Her father brought her to Canterbury on Kentucky Derby Day when she was 12 or 13 and that was all it took for Ida Schneck to become enamored with horseracing. “I loved the data and the handicapping,” she recalled. “I fell in love with the sport.”
A few years later, in 2010, she joined the Canterbury Racing Club, a fractional ownership group that allowed members to get involved at a very low price. While she never made it to the winner’s circle that summer, that did not matter to Schneck.
“It was so exciting,” she said. “Going into the paddock, shaking hands with the jockey, the backside tour.”
She soon went to college, graduated, got a job as an engineer, and continued to follow racing. One day in 2019 while at the races she saw a program ad for Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project and contacted its director Joe Scurto. He was determined to find Schneck a partnership that fit her budget. Meanwhile Scurto involved her with a new group he had formed, Beginner’s Luck Racing Stable.
The pandemic ruined the 2020 ownership plan but Scurto and Schneck kept in touch. In 2021 he contacted her about Rocket Wrench Racing, an ownership group run by Justin Revak. Next thing she knew she was on a phone call with Revak, listening to what he had to offer. “I’m in,” she told him immediately.
And since then? “It’s been a dream come true,” she said.
She attends the races nearly every day and often brings friends, teaching them about the sport and how to handicap and wager. She is an ambassador for horse racing and a source of welcomed energy at Canterbury. She hopes to get some of the friends involved in a partnership as well.
“Ida is the type of individual that makes my work at MNREP so fulfilling,” Scurto said. “Being able to watch her enthusiasm, quest for knowledge, and love of horses is a joy.”
Rocket Wrench has done quite well this year, with a couple of wins and a couple of third-place finishes.
“Seeing Ida stand in the winner’s circle for the first time as a new owner made my day,” Scurto said.
For Schneck though it has really never been about the winning but rather about the people she meets, the trainers, jockeys, fellow owners and other fans, in an environment much different than high school years ago when “people made fun of me walking around the halls of South High with a Daily Racing Form,” she said. “Now I get to meet other people that think like me.”