By Katie Merritt
Lakeville, Minnesota native and horse owner Bill Kroska, has always loved horseracing. When the track first opened as Canterbury Downs in the mid-80s, he used to come to the track just to sit and watch them run, in total awe. “They’re just so fun to watch,” he gushed, “How strong and powerful and fragile they are, all at once.” Horses already held a special spot in Kroska’s heart, so horse racing was love at first sight.
About 10 years ago, Kroska (pictured above second from left) and his business partner Stan Krupke (pictured second from right) had just launched their company Miracle Logistics. Kroska, in his 40s and going through a self-professed mid-life crisis, found himself itching to buy a racehorse so he proposed the idea to Krupke. “At first he looked at me like I was crazy,” laughed Kroska, “And then I talked to him for about 15 seconds, and he said, ‘You know what, why not?’. I told him I’d wait ’til next year, and a month later I went and got one!” And so, the race horse owner partnership called Miracle Logistics was born.
Over their 10 years of ownership, Kroska and company have acquired 16 of their 17 horses through claiming races and had a fair amount of success with several of them. In the last several years, many of those claims have been scouted out by Kroska’s son, Matt. From 139 starters, they’ve won at an almost 20% clip, getting their picture taken in the Winner’s Circle 27 times. Winning, however, isn’t everything for Kroska. “My favorite thing is just coming with my family, friends and neighbors, having a beer, and relaxing. No stress, always smiling,” he said, adding “If a horse is bad? Guess what, it’s called forgiveness. Wait for another one. Cross it off, put a line through it, say that’s it, we’ll get another one.” As Kroska puts it, he’s not in the ownership game to make a house payment, he’s here to enjoy himself and have fun.
Winning, of course, is fun, and one horse that did that quite a bit for Miracle Logistics was a gelding named Moralist. They claimed Moralist with trainer Tammy Domenosky for $10,000 at Hawthorne in October of 2008. Less than a year later, he became a stakes winner. “He was our ATM machine!” Kroska said with a grin. “We had him for 22 starts. He won 9 of them, three of them stakes, and I think he was in the money 14 of the 22.” Moralist won back to back Honor The Hero Stakes at Canterbury, and finished third in the Grade 3 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland. “He was a horse that gave 100% every time he went out to the track,” Kroska added. “He tried. So, as anything, even with your own kid, the only thing you can ask is that they give you 100% effort.”
Kroska thinks of his horses as his equine children. He enjoys going back to the barn and spoiling them when he comes to the track in the mornings, and is diligent in finding them good homes when it comes time to retire them. “I’ve never sold any of my horses, I’ve always given them away,” said Kroska. “As long as I know they have good homes, I don’t care about trying to get money for them.” Whether they have become showjumpers, trail horses, or even horses used for the Thoroughbred Make-Over Project, Kroska can go to sleep at night knowing that his horses are thriving in their new roles. “I just don’t want anything bad to happen to my kids,” he said, smiling.
Kroska takes the responsibility of ownership seriously, but he clearly enjoys it very much. “We’re just having fun!” he said, “I’m hoping I can do this for many, many years. I’ve already got ten years under my belt – I’m hoping for another ten, if not more.”