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Hughes Back Home as Pletcher Assistant

keeneland start
Byron “Scooter” Hughes is well known in Central Kentucky, especially as the trainer of the 9-year-old millionaire Rahystrada, who is expected in the Sycamore (G3) here next Thursday. This fall, Hughes’ 27-year-old son, Byron, is at Keeneland as an assistant to trainer Todd Pletcherr.

“I think Todd likes to send people home when he can,” the younger Hughes said. “He thought it was probably a good spot for me to start because I know Keeneland so well and I have a lot of friends and family here, so it just kind of worked out. I love this place.”

Hughes, who represents the third generation of his family to be involved in the Thoroughbred industry, graduated from Lexington Catholic High School. He tried community college for a semester but knew “it wasn’t for me” and dove full time into the horse business. After working for several smaller trainers in the area, he joined his father’s outfit, sbut the elder Hughes kept pushing him out of the nest.

“He always told me I should work for somebody bigger if I really wanted to succeed and grow in this business,” Hughes said of his father. “That was my comfort zone and I kind of needed to get away from it eventually. I finally decided to go for it and here I am today, so it was a very, very good decision.”

Last year, Hughes sent his resume to Pletcher and interviewed with the trainer at Keeneland, coincidentally in the same barn he is running this October. Pletcher offered him a job, and he spent the winter with the trainer’s string at Palm Meadows in Florida. Hughes was at Saratoga this summer.

“It’s been absolutely great,” Hughes said of the experience with Pletcher. “I started off as a foreman. I thought I knew a lot going into it but I learned a lot immediately when I got there. I continued working hard and they sent me here as an assistant. I couldn’t have picked a better place. Todd is an excellent boss.”

On Oct. 5, Hughes made the boss proud when he sent out Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie to win the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1).

“That was the first time I’ve saddled for a Grade 1 and we won,” Hughes said. “It was amazing. There were a lot of nerves. I wanted everything to go just right and it worked out well and we got the win. It was a good feeling. It was good to come back here and win some races.”

Hughes, who one day would like to go out on his own, said his father is pleased with his progress so far.

“He’s very proud of me,” Hughes said. “I’ve been working really hard for this and he knows that, and he’s glad I got it.




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Older Comments about Hughes Back Home as Pletcher Assistant...

I am glad to see Pletcher moving his horses early this year. Much better than the 3 days he gave them last time.
Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said Saturday’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner, We Miss Artie, and Bashart, runner-up in Sunday’s Bourbon (G3), have returned to the track. According to Daily Racing Form, the two colts will depart for California on Monday.

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