Mike Casselman is back at Los Alamitos after a 16-year absence, ready to try his luck again at the Orange County track. The Kersey, Colorado resident first came to Los Alamitos in 1988 before returning here each of the next two winter meetings.
During his stint at Los Alamitos, Casselman saddled the winners of 22 races before moving his stable to race in the Midwest. Since then, the horseman has raced in Phoenix, Arizona but most of his time has been spent at Arapahoe Park in Denver. The 52-year-old father of three and grandfather of one, says he first left California to go back to Colorado to watch his children grow up. His youngest daughter Amy will graduate from the University of Northern Colorado in May so the trainer is now ready to focus more time on racing and hopefully winning at Los Alamitos. And what brings Casselman back to California?
" I like the format they have here for 2-year-olds," said Casselman, who also owns and breeds Quarter Horses.
Casselman has between 12-14 potential future stars currently preparing for the futurity season at Los Alamitos. Seven of his 2-year-olds have already had their second workout and are ready to make their debuts. Among them are the gelding Calzado and the filly Ladies Boots, who are both sired by Spanish Boot.
Casselman's brother-in-law Dr. Steve Burns of the Burns Ranch in Menifee, California owns the stallion.
It was Dr. Burns and his wife, Joe Rae, which first helped get Casselman started in racing back in 1978. The couple owned racehorses and Casselman helped named one of the horses. Casselman would eventually become half owner of that horse.
Casselman is not only a horseman but also a businessman. He and his wife have run a cattle feeding truck business in Colorado called Central Incorporated for almost 27 years. He says it's hard balancing breeding and training at the same time but that his wife helps out a lot with breeding so that leaves more time for him to train.