Even after more than 50 years in the business, Dee Poulos still gets excited when her horses run a good race. That feeling grows and multiplies when it results in a win, but there are few words to describe conquering a new feat after training for 20 years, such as what happened yesterday when 6-year-old gelding Crewman won the Grade III Hanshin Cup at Arlington International Racecourse. It was Poulos’ first graded-stakes win in her training career.
“If you ever lose that feeling, it’s time to get out,” said Poulos. “It’s always exciting to win, and that was very, very special yesterday.”
Poulos, who grew up on a farm in Missouri, worked as a teacher before meeting her husband Ernie, a beloved and famed Chicago trainer who introduced Dee to horse racing in 1973. Working as Ernie’s assistant when he passed in 1997, Dee took over the stable and kept it going. Since then she’s earned over 300 career wins. But what keeps Poulos in the game, sends her to the barn every early morning, when most people would be happy to retire and relax after 50 years on the job?
“Horses,” is the simple answer given by Poulos. “I just love being around horses. I can’t imagine working and not seeing a horse. That’s my big motivation. Of course it has its down times; sometimes you come back to the barn and say, ‘why do I do this?’ Then a horse just runs good, and it gets the adrenaline going again. It’s one of those careers that there’s a lot of love involved in it.”
It’s easy to see Poulos, along with her stable staff – who she says are like her extended family because they have been with her for so long – are happiest when their horses are happy. They don’t just want to win, they want to see their charges do well and enjoy what they do. Coming into the Hanshin Cup, Crewman was giving them all the right signs that they might be in for a celebration.
“This was a little bit like his comeback – he got into a little slump there so we gave him some time and that made him happy,” said Poulos. “The opportunity comes up at the right time, just like yesterday. He wasn’t getting a lot of respect, but we knew – we felt good about it. Last night he came back from the detention barn, and he was happy. That’s just what you live for.”
FIRST SAMURAI FILLY WINS DEBUT ON SYNTHETIC
Nisha, a 3-year-old daughter of First Samurai, won her debut at Arlington International Racecourse on Friday sprinting five furlongs on the Polytrack. Trained by Larry Rivelli, Nisha is the third foal out of the Malibu Moon mare Lily’s Joy. Originally scheduled to run on the turf, the maiden special weight event was moved to the main track due to heavy rains earlier in the week.
“She was ready to run,” said Rivelli. “I think she’ll run a little bit longer – I was worried [five furlongs] was going to be too short for her. She’s been training really well for us, and she showed up and ran a great race.”
Rivelli privately purchased Nisha for Patricia’s Hope LLC and says he would like to run her on the dirt in her next start. First Samurai is the sire of graded-stakes winning dirt fillies Executiveprivilege and Miss Sky Warrior.
Source: Arlington Park