01/31/2014 4:46PM

Oaklawn Park notes: Holthus name carries on with son’s training return

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Paul Holthus, pictured with wife Nancy, recently resumed training after a long absence. The couple married in December.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The name Holthus has been synonymous with Oaklawn Park for more than 50 years. But since trainer Bob Holthus died in November 2011, it’s been dormant. That is, until this meet.

Bob Holthus’s son Paul has resumed his training career following a long absence, and in December he married the former Nancy Ury, who is the new paddock host at Oaklawn. The couple also have three horses of their own in training, and have gone 3 for 5 with their N P H Stable to rank among the leading owners in Hot Springs.

The success keeps alive the name Bob Holthus made at Oaklawn, where he won nine training titles and developed such horses as Proper Reality, Pure Clan, and Lawyer Ron.

“Hopefully, he’d be proud we’re winning races,” said Paul Holthus.

“He is,” said Nancy Ury-Holthus.

Paul Holthus, 52, has a six-horse public racing stable that is starting to grow in numbers. A former assistant to his father, he returned to training this meet after time as a jockey’s agent and years in a prominent role with Tex Sutton Forwarding Co. Holthus most recently spent time working as an assistant to Randy Morse.

“The other day was the first time I’d run a horse in 19 years,” Holthus said of the start of Oaklawn. 

“I always missed training. It was just an opportunity to take Garrett [Gomez] at the time. I thought it was a good move. I always wanted to train horses. I like the horse part of it.”

Ury-Holthus, 38, is back home in her native Arkansas after spending time in Southern California, where she was the stall superintendent at Hollywood Park and also was an on-air analyst for TVG. She is a fourth-generation racetracker, and has strong ties to Oaklawn.
“My parents actually met here at Oaklawn when my dad was training in the ’60s,” she said. “They dated the meet of Oaklawn and got married before the meet was over.”

Paul and Nancy, both born in Hot Springs, Ark., were married Dec. 14 in Royal, Ark.

The couple plan to call Hot Springs home, and after the Oaklawn season will move the stable to either Churchill or Indiana, said Paul Holthus.