Industry Profile: Woodbine Trainer Roger Attfield still going strong, on the track and off

First, he kicked COVID’s butt this past winter. And then his five-year-old horse Shirl’s Speight kicked butt in the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland last Saturday — a record third time Attfield has won the Grade 1 showcase in Kentucky.

Shirl’s Speight, who out-bobbed Masen at the wire after going off at 9-1, came out of the Maker’s Mark, Attfield said, in “very, very good” shape and will likely race Kentucky Derby week. After that, Attfield will return to Woodbine to begin his 52nd year training thoroughbreds at the Etobicoke track.

The man is an absolute legend, and is still going strong, still putting in the long days and winning big races — and still earning the praise of racing fans, jockeys, track workers and fellow trainers around Woodbine — including Canada’s top conditioner Mark Casse.

Age 82

“He’s an icon. He’s somebody that I’ve always looked up to,” Casse told the Toronto Sun this week from his home in Ocala, Fla. “He’s a guy that you want to like and you respect him. There’s a lot of good horse trainers that aren’t necessarily somebody you look up to or want to be around, but Roger is not just a top-class horse trainer, he’s a top-class man. I admire him very much.”

Many track people are amazed that Attfield, who turns 83 in November, is still at it, still going strong…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-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 of the NHC twice. 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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