Thoroughbred Makeover Diary: New Journey with Goldie’s Boy, Closing the Circle
After growing up in horse racing, Elliott Walden began his career training racehorses and trained 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop. He now works as president/CEO and racing manager of WinStar Farm, a top Thoroughbred farm in Central Kentucky. The farm co-owns recent Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve winner Justify.
Get to know him with the Q&A below, and keep up with him on Twitter at @WinStarCEO.
What was the first thought that went through your mind when Justify crossed the Kentucky Derby finish line?
Gratitude. I was grateful for the many blessings that God has bestowed on our farm. We are undeserving.
Where and with whom did you celebrate Saturday night?
We came back to the farm to Kenny's house. It was his family and guests. Not too late though.
What current professional athlete does Justify most remind you of?
Lebron James. Big physique, talented, and tough.
Did you place a bet on Justify to win the Derby? How much?
I did not place a bet on anyone in the Kentucky Derby.
Does your mind allow you to think about a potential Triple Crown yet?
Occasionally. But then I have to get back to the thought of "one race at a time."
Who did you hear from after the Derby win that you were most surprised to hear from?
(University of Kentucky’s) Coach Calipari. He called me three times right after the race like I was going to pick up. He hasn't called me 3 times in 10 years.
Did you receive a congratulatory phone call from the White House?
I did not.
My introduction to horse racing occurred when:
When I was young, skipping school at Sayre and going to Keeneland.
What I like about Thoroughbred racing:
I like thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Best advice to someone considering ownership:
To hire people you can trust that have your interests in mind and not their own.
Favorite place at the racetrack in which to watch a race:
Box section. I'm spoiled.
Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast-to-coast or have a permanent home:
I can't answer that as a board member. You will know which way I voted.
My top three favorite racetracks, in order:
Saratoga, Keeneland, Santa Anita
Most influential person in my career:
Dennis Ebert who trained for my dad. Asked him a thousand questions and he answered every one of them.
My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred Racing:
Bring back the match race.
Other sports/teams I follow:
Cincinnati Bengals, Kentucky Wildcats
My favorite athletes of all time:
What book(s) I am reading or have recently read:
Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing:
“Remember the Titans,” “Brian’s Song”
Favorite TV shows I watch:
Favorite vacation spot: