Each week the Minnesota HBPA presents the Groom of the Week award in a Wednesday winners’ circle presentation. Those in racing recognize that the grooms are important members of any stable’s team and that the success of the racehorses depends on the care and dedication of the grooms.
The groom of the week this week is Efrain Cambray who works for trainer Tim Padilla. The native of Morelos, Mexico grew up around horses. His mother was a hotwalker in Chicago and that is where he got his first backstretch job at the age of 15.
Efrain eventually found himself in Kentucky working for trainer Richard Lundy. During a stint at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Efrain met Tim Padilla who was in need of grooms as he was heading to Shakopee for the summer. Efrain accompanied Padilla’s stable north and has worked for him ever since. Efrain also travels to Tamp Bay Downs where Padilla trains in the winter months.
“This is what I like to do,” he said. He likes being around the horses and the routine. The appreciation may have increased as he cares daily for Minnesota bred 3-year-old Thealligatorhunter who this summer has won four races including the Victor S. Myers Stakes and just last week the $100,000 Minnesota Derby.
“He’s all heart,” Efrain said of the 3-year-old likely to be named Champion at Canterbury this meet. “He gives 100 percent.”