Doyles Dashing Star a Family Effort

Hialeah stakes winner Doyles Dashing Star has family connections.

Press Release
February 13, 2013

gene stephens

Trainer Gene Stephens with jockey Omar Reyes. PHOTO: Coady Photography

When Doyles Dashing Star came home first in Hialeah Park’s Moonstone Stakes on February 3, trainer Gene Stephens didn’t have far to go to congratulate the horse's owner. The Georgia-bred Heza Fast Dash mare runs for Stephens’ wife, Rachael.

“We don’t have to worry about it,” Stephens said of the husband-wife dynamic in the trainer-owner relationship. “She knows someone’s taking care of the horses like they’re supposed to. It’s been nice.”

All together, Stephens says he trains 15 of the 20 horses in his barn for his wife, with an additional ten at their home base in Georgia.

Stephens says that he started out as a trainer because of his family’s involvement in racing. His grandfather owned racehorses, so Stephens grew up around the barn. After a few frustrating experiences as an owner, he decided to begin training his own runners seven years ago.

“We always raced around the house on dirt roads and stuff, and in bush races,” said Stephens.

Star runner Doyles Dashing Star has always turned in strong performances, but seems to have come into her own through the last year, during which she has hit the board in eight out of nine starts. Three of those eight races were wins. Most recently, she came second in the Crystal River and Orange Blossom Stakes, and ran third in the Grade 3 Covered Bridge last fall.

“I gave her some time off when she first came to this track. She likes time off,” said Stephens. “I took it easy on her … she doesn’t like to be trained on much. She’s just more laid back. She’s an easy keeper.”

Doyles Dashing Star came back from the Moonstone Stakes well according to Stephens, who is proud to report that at seven years old, she has no soundness issues.

“She doesn’t tear her stall up. She’s a real easy-going mare, she’s not a real hyper mare,” he said, adding that she’s not the type to spook at activity outside her stall.

The mare will start in Sunday’s fifth race, a 440-yard allowance, to close out her Hialeah season. After that Stephens says she’ll go to the couple’s home base in Odum, Georgia, for a month and a half’s rest before shipping to Delta Downs.

Live racing at Hialeah Park resumes Friday at 2 p.m.