By Rebecca Roush
When it comes to horse racing, trainer Tim Padilla says there is no job he hasn’t had. Growing up in Arizona, he watched his father, Victor Padilla, train horses. He recalls helping out, along with his brother and sister, with the horses. “That’s all I really did as a kid,” he said. Padilla traveled near and far to help his father at various tracks across the country. “Whatever racetrack we were at is where I called home,” he recalled.
Padilla began his training career in 1991 at Turf Paradise with just two horses. He saw his first career victory after bringing them to Canterbury Park a year later. Since then, his horses have won 534 of 3,932 starts and have brought in more than $6 million in earnings.
The trainer currently lives near Tampa, Florida, but refers to Canterbury Park as his “second home.” He has been coming to the track since it opened in 1985 and says he has taken on many roles here since. “You name it, I have probably worked it,” he said. “I have galloped horses, worked the gate, hot-walked, maintained the track, and more,” he added.
The biggest lesson Padilla has learned is that “you never stop learning,” he said. “Just when you think you know everything about a horse, you find something new.”
Today, Padilla has more than 20 horses in training at Canterbury. His favorite horse that he has trained was Leaving a Legend. The horse won its first start in 2004 and Padilla says he was “a great horse that gave it all he had.”
When he is not busy working on the backside or saddling his starters during the races, you can find Padilla observing the goings-on from his reserved spot at the Budweiser Beer Gardens on the track apron.