TRAINER VINCE SMITH
After spending six years delivering bottled water, Vince Smith decided to dive into a new job as a horse trainer. Smith got his feet wet slowly, but now in his 10th year of training, he is making a big splash.
Smith's first exposure to horse racing came from living next door to former Los Alamitos Race Course jockeys Kenny Clerisse and George Fryday.
"I'd come out in the morning with them when they'd exercise horses, and I thought, 'This is pretty nice,'" he recalled "And I like the hours - you work in the morning, you have a split shift. Now I'm a full-time trainer here. I love it."
Smith, 47, owned horses in the barn of Tom Bazley before he obtained his own license 10 years ago. Now Smith currently has a string of horses in training, although his barn has previously had as many as 15 runners. He lists his favorite runner as the late Tinys Lil Sis, a 3-year-old filly who won an allowance race for her second career victory in November 2005.
He said his training success this year has come about because of a slightly different regimen.
"I changed a few things on my training, and it seems to be helping," Smith said. "[I'm] not tracking them as much, and [I'm] letting them freshen themselves up."
Smith dreams to be able to eventually "make it to one of the big races and winning it - like the Champion of Champions."
"I learn every day here," he said. "You've really got to have patience and time and be willing to do it. It's seven days a week, and there's no days off."