By Rebecca Roush
A lot has changed for racehorse owners Jason and Angela Bullard over the past few years, both with their growing business and their hobby. This husband and wife duo met as children when their parents would take them to La Mesa Park in Raton, New Mexico.
“Since both of us were 9 or 10 years old, we’ve been going out to the race track all the time with family,” Jason said.
After moving to Shakopee years ago they continued to visit the racetrack, now Canterbury Park, with their friends and family. This prompted them to purchase their first horse in 2013 and race under the stable name Empire Racing.
The Bullards now have nine horses in training at Canterbury Park and two at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois. “We have learned a lot in the last six years and have steadily grown in numbers and in quality,” said Jason.
Though they enjoy seeing their horses win, the couple also appreciates the experience of race days. “Coming to the track with friends and family, going to the paddock, and finishing it all up with a winner’s circle photo never gets old,” said Jason.
One piece of advice that the Bullards offer to someone thinking about horse ownership is to “do your homework.” Jason explains that “it is not about what you know, it is who you know. Finding the right team can be a great family experience.” The Bullards have worked with trainer Bernell Rhone since 2013 and have found great success with him as well as Robertino Diodoro and with other owners in partnerships.
The most difficult aspect that Jason says they face is “the emotional highs and lows. One night you have a horse win and the next your horse runs last.” It is this experience that he says makes them second guess their plan of action on occasion.
When the Bullards are not at the racetrack they balance their time between operating their business, Nite Trane Transportation, which offers limousine, party bus, and airport transportation in the Twin Cities, and spending time at the lake with their three children.