06/20/2010 11:00PM

Trainer profile: Timothy Hamm


Beginning last Friday and through the weekend, trainer Timothy Hamm started eight horses at four different tracks - in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, no less - and walked away with a win, a stakes placing, and another second-place finish for his efforts.

Hamm calls the shots for a widespread 90-to-100 horse outfit right now that keeps about 75 in training at racetracks and about 20 more on a farm in Ocala, Fla. Hamm, who makes his home in Ohio and has trained since 1996, keeps about 20 in training at Calder throughout the year, an additional 35 on the Ohio circuit, and probably 20-plus at tracks like Presque Isle Downs and Keeneland, depending on time of year. Have horses, will travel, you might say.

Hamm is currently fifth in the trainer standings at Presque Isle Downs, with a mark of 7-11-6 from 42 starts. Overall this year, he has won with 28 of 189 runners who have earned more than $400,000, numbers a touch off from the past two years, when he hit career-best marks for wins with 72 in 2008 and earnings of $1.5 million last year.

"Like anyone else, we are appreciative of our numbers but want to continue to upgrade on quality in search of better horses," Hamm said. "We've been very lucky in the last few years to get some good owners involved in hopes of helping us build. We race our own as Blazing Meadows Farm and partner up with various people, break our own babies, and have farms in both Ohio and Ocala. We pride ourselves on developing some good young horses, and quite often we'll make a sale, but top horses like Wait a While, Too Much Bling, and Sky Diva have all come through our program, and we are proud of that."

Hamm currently seems to be doing his best work with fresh stock and/or horses changing surfaces.

Blackwell, a stakes-placed daughter of Came Home, recently returned from a layoff that began in March and finished second by a neck when she moved from Gulfstream's main track to a synthetic strip at Presque Isle Downs; Draw a Blank, a Saint Liam filly, remained on synthetic but came off a two-month break and finished second when shipped from Keeneland to Presque Isle; and Slides Choice, a restricted stakes-winning Ohio-bred, came off a brief respite to finish second in stakes company at Thistledown on June 19. Recent wins included those by Squeezer's Palace ($17.40), a six-length winner in her first start for Hamm when moving from turf to dirt and from Gulfstream to Mountaineer on May 3; and Tremendamente Loca ($7.40), another Gulfstream shipper who proved easily best at Presque Isle going from turf to synthetic on May 25.

"I think over the years, this just tends to be a time of year where we do well," said Hamm, 44. "We try to have our horses fresh for the summer and to run through the fall and then into the winter. It also just coincides with when the young horses are just ready to run. Right now, the horses are running very good and it seems that just about anywhere throughout the country that horses coming from the Gulfstream meet are performing and that meet usually sets us up well."

Statistical data suggests giving Hamm trainees extra scrutiny in categories such as first-time Lasix, turf-to-dirt, sprint-to-route, and maiden special weight.

If one of Hamm's runners should compete at the graded stakes level, you might want to pay attention, regardless of tote price. Afternoon Stroll posted a nose victory in last year's Grade 3 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland when 50-1 on the board, and Slides Choice fell a half-length short of upsetting last year's Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes, also at Keeneland, when nearly 50-1. Both runners are currently in training with Hamm.

Hamm estimates he has 42 juveniles currently in his care, and recently won with Passionate Cat, a son of Bluegrass Cat owned in partnership with WinStar Farm, at first asking at Calder.