08/04/2010 3:27PM

No rocking chair for Rettele at 70


Trainer Richard Rettele isn’t sure where he will be this Sunday. After galloping horses early, he will saddle horses in the afternoon at Pinnacle Race Course or Thistledown, unless he’s riding Quarter Horses for his wife, Carol, at Hoosier Park. Whatever he’s doing, he won’t be taking it easy on his 70th birthday.

“Well, I only gallop eight or 10 each day,” Rettele said Tuesday. “I do have to take it easy somewhat.”

Rettele, third in the Pinnacle trainer standings with 12 wins, moonlights as a jockey for Carol, his wife of 45 years who trains the family’s Quarter Horses. Richard Rettele has 12 head at Thistledown in Cleveland and keeps his 28 stalls at Pinnacle full.

“I stay hooked to a trailer,” he said with a laugh “I rotate them all the time.”

Rettele was one of seven boys and two girls raised on a farm nearly Baileyville, Kan. Six of the boys went into racing, including Loren, who trained such standouts as Golden Act, Grenzen, and Esops Foibles. Twins Jerry and Larry, Dale, and Johnny all became jockeys.

“I went to work for Mr. [Marion] Van Berg straight out of high school in 1958,” Rettele said. “I traveled all over with him and came to Michigan in the ’60s. I met Carol when I was rodeoing, bulls and broncs, and she was a barrel racer. We got married and bought our first farm.

“Kim, our only child, works at JEH Quarter Horses in Pilot Point, Texas, for Jim Helzer. He’s the president of the American Quarter Horse Association.”

Rettele went out on his own when Hall of Famer Van Berg died in 1971. The Rettleles own Sprintland Training Center on 30 acres in Northville, Mich.,about 20 miles from Pinnacle.

At nearby Mount Pleasant Meadows, which concluded racing last week, Carol Rettele saddled seven winners, with Richard aboard for six of those wins.

When the Michigan season is over, the Retteles will head out of town, racing Quarter Horses as far away as Oklahoma. Last October, Rettele rode three stakes winners for his wife one afternoon at Beulah Park in the All American Congress races.

◗ San Giacomo posted his eighth consecutive win in Pinnacle’s eighth race last Sunday. Frank Prainito trains San Giacomo for Tony Macino. Agusto Marin was in the irons, as he has been for the last five wins. San Giacomo led all the way to post a 1 1/2-length win in the $4,000 claiming race.

The streak began on Dec. 28, 2008 when San Giacomo was racing at Hawthorne Race Course for trainer Tom Tomillo. He won again in March 2009 and then came to Pinnacle, where Prainito saddled him for two wins last year and four so far in 2010. In his last start, the 5-year-old San Giacomo had an audible cheering section at the finish line.