Posted by Sharon Schendel on Nov 18, 2018
Dan Blacker, trainer of thoroughbred racing horses
Trainer Dan Blacker came south from the Santa Anita track to join our November 15, 2018 meeting to talk about his career training race horses.  He said that a trainer, in essence, gets horses ready to race.  To do so involves overseeing the workout schedules of the horses he trains as well as the workout riders, hot walkers, grooms, farriers and veterinary care. 
Dan has always had a love for horses, ever since he saw his first one when he was 4 years-old in Oxford, England.  He rode competitively as a teenager before attending the University of Edinburgh to study Environmental Geosciences with an eye to working in the oil and gas industry. In addition to his studies, he worked with several horses trainers, and his love of horses eventually drew him to a career in the racing industry.   
He graduated from the Goldolphin Flying Start program where learned about horse racing and breeding at major sites around the world.  This training was instrumental for him to establish his own training enterprise, DB Racing, which he began in 2011 when he was not yet 30 years-old. He saddled his first winner as an independent trainer just weeks later.   
Dan answered many questions from club members, who are eager to better their typically dismal record at our annual Day at the Races. Dan said when he’s looking for horses for his clients, he looks for, among many things, credentials, breeding and conformation (e.g., longer legs). He finds the mare to be more important in selecting horses. Whereas a stallion might have some 200 progeny a year, of which maybe 20% are good, a mare will have just one foal.  When asked about claiming races, Dan explained the several levels of races: stakes, allowance, and claiming.  In claiming races, anyone can buy a horse running in the race and if a claim is put in, as soon as the gate opens the claimant owns that horse. 
Member Scott MacDonald is one of Dan’s clients- Scott owns a share in “Sir Eddie”, a horse that Dan described as “laid back” and “polite” meaning that he’s often likely to let another horse go ahead of him. Nevertheless, Sir Eddie usually manages a show or place and those results yield a payout check for his owners, including Scott.