Hez Our Secret Helps Ruidoso Race Track Chaplaincy

Johhny Trotter and the All American Derby runner-up are making a difference in New Mexico.

Q-Racing Journal
September 21, 2012

Hez Our Secret

Hez Our Secret (inside)

Hez Our Secret is helping fund the Race Track Chaplaincy at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.

Trained by Blane Wood and ridden by Ricky Ramirez, Hez Our Secret (First Down Dash-Secret Separation by Separatist) earned $402,217 while finishing second to champion Ochoa in the September 2 All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs. Bred by Vessels Stallion Farm, Hez Our Secret is owned by AQHA Second Vice President Johnny Trotter of Hereford, Texas, who has donated half of the colt’s net earnings from the All American Derby to the Ruidoso Chaplaincy.

Darrell Winter is the chaplain at Ruidoso Downs.

“I’m looking for an exciting young assistant that I can train for this ministry,” Winter said. “I’ve got several interviews scheduled. I prefer someone who maybe has already been to seminary and has a ministry background, such as a youth pastor or someone like that who can bring the kind of high-energy enthusiasm we need in this ministry.

“I’ve just finished my 12th season as chaplain here at Ruidoso,” Winter added. “I want to begin to train someone who can bring in new ideas, new ways of doing things and new ways of accomplishing what we’re trying to do. This is more than simply conducting Sunday morning services at the chapel. We go through the barns with our Bibles and message and try to bring people to the Lord. We have a lot of programs: kids’ club, citizenship classes, senior citizens fellowships, AA meetings and more. On Fridays, we provide meals to people who stay here year-round. I’ve found that food is still a good way to get people to respond to our message: Come to a little devotional on Friday, listen to a short message on the Lord and stay to eat a meal. I need someone to jump in and take the reins on some of these matters. It takes a lot of experience and maturity to handle the kind of issues that arise on the backside of a racetrack, so I’m in prayer, asking for God to help me find the right guy – and I know He will.

“People don’t realize the amount of funding all this takes,” he added. “And unlike in some states with dedicated funds, in New Mexico, it’s all private donations only.

“Here in our ministry at Ruidoso, we continue to look for relevant ways to help meet the needs of horsemen,” Winter continued. “It’s always a moving target: Maybe somebody can’t pay this month’s mortgage because he got hurt at the track, maybe we need to provide food or some other kind of assistance for his kids. We just recently paid the bus fare for a guy to go to rehab in Kentucky – it wasn’t much, but he had to have it if he was going to get rehab. Above all, we try to provide spiritual enlightenment, to bring people to a closer relationship to Christ.”

The Lord, as the saying goes, works in mysterious ways.

“(My wife) Jana and I got into the racehorse business because it was something we could do together,” Trotter said. “We had One Famous Eagle, and he’s one in a million – or one in five million. (laughs) Jana and I consider everything that has happened to us in the racehorse business a big-time blessing. Having a good racehorse is about the blessing of having a good horse. It’s not about the money, it’s not about winning at Ruidoso, it’s about good horses.

“But the greatest thing that happens on the track is on the backside with the Race Track Chaplaincy,” Trotter added. “God leads us in different ways to different places to meet different people. I’m not sure that God didn’t lead me to the racetrack to lead me to the Race Track Chaplaincy. Now we really feel like that’s why we have racehorses: So we can help someone else. And maybe this will nudge some others to help in any way they can, also.”

Winter is grateful for the help that the Trotters have extended to his ministry.

“We really appreciate everything Johnny has done for us,” Winter said. “In the 12 years I’ve been here, he’s been the Chaplaincy’s biggest benefactor, and we can’t thank him enough.”