Tammy Hornsby might be new to many fans at Canterbury Park, but she and her husband William (Bill) Hornsby are not strangers to the circuit. Tammy, a Minnesota native, and Bill met at Hawkeye Hill racing school in Indiana, after which they worked for several different trainers, including Jack Van Berg. “We really learned a lot from him. We learned how to do it right, from the ground up,” Tammy said.
Eventually, the pair wound up with their own string of horses, training and running at Prairie Meadows and what was then Canterbury Downs. “We got out of the business for a little while when Canterbury and Prairie Meadows closed, raised our three kids, and then I got back in because I couldn’t stay away!” Tammy explained.
The first go-round, Bill was the listed trainer, and Tammy was his assistant and exercise rider when she wasn’t at home in Hot Springs, Arkansas. “I wanted the kids to be able to stay at the same school,” Tammy said. “So I would stay home with them and Bill would travel with the horses.” A few years ago, when the racing bug bit Tammy once more, her husband encouraged her to take the reins and take out her own trainer’s license.
“My husband was the one brave enough to say ‘Hey! We can do this!’, so I took out my trainer’s license down in Louisiana and that’s where I won my first race!” she said with a smile. “Now he stays home and looks after the horses we have on the farm in Arkansas.”
Tammy and Bill’s farm serves as a facility to house their up-and-coming youngsters, but they have a broodmare there as well. “Hot Pistol. We trained her, too. She was a little monster, she could run!” Tammy laughed. “She had to be retired young, but we kept her as a broodmare and she always kicks out a useful little baby.”
Many of the horses in Hornsby’s stable have been a part of the family for their whole lives. “We’ve got a lot of home-breds, we just try to give them the best we can and enter them correctly,” Tammy said. “For the money spent on horses, we hold our own.”
So far, Tammy is a big fan of Canterbury Park. “I love it. I think our horses fit here, and the people have been super nice. The facilities are nice, clean, and horse friendly. I think we’ll do just fine here and I think we’ll be back.”
by Katie Merritt
Katie Merritt is a senior at the University of Kentucky and currently an intern in the Canterbury Park Press Box. Before returning to school she galloped at several tracks around the country, but spent the majority of her time working for Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.