There are many trainers who fly under the radar. I have been watching one particular conditioner for quite some time. One of the things I learned the hard way is to never leave him off your wagers. With that in mind, I contacted Mr. Gorder and we talked horses. After our conversation, I left with two thoughts; I think he will be one of the up and coming big names. And the only time I will leave him off my wagers is when he doesn’t have a horse in the race.
DOB = 8/27/67 – Worthington, Minnesota
After attending the University of Wisconsin, you became inspired by the methodologies of Ray Hunt. How has this influenced your career?
K.G. – “It taught me better horsemanship by listening closely to what horses are communicating.”
Who would you credit with playing the biggest role in you becoming a trainer?
K.G. – “Jack Van Berg. He would come off gruff to many, but he is a kind and gentle man.”
In 2012, you were ranked 96th in money earned, 74th for wins, and 56th for ITM finishes. Is this the starting point for good things to come?
K.G. – “I think we are heading in the right direction. We are not on pace to eclipse last year, but the quality of runners can be seen in our barn.”
How many horses are in your care, and where do you stable?
K.G. – “We have 65-70 horses in training. We stable at Churchill Downs where runners usually head to Fair Grounds, and Keeneland is home for the runners who ship in Kentucky, Indiana, and Chicago. Some of the “big horses” in our barn are: Finding More, General Election, and Bourbon Courage.”
The Courier-Journal article by Jennie Rees said that “you learn something from every horse your around.” – What makes a top-class runner?
K.G. – “Heart… I like to see a runner battle down the lane and lay it on the line. Putting out that big effort, and confirmation play a big role in what I am looking for.”
Trainers usually have a favorite type of runner. What is yours?
K.G. – “I like to see runners who come from off the pace. Dropping in class, and making the dirt-turf move.”
If you could look into the future. Where would you like to see your operation?
K.G. – “I would like to notch my first G-1, and have a better quality of runners. I have been fortunate to have some of the best help in racing. They play the greatest role in our team success.”
Where would we find you on a rare day off?
K.G. – “I use to enjoy rock climbing. I love what I am doing, and you can always find me tending to the barn and horses.”
For someone who is looking at becoming a professional trainer, what are some words of advice?
K.G. – “You must have a strong work ethic, and be sure to learn from the best. Always work for someone you have great respect. This will take you a long way in understanding the Thoroughbred.”
After the end of our conversation, I felt that Kellyn Gorder is man of few words. He wouldn’t seem comfortable in the lime-light, and would rather let his horses do the talking. He struck me as a focused trainer who truly cares about the sport. He isn’t much of a golfer, and would prefer to be at the barn doing what he loves. I think we will be hearing many good things from the Gorder barn in the future. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled when he enters one of his runners.