Friday, September 25, 2009
Long a familiar sight early mornings at Santa Anita is trainer Henry Moreno on his pony, Blue. While overseeing his horses training, Moreno spreads his unique brand of cheer as he trades quips with, and occasionally tosses candy to, exercise riders, other trainers, and railbirds like me.
There aren't many Thoroughbred trainers in California who have been around as long as the iconic Moreno. The 80-year-old California native has been training for nearly 60 years.
Moreno grew up on his family's quarter horse ranch in southern California and began as a quarter horse trainer, switching to thoroughbreds in the early 1960s. Among the stakes horses he has trained were California-bred sprint star Red, dominating winner of the 1997 Cal Cup Sprint; Re Toss, upset winner of the Vanity Handicap in 1993; and top sprinter Sam Who. Moreno also conditioned Chilean import Tizna, winner of seven Santa Anita added-money events, and Sangue, winner of the 1983 Santa Maria Handicap and Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
In this Trainer Snapshot video interview, Moreno talks about his early days on the ranch and the transition from training quarter horses to training thoroughbreds. He also offers some insights into the life of a longtime trainer -- and some compelling reasons why his is one of the best careers around!