They say that love can be found in the unlikeliest of places. If you’re not a horse person, finding love at a racetrack would probably qualify as one of those unlikely — if not totally strange — places. But if you’ve spent enough time either going to the races or working at the track, it’s not all that far-fetched to imagine romances being sparked over conversations about speed figures or candlelight dinners … by the barn (OK, that one I just made up).
Racing romances are more common than you might’ve realized and, in fact, horse racing has a number of well-known power couples. On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d show some love to them.
Maggie Wolfendale and Tom Morley
The daughter of trainer Howard Wolfendale, Maggie Wolfendale grew up around the track before becoming a racing analyst. She’s been on the New York Racing Association’s broadcast team since 2010, the same circuit on which trainer Tom Morley has thrived over the past few years. Maggie and Tom make for one of the most recognizable racing couples, and they recently welcomed a baby girl into their family.
Eclipse Award-winning owners and breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey are among the most recognizable coupes in racing. The couple owns and operates Ramsey Farm in Nicholasvillle, Ky., where they stand their leading stallion Kitten’s Joy. The horse named in honor of Sarah’s nickname, “Kitten,” has been the leading turf sire in North America for the past four years.
Gary and Angie Stevens
A winner of more than 5,000 races and a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Gary Stevens is widely regarded as one of the greatest jockeys of all time. Stevens has won 11 Breeders’ Cup races, three Kentucky Derbies and has six other Triple Crown victories. Angie Stevens started her career in the film industry and has worked in multiple capacities, both in film and TV. In fact, Angie and Gary met on the set of Seabiscuit, where Gary played jockey George Woolf. Angie also founded Meticulous Talent Management, which is a racing marketing and management firm that represents a number of major racing companies and personalities — including her husband Gary.
Dan and Christina Blacker
Originally from England, Dan Blacker graduated from the prestigious Darley Flying Start program and then served as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. He became a full time trainer himself in 2011. Since then, his horses have placed in multiple stakes races. His wife Christina is the daughter of jockey Frank Olivares. Christina has become one of the most popular personalities in the racing broadcasting world, serving as a reporter and anchor — at both TVG and HRTV — for nearly a decade.
Rosie Napravnik is one of the most famous female riders in racing history; she was a two-time Breeders’ Cup winner and the first woman to ever win the Kentucky Oaks (she did it twice). Two years ago, she retired from riding at age 26, when she announced she was pregnant with her first child with husband Joe Sharp. Since then, the couple has added another son and Rosie has returned to the track working with Sharp, who after serving as an assistant to trainer Mike Maker has become a successful trainer himself.
Julien and Shea Leparoux
Known as one of the finest turf riders in the country, Julien Leparoux has seven Breeders’ Cup wins, is an Eclipse Award winner and is the regular rider of champion racemare Tepin. Leparoux has had success riding on just about every major U.S. circuit. It was in California that his wife Shea grew up, as the daughter of late trainer Mike Mitchell. A professional singer who used to perform at Disney, Shea can still be seen and heard at the track on big race days where she’s often invited to sing the national anthem.