By Megan Johnson
Chuck Turco has been training horses for 32 years but his love for the racetrack started before that at a very young age. Over the years, Chuck has been a graded stakes winning trainer and achieved multiple leading trainer titles in Nebraska. He trained Dazzling Falls who ran in the Kentucky Derby after winning the Arkansas Derby. Dazzling Falls is the only Nebraska-bred to ever run in the Kentucky Derby.
Q: How did you get started in racing?
A: I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and lived just a couple houses down from Ak-Sar-Ben Racetrack. When I was just seven-years-old I snuck under the fence and got my first job at the track. I worked there for various handlers until I graduated and started training on my own when I was 23-years-old. I won my first race in 1982.
Q: What racetracks have you raced your horses at?
A: Canterbury Park, Remington Park, Fonner Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Lincoln Race Course, Oaklawn, and Churchill Downs.
Q: How many horses do you have here?
A: We started with 14 but as the meet has come closer to the end it’s gone down a little bit. I’m looking to get some Minnesota-bred horses in the near future to be able to run more races and have more opportunity here at Canterbury.
Q: What are your plans after Canterbury this year?
A: Usually I got to Hawthorne but this year we’re just going to wait for Fonner to start back up.
Q: What is the biggest lesson training has taught you?
A: It’s tough to narrow it down because I’ve learned everything I know from training but the biggest thing is learning how to have patience. Anytime you work with something that can’t speak, like horses, you need to have patience. You have to assume what they’re thinking or what is bothering them.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of racing?
A: I like to fish a lot but I don’t really have the time but I also enjoy watching movies.
Q: What is your favorite type of movie?
A: I love watching movies and I like all types of movies.
Q: Do you have any special horses this meet?
A: Diamond Joe, he’s a really good horse. He won his 23th race here and he will run here on the last day of the meet. Diamond Joe’s dad is Dazzling Falls, the horse we took to the Kentucky Derby, and he’s following in his dad’s steps with almost half a million in earnings.
Q: What is your plan when you’re done training?
A: After I’m done training, I’ll be dead. This is me and it’s what I’ve always wanted to do forever.
Q: Why have you continued to train all these years?
A: The horses are the biggest part but the people on the backside have a lot to do with it as well. I always wonder if the horses are better with or without me and if you feel as though they are better off without you, then you should get gone. I’ve always felt that the horses were better off with me around them.