Photo: Hollywood Park
Trainer and co-owner Bob Leonard lifted jockey Joe
Steiner off the ground with an emotional hug after a shocking upset by Slane Castle, who
was nearly 71-1, in Saturday’s fifth race, a maiden test for fillies and mares
at 1 1/16 miles.
Steiner, 46, had not won a race in more than six
years. Leonard, who has trained throughout the country, last won a race in California
Steiner was busy accepting congratulations
throughout the stable area Sunday morning after winning with his 12th
mount following a comeback this year.
“I’ve been doing a little bit of everything since I
hurt my neck and shoulder in a spill at Santa Anita six years ago,” said
Steiner. “After the injuries healed, I worked for the Jockeys Guild, then in
“The last two years I’ve worked horses for Bob
Baffert,” continued Steiner. “That got the fires burning to come back and ride.
This is a huge passion of mine. Working horses in the morning, putting it all
together and winning in the afternoon is the ultimate.”
Steiner has been friends with Leonard since his youth
state and rode Leonard’s previous California
winner, Saratoga Passage, in the 1987 Norfolk Stakes during the Oak Tree meet
at Santa Anita.
“We’re from Seattle,”
explained Leonard, with his wife Penley, after sending out his first winner at Hollywood Park. “We
were at Longacres until it closed down. Joe won a lot of races for us there.
His mom and dad, who run the kitchen at Emerald Downs, are dear friends. Joe’s
won races for us in Illinois
as well as Washington
Leonard managed to juggle a career as an airline
pilot with raising a family and traveling the country as a trainer. “I got
started in racing in college in 1964 when five fraternity brothers including
myself each put up $300 to buy two horses,” said Leonard. “We raced under the
stable name Penta Bros.”
Leonard flew for Northwest Airlines for 30 years from
1966-1996 and has raced at more than 40 tracks in 20 states during his career.
Leonard campaigned multiple stakes winner Phi Beta Doc, a multiple stakes
winner who captured the Virginia Derby, set a course record for 1 3/16 miles
winning the Saranac Stakes on the Saratoga
turf and paid $89 winning a stake at Delaware Park.
“Nobody knew us there just like nobody knows us
here,” explained Leonard of the lofty prices his winners returned. “Slane Castle
probably should have been 10-1. She only finished 1 ½ lengths behind (favorite)
Izshelegal in her last race.”
Leonard has three horses stabled in Hollywood Park’s Barn
53. Slane Castle, a
3-year-old Castledale filly, was making her sixth start.
“That was a rider’s race yesterday, and Joey timed it
perfectly,” said Leonard of the photo-finish victory.
“What’s special to us is that Joey is back riding,”
said Mrs. Leonard. The couple makes their home in Las Cruces, N.M.