Weekly the Minnesota Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association honors a Groom of the Week in a winner’s circle presentation following the first race each Wednesday. This week’s Groom of the Week is Jaime Meta who works for trainer Tony Rengstorf.
“He’s deserved this for a long time,” Rengstorf said. “I am really happy he is being recognized. He’s a great groom and a hard worker. He is always smiling and happy. What makes him outstanding is that he helps everybody back here. Not just in my barn either. If someone needs help, he helps or makes sure they get help. He is a super guy.”
Meta, a native of Michoacan, Mexico, began working in the racing industry in 2001 at the age of 16 at Thistledown Racetrack in Cleveland. When he began, he had never worked around horses. “I was kind of scared,” Meta said. Any fear he may have had quickly dissipated as he became familiar with the rhythm of working on the racetrack. He has held several jobs – groom, exercise rider, foreman, assistant trainer.
This is Meta’s eleventh year at Canterbury and his second working for Rengstorf. Over those years he has also worked for Mike Biehler, Vic Hanson and Francisco Bravo. “It’s a cycle,” he said. “Horses move from barn to barn and so do grooms.”
Meta returns to Mexico in the winter and makes an occasional stop at Oaklawn Park but likes his summers in Shakopee.