Sport

WHAT THEY SAY: Gary Crawford - RACEHORSE TRAINER

Friday, February 23, 2018

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When did you start your career as a trainer?

I got involved in the racing game through my father Fitzgerald Crawford, who was himself a trainer. As a child, he would take me to the track on his shoulders, and as a result I developed a natural love for the track and for horses. I was too tall to become a jockey. The great jockey and then trainer, Kenneth Mattis, who was a great friend of my father, encouraged the 'old man' to let me become a trainer as I was definitely too tall to become a jockey, so I started out as a groom. To become a trainer, I started my apprenticeship with my father and completed the process with Richard Azan. I graduated from the Jamaica Racing Commission Training School programme as a trainer in 1998, the same year Jamaica went to the football World Cup.

Which horse was your first winner?

My first winner was Mercedes Boy, ridden by Wesley Henry. It took me about two months before I saddled my first winner. After becoming a trainer, the first horse I saddled to run in an official race was Simfrost, ridden by Emilio Rodriguez. Simfrost finished in third position. My second starter was Burrella who ran fourth, ridden by Winston Griffiths. A lovely, lovely feeling, winning my first race... a day to remember.

Which horse was your longest odds winner?

My longest odds winner was Maverick at odds of 99/1. It is always good to win races. The odds don't matter, as a win is just a win. I am always happy to win races, and that is what I always try to do.

Which is the best horse that you have trained?

I will say it is one of three: Mayfair, Kroll or Ashes To Ashes. I won three races with Kroll. These horses were foreigners and they won a lot of races for me as well. They were very easy to train and they did everything that was asked of them, always running good races.

Which is the best horse you've seen run at Caymanas Park?

The best horse I have seen run at Caymanas Park, not going back down in the days, is She's A Maneater. So far this filly has won the Triple Crown, the Superstakes and the Diamond Mile in the same year, and that was a great accomplishment. She's A Maneater is the only horse to date to achieve that great feat.

Who influenced your career the most in becoming a trainer?

Without any hesitation, I will say my father. My mother never wanted me to come to the track. She never wanted me to get involved in racing, but I decided to follow in my father's footsteps. Outside of my father, the trainer who has had a lasting influence on my development was Kenneth Mattis. He was my father's good friend and always told him, "Let the boy turn trainer, man. He's too tall; he can't be a jockey.”

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