The Standardbred season is kicking into gear, but Saturday, May 13th was especially memorable for trainer Jennifer Clark. She took home her first career win with LEGS LIKE TINA.
The race began with a battle between Rod Hennessy with ROYAL MISTRESS, and Brandon Campbell with SHES ALL MINE In the final stretch, Keith Clark with LEGS LIKE TINA overtook ROYAL MISTRESS, and driver Rod Hennessy, by a nose when it counted – with a finish time of 2:00:1.
“It’s unbelievably exciting,” said Clark. “My feet weren’t touching the ground when I got out of the van today.”
LEGS LIKE TINA, unofficially known as Tina, showed signs that this was going to be a good day. “I knew she was coming in sharp, I knew she was ready… but you never know when it comes down to it,” said Clark.
Clark started in the horse racing industry with Thoroughbreds when she was 10 years old in 1992. She worked as a groom for her mother at Trout Springs. After a few years, in 1995, she started working at Stampede Park. She then went on to working with the Chuckwagons from 1995-1998.
After taking 10 years off of the industry, Jennifer Clark decided it was time to come back. She is completely self-trained, and asked for help when she knew she needed it.
“When we decided to get back into horses, we thought ‘go where the money’s at.’ It made more sense to have a Standardbred jogging through the field than a Thoroughbred. I found a couple [of] mentors and they guided me on how to harness a horse, [and] I took what I knew from the Thoroughbreds and applied it, and here I am today,” said Clark.
LEGS LIKE TINA is Clark’s first Standardbred, who she bred, and now owns and trains. “She is the first one I’ve bred, raised and trained,” said Clark. “I’m surprised we made it after 2 minutes, and then to be here today [just makes me] ecstatic.”
She has also bred and now owns a two-year-old, and will be starting him this year.
All of the work she does in the horse racing industry is a hobby for her, and she loves it. As she has a day job, she starts her day very early to ensure she has time with her horses.
“I work as a mail courier in Ponoka, AB. I will wake up at 5AM and I will go and deliver mail, then I drive out to the barn and jog my couple horses, and ride home about mid-afternoon,” said Clark.
She currently has her family supporting her and helping her with her daily duties. After speaking to her mom, roles have been reversed. She is now working as Jennifer’s groom, as Jennifer had once worked as her mom’s groom. We can only expect great things from Jennifer Clark and LEGS LIKE TINA.
For the rest of the season, she plans on doing what she’s doing one day at a time. “We’re just going to keep plugging along, as long as she stays sound, and I’m going to enjoy this year while it’s starting off good.”
It has been good indeed . Currently Jennifer Clark sits with a record of 2-1-0-1. While there are plenty of starts ahead of her, we’re wishing her the best of luck as the season goes on.
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Photo credit: Jennifer Clark