.”
Who is your favorite all time racehorse?
Lost in The Fog