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Faces Of Racing: Nick Recoskie

Published: June 10, 2019 12:41 pm ET

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Leading up to the National Caretaker Appreciation Day events that will be taking place during the weekend of July 19-21, Standardbred Canada will be profiling caretakers from across the country in our ‘Faces of Racing’ series. The series is kicking off with Nick Recoskie of Ottawa, Ont.

“I got started in the (harness) racing industry when a family friend, Terry Allen, invited my mom and I to the paddock at Flamboro one night for a new experience,” 24-year-old Nick Recoskie has reflected. “I thought I would go check it out and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere.”

Nick is currently balancing a career as an Erosion Control Technician/Junior Inspector for the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and being a part-time caretaker for the Wayne McGean Stable.

Nick and Bronx Seelster pictured coming in from a jog prior to the 2018 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals.

In his seven years in the business, Nick has not forgotten what he learned and from who he has been taught. In an environment where things can be different day in and day out, one must always be willing to learn and be open to learning from other horsemen and women regardless of their level of experience in the industry.

“There have been so many people who have helped me over the years. Terry Allen was the first person to give me a shot and show me how things are done. Travis Henry let me jog my first horse and taught me how to go a training mile. Shane Arsenault taught me how to properly look after horses and Nick Gallucci and Richard Moreau trusted me to look after some nice horses and were always able to provide me with guidance,” Nick recalled.

“I think my most memorable moment as a caretaker was winning my very first race; it was with a horse named Final Encore. We hadn’t had much luck racing him week after week, and that night at Flamboro it didn’t seem much different. He was sitting last at the half, but then at the three-quarter mark the horse made a huge move clearing the whole field to win the race. It was an incredibly special and memorable moment.”

Nick and Boomboom Ballykeel pictured in the summer of 2017.

As many caretakers in the harness racing industry can attest, one of the most rewarding aspects of the sport is having their horse race well regardless of where they finish crossing the wire. “There was a filly named Killean Finale that I looked after when I worked for Nick Gallucci, she was a gutsy mare that tried her hardest every week and consistently got better the longer we had her.”

Success is defined differently for everyone. Nick believes that to be a successful caretaker in this industry one must be a hard worker that is willing to stay late and put in the work to go the extra mile. He also emphasizes the importance of being attentive and vigilant in looking at the little details and effectively communicating with the people you work with. “To me, good horsemanship is loving the animal first and the sport second,” said Nick.

“I stay enthusiastic about harness racing because every race is different. Once the horses go behind the gate there is no predicting what is going to happen, and that is always exciting.”

Nick hopes that he can expand his involvement in the industry in the future by attaining his training license and becoming an owner.

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