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Patrick Mooney: From Walking Horses to Owning One

By Rebecca Roush

Making the decision to purchase a racehorse doesn’t always come easy, but for Patrick Mooney it was a dream of his since he watched his first race from the winner’s circle at Canterbury Downs.

At the age of sixteen Mooney would make the drive each day from Young America to the track and tend to the paddock area and race field. He would also help out in the winner’s circle on occasion, which is where he watched his first horse race. “After watching that race I was hooked on the sport,” he recalled.

After spending two summers working on the grounds crew, he decided to try hot walking for Randy Reid on the backside. “When I first started working in the stable area I was in awe of the atmosphere,” he recalled. “There are people from all walks of life back there. It’s almost like a different world.”

He worked in Reid’s stable for two more years and was eager to come back in the summer of 1993, but the track closed. Instead, Mooney took a different track maintenance job, this time with Canadian Pacific Railroad. Now, twenty five years later Mooney is still with the railroad.

When Canterbury finally opened again in 1995, Mooney began to frequent the track as a fan. It was here that he met his good friend and now ownership partner, Anthony Kelzenberg.

After starting a family with his wife, Shannon and having two daughters, Amanda (10) and Erin (7), Mooney started planning on buying a horse. “I thought about it for years, but the timing was just never quite right,” he said.

Determined to get into the winner’s circle again, this time standing next to a horse of his own, Mooney became more and more serious about the investment. He began talking with Kelzenberg about ownership and they decided to partner up, under the name Savvy Gopher Stable, and make Kelzenberg the majority owner.

After meeting and forming a connection with Canterbury Park’s current leading trainer, Robertino Diodoro at the Arkansas Derby last year Mooney and Kelzenberg made the “no brainer” decision to hire him. “Since we began working with Diodoro, he has been very accommodating and responsive to us,” said Mooney.

Diodoro had a connection at Churchill Downs and was able to claim and bring the partnership’s first horse, GetUpBabyGetUp back to Minnesota. The 3-year-old filly was bred in Kentucky and has a record of (7-3-0-0) and has earned more than $47,000. “The fact that Diodoro could claim a Kentucky bred horse and bring her back to us was very appealing,” said Mooney.

The partnership’s first race by GetUpBabyGetUp was last week, on June 21, where the horse ran seventh.

Though he is currently a minority owner of the horse, Mooney says that he hopes to own the majority of a horse and form a partnership with other friends in the future as well.  “I would love the chance to get more people into horse ownership,” said Mooney. “Win or lose, it is a really unique and fun experience.” Mooney’s advice to anyone thinking about purchasing a horse is “don’t be scared to do it. Look at it as a summer hobby and if your horse does well, that’s just a bonus.”