Trainer Lindsay Schultz’s first day at any racetrack was the 2006 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. She was a freshman at the University of Louisville in the Equine Industry Program, and Churchill Downs hosted the year-end championship event. Her friend (and later roommate) Liz Crow, who is now a bloodstock agent, invited her to go with her family. Bernardini and Invasor dueled in the stretch of that year’s Classic, and Schultz was hooked.
“The horses were beautiful,” Schultz said. “I was impressed by the money in purses and handle. I grew up showing horses, and that is basically people paying to have fun. I saw this as a real industry and a real business. I was very impressed.”
Since then, Schultz, 34, has worked for two Hall of Fame trainers and spent two years traveling the world learning about the industry through the Godolphin Flying Start program. She has been on her own as a trainer for a little over a year, earning wins at five tracks and a stakes-placing.
The Connecticut native did not grow up around horses or among Thoroughbred racing fans, but she had friends who liked to ride, and Schultz started when she was 10 and became a hunter/jumper. Her love for horses expanded through her involvement with the FFA (Future Farmers of America) organization during high school. She participated in horse and livestock judging, and an FFA national convention was her introduction to the University of Louisville and prompted her to enroll.
After the 2006 Breeders’ Cup, Schultz went to Churchill every time she had the chance. The next summer she took a hot-walking job with Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. After she graduated from college, Schultz was selected for Flying Start, a management and leadership training program. Schultz got hands-on experience in many areas of Thoroughbred racing in Ireland, England, Australia, Dubai, the United States, and Hong Kong.
“I tried to learn as much as I could about each facet of the industry,” she said. “I did night watch on the farms in Australia and America and learned about foaling mares and breeding farms. When it came time to do our work placement, I tried to do them mostly with horse trainers.”
Through Flying Start, she spent time with trainers John Shirreffs in California and Sir Mark Prescott in Newmarket and with Godolphin in Dubai.
After the program concluded, Schultz worked six years for trainer Tom Proctor, whose multiple Grade 1 wins include the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Distaff with One Dreamer. She subsequently left to run Glen Hill Farm in Ocala, Fla. Glen Hill was one of Proctor’s biggest clients, so they continued working together each day for three years.
A new opportunity presented itself when Robby Medina, who was a longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, took a job in Kentucky, and McGaughey’s son Reeve went out on his own. Schultz joined Shug McGaughey, returning to the assistant trainer role.
“I was lucky to get in with Shug,” Schultz said. “I learned a million different little things from him. Every trainer does things a little bit differently. Shug and Tom are very similar in some ways but have differences as well. It was helpful and interesting to see how Shug managed his horses and his barn and how he talked to his owners. It was pretty special to be a part of that.”
She was with McGaughey for a year when Marshall Gramm, a founding partner of Ten Strike Racing, opened another door for Schultz. He told her that if she was considering going out on her own, he would send her a few horses at Oaklawn Park and help her claim a few to get started. Schultz felt like she couldn’t pass it up.
She captured her first career victory at the Hot Springs, Ark., track Jan. 8, 2022. Schultz added three more wins at the 2021-’22 Oaklawn meeting before moving to Monmouth Park, where she won six races from just 27 starts. In addition to Oaklawn and Monmouth, she later won races at Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, and Churchill Downs.
“Every time we win a race it is amazing,” she said. “When we have a horse that we’ve claimed and make money on it and have a good run, that is really rewarding.”
An example is Alex Joon. Ten Strike and Schultz claimed him for $30,000 in December 2021 at Oaklawn. He went on to win an $78,000 allowance-optional claiming race at Colonial Downs and was stakes-placed there and at Delaware Park.
Schultz is currently training 15 horses, and seven of them are Ten Strike runners. She has recorded three wins at the current Oaklawn Park meet from nine starters through Jan. 16, and she celebrated the most recent one by going to bed early. She is excited about a pair of 2-year-olds that will race soon: Cecile, a Mendelssohn filly owned by Choctaw Racing Stable (Perry Sutherland); and Ten Strike’s Exponential Star, an Accelerate filly.
Outside of racing, Schultz enjoys running and occasionally playing basketball, a sport she participated in during high school. Her parents, sister, and niece still live in Connecticut. Her mother watches every race, and last year, her parents were able to come see her in action at Oaklawn Park.