Getting to Know: Jeremiah Englehart

Jeremiah Englehart began his training career in 2003 and has carved himself a niche on the New York circuit- Finger Lakes included. Jeremiah grew up around horse racing and hails from a family of successful trainers, including his father, Chris Englehart and his brother, Jeff Englehart. The current leading trainer at Finger Lakes, Jeremiah scored the biggest victory of his career thus far when he trained Ria Antonia to a first-place finish in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at 32-1. He also trained multiple graded stakes winner and New York turf stalwart King Kreesa. Jeremiah has several promising two-year-olds in his barn at the moment, including graded stakes-placed juvenile Aveenu Malcainu and stakes-winning fillies I Still Miss You and Indy’s Lady. After taking the West Virginia Lottery Breeders’ Classics Stakes with Grumplestiltskin, Jeremiah was kind enough to grant 5 Minutes To Post an interview, and we thank him for his time. You can follow him on Twitter @jceracing

5MTP: You currently have strings at Saratoga and Belmont in addition to Finger Lakes, where you’re annually a leading trainer. What’s the difference between training there and at the NYRA tracks?

JE: Well, I have more horses at Finger Lakes. I guess it’d be moreso the type of horses you’re working with at Finger Lakes is different than Saratoga and Belmont as far as the quality. I do keep some of my NYRA horses at Finger Lakes to utilize the swimming pool and other ways of training. I actually like training over the Finger Lakes track better than any of the [NYRA] tracks. So if I have a horse that may not be agreeing with one of the NYRA tracks, I’ll ship them up there to Finger Lakes, and usually they become sounder just by training over the racetrack. The biggest difference is the type of horse, but there’s a lot of similarities too as far as the operation.

5MTP: Training runs in your family, with your father, uncle and brother all involved in the industry.

JE: My father trains, yeah. My uncle Steve is actually my assistant at Finger Lakes, and then my mom is my dad’s assistant at Finger Lakes, and my younger brother Jeffrey trains as well.

5MTP: What was it like growing up in such a racing-centric family?

JE: It was a lot of fun at times. Being in the sport had its advantages as far as you always had the competition, you were close with the animal, and you have your racing family at the racetrack. There wasn’t the greatest of times as well because with both your parents [training], you’re with them working in the morning and at night. It’s hard not to bring your work home when you’re working together as parents and your kids are working with you as well, so there were times when it was stressful too. But overall, I don’t think I would’ve changed anything.

5MTP: When did you know you wanted to train racehorses? Was that something that you just always knew, or was there a point where it wasn’t what you thought you were going to do.

JE: As a kid I always wanted to be a trainer, but when I graduated high school I wanted to try something different. I went to school, got a marketing degree, but I was working at the track part time. My brother and I bought a couple horses, and I did really well. And when I was about 20 or 21, I was training those horses under my dad’s name and it just ended up where I knew at that time that I wanted to be a trainer. I didn’t want to work in an office, I wanted to be outside. I wanted to work with horses, and it just seemed that being a trainer was the right thing. My dad helped me a lot in figuring that out. So I was probably 20 or 21 when I knew I wanted to train horses.

5MTP: You’re 27% with two-year-olds this year, compared to 10% last year, and 16% the year prior, although your in-the-money percentages have been consistent. Do you think you have a better quality crop of two-year-olds this year, or is there another contributing factor to that?

JE: I think it has a lot to do with the better quality [of] the horses that Travis Durr and I selected as yearlings and two-year-olds. I think the owners are starting to let me pick out horses as well where I’m getting a chance to pick with some nicer horses, and we’ve had some horses that we didn’t pay a whole lot of money for that seem like they’re good horses too. I think it has a lot to do with the horses you select, and I think it’s very beneficial. I got to work with young horses since my dad purchased young horses. He’s more of a claiming trainer now, but when I was younger he was [working with] a lot of the babies and I got to see how the good ones look when they’re younger and how they grew up, and what to do with them and how to test them a little bit. I think that has been pretty beneficial for me, growing up with the younger horses.

5MTP: Speaking of good two-year-olds you have this year, how has Aveenu Malcainu come out of the Champagne? What’s next on the agenda for him?

JE: He came out of the Champagne very well. It was a very disappointing race for me. It wasn’t really our plan to be on the lead. It seemed like the second jump out of the gate, Luis [Saez] asked him a little bit and he got aggressive, and the horse just took him there and rather than choke him back, you just have to let them run on. It was disappointing afterwards, but he came out of the race well. I didn’t really set a goal. I think right now we’re looking at the Nashua at Aqueduct and I think it’ll either be that race or we’ll bring him down to Florida and start getting him ready for a three-year-old campaign.

