Racetrack Romance: Notable Couples in Horse Racing

Pop Culture
Taylor Rice and Jose Ortiz met while both were jockeys and are now married with a daughter. (Eclipse Sportswire)

This post was so popular last Valentine’s Day, we’re doing it all over again this year. When you think racing, it’s perhaps the horses, the betting, and the entertainment that come to mind. But the racetrack could also be the site of a lasting romance. Here are some of the most “awwwww”-inspiring couples in the sport on this Valentine’s Day.

Norm Casse and Gabby Gaudet: Recently engaged, both Norm and Gabby are the children of accomplished trainers. Norm recently went out on his own and is now training horses at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Gabby is a well-known on-air TV personality in racing who has covered racing all across the country, starting in her home state of Maryland.

Graham and Anita Motion: One of the most recognizable couples at the track, the Motions are also known as some of the most charitable. In addition to campaigning 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, Graham and Anita have been major advocates for horse aftercare and retraining. They worked with Olympian Phillip Dutton to turn one of their former racehorses, Icabad Crane, into an eventing horse who won the title of “America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred” at the 2014 Thoroughbred Makeover Challenge.

Javier and Abby Castellano: A four-time Eclipse Award winner, Javier is widely considered one of the best active riders in the sport of racing. Abby grew up in racing and is the daughter of Terry Meyocks, the national manager of the Jockeys' Guild and former president of the New York Racing Association. Javier is also an ambassador and spokesperson for the Racetrack Chaplaincy of New York.

Jose Ortiz and Taylor Rice: Both were jockeys when they met in New York several years ago. Rice comes from a racing family and was one of the most successful riders on the East Coast as an apprentice (her rookie season). Jose has developed an impressive resume, including recently winning the Eclipse Award as the top rider in America.

Tim and Kathy Ritvo: A former jockey and trainer, Tim is one of the most influential executives in racing today as the Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. Kathy is a trainer and is most widely known as being the conditioner of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man.

Kiaran and Letty McLaughlin: One of the most accomplished trainers of his generation, Kiaran has campaigned three Breeders’ Cup winners, a Belmont Stakes winner and 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor. Letty also grew up in a racing family as the daughter of a trainer. Her brother Mark Hennig is also an extremely successful trainer on the East Coast.

Dale Romans and Tammy Fox: A jockey for nearly 25 years, Fox won more than 230 races in her career. For years now she’s been an exercise rider for her partner Dale Romans, who is one of the most popular trainers in America. Romans won an Eclipse Award in 2012 and has nearly 2,000 career wins — he’s captured three Breeders’ Cup races, a Preakness, and a Dubai World Cup.

Julie Krone and Jay Hovdey: One of the greatest female jockeys, Krone was also the first woman to ever win a Triple Crown race (winning the 1993 Belmont with Colonial Affair) and she was also the first woman to win a Breeders’ Cup race (2003 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with Halfbridled). Her husband Jay is one of the most respected writers in racing. A four-time Eclipse Award winner, Jay is a columnist for the Daily Racing Form and has written several books.

Caton and Doug Bredar: Horse bettors are more than familiar with Caton, who is a lead analyst and TV personality for TVG. She’s known for having some of the sharpest eyes in racing and is often praised for her observations in the paddock. Her grandfather was Hall of Fame jockey Ted Atkinson and her father Raymond Metzler was a trainer. Doug has also had a long career in racing as a track official and most recently as a jockey agent for Florent Geroux, the jockey of Breeders’ Cup and Pegasus World Cup winner Gun Runner.

Ramon and Sharon Dominguez: A retired jockey, Ramon began his riding career in the Mid-Atlantic. While riding in Delaware, he met Sharon, whose parents trained Standardbreds. Sharon was an exercise rider and pony rider, as well. The two live near Belmont Park, where Ramon spent many years as a rider, and they’re parents to two young boys. Both Ramon and Sharon are very active in charitable endeavors, as well, with Ramon serving as an ambassador for both the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Racetrack Chaplaincy of New York.

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