Horse Racing

Always be honest with your owners – trainer Rohan Crichton

BY HURBUN WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Trainer Rohan Crichton was recently honoured for his contribution to horse racing as a trainer who plies his trade in the United States, at an awards dinner which was held on Thursday, November 7, at the AC Hotel in Kingston. Crichton on the day when he was honoured had a record of 808 starts, 134 wins, 134 second-place finishes and 107 third-place finishes for earnings of US$3,352,616.

The Supreme Racing Guide spoke with Crichton, who shared his experience as a conditioner.

SUPREME RACING GUIDE — SRG

SRG: Tell us about your background.

RC: I started in racing as an owner. I was exposed to the sport from a tender age, as my father was an owner and I developed the passion for racing from him.

SRG: What were your early days like?

RC: I started to visit the track (Caymanas Park) from I was about three-years-old and the interest grew immensely and I spent the entire day at the stable. I just loved to be around horses. I loved the idea of being around horses so much that I had to complete my school work before I was allowed to go the track.

SRG: What did you learn then?

RC: The important aspect of being around the stables was learning about the husbandry of the horse. I would say the most important thing is the husbandry of the horse and to me, a happy horse is important than a fit horse. Happy first, fit next. So, that is what the early days at the track taught me. The first race I saw was won by Superdocious. I could not see the race standing up, so my father put me on his shoulder to get a better view and I enjoyed the race watching from there. My passion grew from there to love the sport and most of what I learned in those formative years came from Jamaican trainers.

SRG: When did you leave Jamaica? and tell us of your time abroad.

RC: I left Jamaica when I was about 17 or 18 years old and as I left, I made it to the race track and put in a lot of time with Ralph Ziadie, who became I would say my mentor, he was almost like a second father. A very good man. I took a break and went to university in Florida to become a chartered accountant with my practice but still owned horses in the US and Jamaica and about in 2011, I decided as a hobby to train my horses. That was what started the journey of becoming a trainer.

SRG: Which horse was your first winner as a trainer?

RC: Great Escape. First start, first win ridden by Elvis Trujillo at Gulfstream Park. I never trained locally. All my starters are in North America. I owned horses in Jamaica for many, many years. That was part of the passion but I have never had a starter in Jamaica

SRG: Tell us about your major race winners.

RC: I have won a few Stakes races but my best effort was in a Grade I race. I did not win but I have a couple of places in Grade II and Grade III races but I now have probably my best horse ever at this time and the hope is next year this horse will win at the Grade I level. That is the great thing about racing. Hope is important as it fuels the desire and passion.

SRG: Which other races stick out in your mind?

RC: Races that stand out in my mind are races that you have to overcome everything to win. It brings out everything in you. Like a first-time championship winner who is overcoming some physical problems.

SRG: Which horses did you own in Jamaica?

RC: Quite a few but the best horse that I owned in Jamaica was Royal Command.

SRG: Have you any regrets leaving Jamaica?

RC: Every day. Racing in Jamaica is one. It gave me my entire passion, acumen, desire, love and always that knowledge from the Jamaican punter, as they are the greatest racing fans in the world. I wish that those racing days can come back when everybody can benefit from the industry from the top to the bottom.

SRG: What makes you special as a conditioner?

RC: What makes me special in training horses? I am honoured to think that I have done something special in training horses but I would say caring and nutrition are probably the strongest parts of my training, as those are the areas in which I take much pride. Advice to a young trainer — honesty, tell your owners when something is bad, as well as when something is good. When one is honest, you attract something good in your own life and above all be patient with your horses.

SRG: Your thoughts on being honoured at this special dinner?

RC: Very humbling. Every time I come to Jamaica and someone recognises me and tells me that he watched me in a race the first thing I ask that person is did I win? And for this, I feel the like; I feel the passion. They are proud of what they saw from the reception. Since here is where I lived and learned the sport, it is as if I need to come back to Caymanas Park; the place that taught me absolutely everything that I now know and most of the Jamaican horsemen I know will be able to compete most favourably anywhere in the world where horse racing is on offer.


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