5MTP: Along with the Champagne, you had a starter in the Frizette who wasn’t quite as fancied as Aveenu Malcainu in his race, but what did you think of Purrfect Miss’s effort?

JE: I’ll tell you, I was really happy with her race. I had doubts about the distance for her; she’s always reminded me of a sprinter. She’s actually always reminded me more of a turf horse than anything but she’s been fine on the dirt. I thought the mile could be a little bit too much and she took the lead at the top of the stretch and she’s just such a gamer; she tries hard every time and she gave it all she could, and that’s all I can ask for. She came out of the race in pretty good shape, I think what we’re going to do is go ahead and ship her down to Florida, get her acclimated and point toward a two-year-old turf sprint down there in December.

5MTP: Just recently at Charles Town you had Grumplestiltskin win the West Virginia Lottery Breeders’ Classics Stakes on West Virginia Breeders’ Classics night. He became the fifth WVBC winner from his granddam, Roberta Grump.

JE: [The West Virginia-Bred] program seems to be gaining some steam too as far as what type of horses are being bred. I’m well aware of the state bred program in New York and what they’ve done here in New York and I’ve been following it enough where if you purchase a WV-bred you have some really good options as far as money to run at throughout the state.

5MTP: How did you end up with Grumplestiltskin, as he made his first two starts for Gary Sciacca?

JE: I picked up [former NFL coach Bill Parcells’] horses in July and he was one of them that came over at the time. He was almost ready to run and I gave him another couple of breezes, and in the last one he galloped out strong and seemed like he was ready to run. I was actually going to bring him down to win a non-winners of two, but then I thought ‘let’s run him in a non-winners of one other than’ [at Saratoga]. He worked well enough at Saratoga that he should run well, and he did. He just got off a little slow. If he didn’t get off slow, he might have won the race, he just got [going] a little late. Then I ran him back at Belmont. I don’t know if 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont was really his thing. I was actually worried about the 7 furlong distance in the Breeders’ Classic at Charles Town, but I think that track will allow you to stretch out a little bit, and helps horses that might not be a true 7/8th’s horse. He’s a nice horse and I wasn’t sure if he was going to be fast enough to beat [Unrideabull], but I thought Jose [Montano] gave him a really good ride.

5MTP: Do you know what might be next for him?

JE: We’re going to look into [the $200k Steel Valley Sprint] at Mahoning. I think I might give him a shot in that race if I think we’re competitive.

5MTP: What made you decide off of two good third-place efforts in allowance races to try for that stakes instead of another go in allowance company?

JE: Well, I notice that when state breds run against one another in New York, there’s always a better outcome and I thought maybe running against WV-breds in that race [would have the same result], and it would’ve been more money winning that race than winning a 1X allowance at Belmont. So I just figured it might be a little bit of a better spot for him. I’ve done a bit of traveling when I was working for my dad, shipping and whatnot, so it never really bothers me to ship.

5MTP: I was told to ask about the story behind a two-year-old filly named I Still Miss You?

JE: Yeah, her dam, I had this filly for Maggi Moss by the name of Lion’s Terms, I liked her, but I lost her through the claim box and I was going to claim her back for one of my close owners, Gold Star Racing Stable and Mark Whipperman. I was trying to get ahold of Mark to claim her and I couldn’t get ahold of him. I went ahead and claimed the horse anyway without even asking him, and he called me the next morning and told me that his best friend had committed suicide, but he said by all means I want the horse. I took her up to Finger Lakes and she won like six or seven races and she was just overall a really nice filly. And every time she won it was kind of special because it would remind him of his friend. He’s never really been in the breeding game but he figured if he was going to breed one horse, it would be this mare. He went partners with another client of mine and I Still Miss You was actually the first foal out of Lion’s Terms. To have her win her first two starts at Belmont this year was pretty exciting for both of them, and it’s just a very special story that shows the ups and downs you go through in this sport and how the horses can help you forget about how life stinks sometimes.

5MTP: That’s for sure. In the Saratoga Special’s Barn Tour piece, you mentioned a filly named Mrs. Romona G who was named for the wife of your client Al Gold, and she won her debut on the turf last month at Belmont. How is she doing and what was it like to have that filly win first out?

JE: That was pretty special, she’s always been a fairly special horse because he named her after his wife. There was a filly that Travis and I really liked in the OBS sale this spring, and ultimately ended up paying $250k for her. I kind of always thought she would be more synthetic and turf, it just took her a little longer to get to the races than most. I thought she would be real early, but we’ve had to baby her; she had some feet issues and got over them pretty well, and as she got closer [to a start], she started working pretty good, and she ran kind of like I thought she would. It seems like she came out of that race really well, like she might have moved forward and we’re gonna run her in the Chelsea Flower Stakes on the 29th at Belmont.

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