07/08/2010 11:00PM

Rawson finding success in Year 2 as trainer


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It has been said that enthusiasm is an essential ingredient in professional success. If that is the case, Jodie Rawson should have a long and productive career as a trainer.

"I just love training horses," Rawson said. "It certainly wasn't on my list of careers when I was younger, but I'm glad it worked out this way."

Rawson, 31, began training as a full-time career last year and did okay, winning two races from 29 starters. This year, Rawson has doubled her win total to four from just 16 starters and also has five second-place finishes. Not bad, for someone just getting started.

Rawson became a trainer more from circumstances than design, but she certainly has a strong background with horses. Her father, Roy Rawson, was a prominent trainer at Hastings before he died from a bizarre incident in 2001. He was receiving naturopathic treatments and something he was given shut down his organs. The death of her father kick-started Rawson into a more active role at the track.

"It was pretty shocking and it shouldn't have happened," Rawson said. "When he died, I inherited the farm with my brother and sister. I loved being at the farm and to keep it going we needed to be in the horse business. We bought Ryan out a few years ago, and now Megan and I own it ourselves."

Rawson never worked for her dad at the track, but growing up at the family farm in Maple Ridge she took part in the usual chores. She also started showing horses when she was 5 years old.

"Between going to school and showing horses, I really didn't have time to work at the track," Rawson said. "But I was always here to watch his horses run if I didn't have a show or rodeo to go to."

Her first job at the track was as an outrider. She was offered the job because of her rodeo experience as a barrel racer and roping horses. She clearly wasn't prepared for the job and she had a hard time catching horses that got loose in the mornings. It didn't take long before she got the hang of it, however, and she eventually became one of the best in the business.

"Nobody is really ready, and they don't give you a handbook for the job," Rawson said. "I did the best I could and I am kind of proud of how good I got at it."

After seven years on the job, again due to circumstances, she moved on to galloping horses.

"My pony, Tiger, was done," Rawson said. "He was very good at the job but he just couldn't chase racehorses any more. It is really hard to train a pony for the job, and I didn't want to start over with another horse. Tiger was like one in a million. I think I was ready to move on anyway."

She started galloping horses and she might still be an exercise rider if she hadn't dislocated her knee when she came off of a horse in a training accident. Because of the incident, she doesn't gallop any of the horses she trains.

"I miss getting on the horses and I would love to exercise them," she said. "But you kind of lose your nerve when you get hurt, and I can't bend my knee to get short enough when they start getting tougher. I still get on them at the farm before they come to the track. Actually, every older horse we boarded over the winter has won a race this year."

Rawson doesn't have any stars in the stable, and the two horses she has running Sunday, Alybye On Fire and Fish On Friday, are indicative of the kind of horses she is training -- cheap but hard trying. Alybye On Fire won a $5,000 maiden race June 18 and then came back to finish a close second in his first try with winners. He figures to be one of the favorites for the same condition in the fifth race. Fish On Friday was a big overlay when he won a $5,000 nonwinners of two going 1 1/16 miles June 27. He is moving up a notch in class and cutting back to 6 1/2 furlongs in the seventh race.

"At least they'll try," Rawson said. "One thing I have learned is to have good help and run your horses where they can win. I have five older horses and five babies, and hopefully a couple of the babies will work out. They are getting close to running."

Rawson's future appears to be bright. She has overcome adversity, is dedicated, and willing to work hard and also learn on the job. Plus, her enthusiasm is infectious. All she needs is a few better horses to work with.