Veteran Percival Hussey returns to conditioning horses after a break of 12 years
Hussey... I kept breeding horses, and although I lost interest I never left racing (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

Even when horse racing seemed to have given up on him, trainer Percival Hussey never gave up on the sport.

Hussey, who started his professional career of conditioning horses for thoroughbred racing at Caymanas Park in 1977, left the game in 2011 after saddling a respectable 434 winners in his 34-year career.

Hussey said that while he was not conditioning horses for racing he was still active in the sport as a breeder.

"The horse that I can remember I last saddled was around 2011. I left the training aspect of the game because of family reasons. My brother Charlie [former jockey Charles "Boggle Man" Hussey] stopped riding; my father [Lawrence Hussey] took sick, and I lost interest in the sport. I kept breeding horses, and although I lost interest I never left racing," Hussey told The Supreme Racing Guide.

The Hussey family led by matriarch Ruth (right) was present at the 2018 Yearling Sale. From left are Charles Hussey, Andrew Hussey, and Christelle Harris.

Hussey, after years away from training, made a hearty return to competitive racing on Saturday, March 25, 2023 when he saddled his first runner, One Don, in the third event on the 10-race card.

The five-year-old American-bred chestnut horse One Don was entered in a three-year-old and upward Claiming ($750,000–$600,000) spread over six furlongs (1,200m). Ridden by champion jockey Dane Dawkins, One Don, who led for most of the way, finished in third place behind Johncrowjeff and Kay Boy.

"My son Ruben Hussey is back now helping me and he wants to learn the game so I am back helping him as well. Trainer Anthony Nunes is also helping him [Ruben], and so that's why I am here.

"I am very excited to be back training horses; I mean, this is amazing. It is nice, and I am looking forward to it. It is nice to be back," Hussey said.

Trainer Percival Hussey (second right) leads one of many winners The Spider (Charles Hussey) to the winners' enclosure in 1977. At right is groom Raph Porter.

Hussey, who currently has three horses under his care, said he will be conditioning horses for competitive racing at Caymanas Park for awhile.

"I will be here. As long as my son is enjoying his time here, I will be here with him. Ruben is 25 years old and he is an owner. His first winner was Adwa the other day for trainer Ray Phillips, and his syndicate racing name is called The Next Generation," Hussey said.

Hussey shared how it all began for him in the racing industry.

"My father was a trainer. Charlie was a jockey at 12 or 13 years old. Mommy [Ruth Hussey] was a breeder and champion owner twice, and so you could see the family connection.

"My first winner as a trainer was with a horse by the name of Fire Dean and my groom was Ralph Porter, who is a trainer now. In those days you couldn't imagine it; the feeling was just unexplainable, it was just exciting. And racing in those days was a lot tougher with a lot more different trainers than we now have as little boys," he said.

Despite numerous Grade One winners — including Aero Star who won the 2000 Jamaica Oaks, and Fromrussiawithlove, winner of the 2002 Jamaica 2000 Guineas — Hussey said the talented filly Miss Ruth will forever have a place in his heart.

"The best-talented horse was probably Miss Ruth. She was versatile; I mean, she was everything. Anything you asked her to do, she could do, and unfortunately she didn't make it as a three-year-old.

"Miss Ruth was a very fractious horse but was probably the best potential horse. She won the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, beating Bruceontheloose with Dick Cardenas in the saddle, his first year riding here. Charlie had brought him in from Panama to ride for us and everybody else when he stopped riding," Hussey said.

BY RUDDY ALLEN Observer staff reporter ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

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