Q-Racing Blog: It's Team Wood

It takes a village to get to the winner's circle.

Quarter Racing Journal

It takes a village to get to the winner's circle.

On every racing program there is one person listed as the trainer. This is usually incomplete.
 
One of those trainers is Blane Wood. “It’s not about me, it’s we,” said Wood the day after a memorable opening weekend at Ruidoso Downs. The weekend was highlighted by two days of trials to the $1 million Ruidoso Futurity (G1) and then a full afternoon of trials to the $1,040,000 Ruidoso Derby (G1).

Team Wood saddled 41 prospects in the trials and scored nine wins and four seconds. More importantly, he has four qualifiers to the Ruidoso Futurity on June 12 and has a qualifier to the Ruidoso Derby on June 11.

There are about 25 employees on Team Wood. They include grooms, night-watch people and gallop boys. The higher profile members of the team are Blane’s son Trey, jockey Ricky Ramirez, assistants Lyle Wood and Paul Leal, Blane’s wife Sandy Wood and paperwork wrangler Lacey Wood.

Trey oversees much of the operations at the tracks (they currently have horses at Ruidoso Downs and Remington Park until the latter’s meet ends on June 4), jockey Ramirez (who was up on all of the qualifiers), Paul Leal (who runs the horses in Texas in the summer, Lyle Wood (Blane’s brother and assistant to Trey) along with Blane’s wife Sandy and Lacey, who is Blane’s niece and takes care of the books and billing.

 
Blane Wood. PHOTO: Quarter Racing Journal 

“We have the best in the business,” said Blane. “You’re only as good as the help around you.

“We are blessed with good owners, horses and the people around us,” Blane continued. “You gotta stay positive in this business. You get knocked down, get up, dust the dirt off and go on.”

Blane gets the yearlings at his Lubbock base, usually in October, and begins their training. When they are ready to go to the track, the horses are turned over to Trey. Blane joins Trey in Ruidoso and they run under Blane’s name at Ruidoso Downs. They run under Trey’s name at other tracks.

“I have total confidence in Trey,” Blane said. “He has a passion for the game and loves the horses.”

Trey was a highly recruited quarterback in high school. He was recruited by TCU and several Big 12 schools. However, he knew what he wanted to do – train horses – and he wanted to start straight out of high school.

“I tried to convince him to go to college, but he knew his passion,” Blane said. “He was a quarterback and is still the quarterback.”

Ramirez is on virtually all of the Wood horses and will have his choice from the four futurity qualifiers.

“We leave (the decision on which horse to ride) totally up to Ricky,” said Blane. “He will take them to the gate and school them. We’ll see how they pulled up and are eating, etc. Trey and I will offer our opinions, but it is Ricky’s choice.”

In the 350-yard Ruidoso Futurity, Ramirez qualified Cash And Corona on the first trial day and came back the second trial day to qualify the three-fastest horses — Ms Maggie Mae, Jess Paint Ur Wagon and Tough To Bee.

In the 400-yard Ruidoso Derby, Ramirez has third-fastest qualifier Famous War Eagle.

“I have always wanted a go-to rider at the stable. We had J.J. Gonzales for 14 years and then J.J. didn’t want to deal with weight issues anymore. Ricky is professional, a total family man and takes care of business.”

Trey and Ricky live in Brock, Texas. Ricky will travel to Blane’s place near Lubbock when the youngsters are breezed. Then most of the 2-year-olds are at Ruidoso Downs for the training races.

“The owners know that Ricky will ride and that’s a big benefit,” said Blane.

Blane’s clients are also a big part of the team. He praises his owners and says, “We have owners that we like to go out to dinner with.”

Team Wood knows racing’s ups and downs. Blane is 57-years-old and comes from a racing family. His father, Leo, won the 1978 All American Futurity with Pie In The Sky.

The team is on a roll right now and having fun. That’s important to this extended family.

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