06/15/2012 12:45PM

Fort Erie: Shawn Rideouthas racing in his blood

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FORT ERIE, Ontario – Trainer Shawn Rideout, 38, had his first contact with horses in the early 90’s when as a teenager he quickly discovered that an indoor 8-to-5 job was not for him. His brother worked at Woodbine and Rideout quickly took up an offer to walk hots for trainer Sam Di Pasquale.

Progressing over the years to groom, gallop boy, and then trainer, Rideout gained his trainer’s license in 1998.

“It gets in your blood,” said Rideout, “and I and my partner in life, Jennifer (Hallett), look forward to arriving at the barn every day.

“We currently have 21 horses in the stable and our two main owners over the years have been Carl and Shirley Dowson and Papa Gus [Gus Sanci]. Jennifer’s Dad, Carl, got the bug after claiming his first runner some time back, and then her Mom, also bitten, became our leading cheerleader, year after year.”

Rideout cannot say enough about Papa Gus.

“Gus is the kind of owner every trainer would love to have in his barn. He is faithful, honest, loves horses and is continually looking on the sunny side of life,” Rideout said. “Right now, his 2-year-old Princess Attlia is front and center in his thoughts and ours as well. She is a good-looking filly working towards her first start. Young horses keep you young and keep you dreaming.”

Rideout also speaks highly of Frank Stronach, who he worked for early in his career. “I went to work at Beechwood Farms [now Adena Springs North] in the mid-90’s and was lucky enough to work with some classy Thoroughbreds such as Awesome Again, a future champion that I galloped when he was 2. Other horses such as Touch Gold, Wild Rush, and Fleet Wahine, amongst others, made life interesting and exciting at Beechwood, just by being around them.”

Speaking of his early training days, Rideout remembered his first claim. “Tuff Number was a $4,000 buy and he proved that the name suited his talent. He was tough and won five races for me, including a route race where he was passed in the stretch, looked to be done, and then somehow dug down deep, came back on and won it. A gutsy runner for sure, the kind you love to have in your barn.”

Rideout’s 2012 record is 34-5-7-3.

“The season is still young,” said the lean, hard-working trainer, “and we look to win our share in the coming months.”