by Chris Lomon
Mikaela Del Giudice’s first training win was a bit of a wait.
As the peloton rallied for home in race five on the night of June 28 at Running Aces, it appeared that Zanetti, a 6-year-old son of A Rocknroll Dance—Tys Artist, had a legitimate chance to take it all. the loot in the beat with a purse of $13,000.
If the bay were to cross the wire first, the woman who owns and forms the initial $21,000 purchase at the 2017 Lexington sale knew exactly how it would play out.
“It was not a very fast time for him,” began Del Giudice, of the 1:54.2 mile “He was not tired after the race. He is the one who will not win more than he will. (Driver) Nick (Roland) said that as soon as he passed the other horses, his ears perked up and he started looking at the scenery.
Del Giudice was much more focused than Zanetti, who was bred by Jim Winske and debuted in Richard Magee’s barn on June 4, 2019, finishing second.
She was also much calmer than any of those who had bet on the 5-1 gelding.
“It was definitely the most exciting moment I’ve ever had, but I’m still quite reserved. I was certainly celebrating a lot internally, but I think I jumped up and down, which is the most I’ve ever done in a horse race.
Del Giudice still sported a smile long after the official sign was posted on the dashboard.
More than a week after the landmark victory, she still finds herself replaying the last strides to the wire.
“I told my mum a few days later that I still didn’t really understand. Now it does and it’s really special.
Del Giudice, who works alongside Magee – they currently have eight horses in their stable – jumped at the chance to take over the reins of training with a horse she knows well.
Zanetti was one of the main reasons behind Del Giudice’s decision to get his coaching license.
The idea of joining the packer ranks, however, was not in the works for long.
“Around March of this year, I decided to get my coaching license, just on a whim. I was at The Meadows, so I studied and took the written test there. I moved to Running Aces for the season and did my practice here and signed everything. It made sense that I trained Zanetti because I was doing all the work on him. He was making his first start in a few weeks. He had raced hard at The Meadows, so we wanted to give him a few weeks off. He was in an Open 2 and Nick gave him great training.
Being part of the racing scene was not Del Giudice’s lifelong goal. Instead, it was, at first, a chance to earn money during the summer months when she was in high school.
In fact, there was a time when she didn’t even know what Running Aces was.
Everything changed in 2011.
“I grew up just outside of Forest Lake, Minnesota. Running Aces opened in 2008 and I didn’t know what it was for a very long time. Three years later I was looking for a job as a I was in high school and went to get a job at Running Aces. I started with the DeLong family, worked that summer, had a blast, then went back for my senior year of high school. J thought that was it. The following summer, Rick Magee was looking for help and I had just graduated. I helped all that summer, and as they say, it sinks you in blood so the rest is history I’ve been doing it full time ever since I went to a year of college locally in St. Paul and after that I transferred to the state from Oregon and took my classes online so I could travel to race, got my bachelor’s degree (in agricultural science) and have been racing horses ever since.
Del Giudice’s main goal, in the short term, is to see Zanetti in the final of Dan Patch’s free-for-all race, scheduled for July 24 at Running Aces.
The 15-race lifetime winner who has taken nearly $200,000 in prize money still has a few more miles to go before it becomes a reality.
“It’s going up quite quickly. He will have two open races and eliminations afterwards, so hopefully he does well and can race in the final. This is our main focus right now. »
Another important key for Del Giudice is to perfect his craft.
“I think that’s what was stopping me from getting my coaching license. I thought, “I have so much to learn and I don’t know almost everything yet. I finally realized that I will never know everything and that I can learn as much as possible every day. That’s why I decided to go there. And even though I have my license, I will still work even harder to learn new skills.
Horse racing is not Del Giudice’s only vocation.
She has her own business, Mik Digital Marketing Co., which specializes in harness racing marketing, including sales, stallions and farms, but also offers a course for small business owners to learn how to market themselves with. hit.
“In addition to other individual clients, I also do all of the marketing for Blue Chip Farms. I do that in my spare time. I grew up riding and showing Arabian horses, that’s how I I discovered the horses at the start. I have two Arabians and one of my retired trotters who also keep me busy. I ride the Arabians in my spare time, and I show them too.
Then there’s Zanetti, a horse with undeniable talent, but one who tends to get a little fuzzy on occasion.
Despite his idiosyncrasies, Del Giudice isn’t complaining.
“I think that win meant so much because he hasn’t been an easy horse to start his whole life. We’ve had him since he was a baby, we broke him, so of course that’s special to have him developed over time. He just has a lot of quirks and a great personality, which is a lot of fun in the barn. He loves to play and he’s mischievous.
“But he also has his ideas of what he thinks he should be doing on the circuit and what he likes to watch. He didn’t race two and three, people were asking, ‘Is it that it’s the horse that has its head all over the track and looks everywhere?’ You would literally see him doing this on the track. His head would be straight and he would look everywhere during the race, not paying attention to what was going on. From day one we knew he had a lot of talent, so it was just a matter of working with that. I don’t think we’ve seen the bottom yet, so the goal is to help him reach his full potential.
That’s why Del Giudice is happy to be the one to focus on every detail, big or small.
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