Life on the Backside of a Racetrack

“There’s a lot to be said about doing what you love to do,” Johnson said. “You’re not exactly doing it out of necessity, you’re doing it out of passion.”

Bob Johnson, 64, was born into the life he found passion for. His father trained race horses and he said his grandfather trained thoroughbreds for the government, way back when, in whichever World War the cavalry needed horses for.

Many of the people cleaning stalls and exercising quarter horses behind the track have their own family history in the sport. Some lineage runs as deep as the bloodlines that define the horses they dedicate their lives to.

Horse Racing picks for Saratoga race track on Saturday, July 30: Put Early Voting on your ballotThat life has given Johnson plenty of memorable days on the race track but even more days spent in the backside of the track, putting in the hours and committing to the lifestyle that leads to the races themselves, and the feeling those moments can bring…

Tyler Gibbs, a trainer from Logan, Utah, is his family’s third-generation in the horse racing industry. He’s worked with horses his whole life, which is common among those who make the tending to and training of horses their life’s work.

He sees a similar sense of community among those who contribute to the ecosystem of the backside. Most — not all — get along well. But they look out for each other nonetheless.

While circuiting tracks across the country during the season, many will cross paths at different tracks or even find themselves traveling a similar schedule throughout the season….

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Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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