Friday, January 30, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Winning thoroughbreds find ‘Victory’ in Solano County

horse trainer, 12/14/13

Ellen Jackson checks the running times of two of her horses during a recent early-morning practice run at Golden Gate Fields in Albany. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | December 26, 2013 |

VACAVILLE — On a recent morning, about the only thing not going like gangbusters at Victory Rose Thoroughbreds in the 20-degree weather was the pipes.

They were frozen.

That meant no horse baths. Check one chore off of a long list that owner and trainer Ellen Jackson, 59, and her crew do each morning.

On this particular morning, Jackson and Monica Jordan-Romero checked the horses that raced over the weekend, ensuring soundness. Lauren Aitken practiced trailer etiquette with some yearlings. At the same time, a few other horses exercised on the six-horse Equi-Ciser. David Martinez, Jackson’s exercise jockey, worked with the young horses – first in the ring and then on the half-mile dirt track on the 63-acre property. Later, Jackson, on her horse nicknamed Pony, paired with Martinez on the track to teach the yearlings that passing head-to-head wasn’t as scary as the big bad wolf.

“That’s a really scary thing for babies,” she said of passing head-to-head. “They’re horrified. In a herd, they never pass head-to-head. I’d rather (they) were horrified here and not at the track.”

It was a hubbub of activity for some horses – while others lazed and relaxed either in barns or pastures separated by stallions, yearlings, weanlings and pregnant mares.

Victory Rose is a working thoroughbred racehorse training and breeding facility tucked off Allendale Road. It’s a piece of Kentucky situated in California, with 170 horses of all ages in various stages of training, racing, retirement and breeding. Jackson owns some of the horses, either fully or in partnership, and others belong to owners spread out through the area. She also has another 22 horses at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley.

One of those owners is Fairfield resident Kevin Nish – the former part-owner of Mizdirection, a two-time Breeders Cup winner – who happened to be out visiting several of his horses on Jackson’s spread that frigid morning. After becoming interested in racing and ownership, Nish bought his first group of horses from the farm. He said he comes out to Victory Rose once a week to check on his horses.

“It’s stunning to me that we have this . . . a working-level training and breeding facility right here,” he said of Victory Rose’s location.

While this is a business for Jackson, with the horses earning their keep, she said she doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the horses will have a second life after racing. Those that aren’t used for breeding go to private homes, so Jackson makes sure they’re acclimated to people. Aside from a couple of the high-strung stallions used for breeding, most of the horses have an innate curiosity about who is in their barn or pasture. Give a scratch or two in a favorite place and their eyes will follow if left alone – they’re hoping for another scratch or two.

“It’s important they have people skills,” Jackson said. “And (they have to get) used to doing other things besides go.”

She also realizes that not every thoroughbred is cut out for racing – and talent is nothing without the desire.

“It’s not the talent, it’s the heart,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t matter (what) talent they have. They have to have both. The horse has to like the sport.”

Jackson’s origins in the horse business were in Grass Valley. She started rehabilitating horses that came off the track and realized that if she didn’t diversify, she wouldn’t survive. She got a stallion for breeding purposes.

“Once the stallions came, the mares came, then the babies came,” she said. From there she started training.

“That was the natural extension,” she added.

Jackson was introduced to horses when a cousin came to live with her family. The cousin came with a horse. She was given a foal – a leopard Appaloosa named Felina – by a former publisher of Horse & Rider magazine who she befriended as a young teen. Since her parents couldn’t afford the horse’s upkeep, he then gave her a job stuffing envelopes to pay for the horse. She had the horse through college and began to wonder, she said, “What I could do to support my (horse) habit.”

That’s when she started lay ups, or rehabilitating horses from the racetrack.

She has since paid it forward to others who want a chance in the race or horse world. Both Martinez, 22, and Aitken, 24 came to her with very little experience. Martinez came from Guatemala and cleaned stalls for several years just to save money for riding lessons near his Woodland home. He knew he wanted to ride, but had to wait to take the lessons until he could afford it. These days he has his sights set on being a jockey.

“That’s my dream,” he said.

Aitken started as a volunteer and now has a paid position working at halter training.

“I stuck around until she gave me a job,” Aitken said, laughing. Jackson told her, upon her hire, “I know you don’t know anything, but you’ll learn.”

Jackson also opens up her facility University of California, Davis, veterinary students. When the students come up with a project – anything from muscles to reproduction –they come to the farm and use Jackson’s horses.

The pay-it-forward attitude, like she was helped many years ago, is her philosophy, she said.

“I’m a big proponent of paying it forward . . . and not just in business,” she added.

Jackson took a chance – a single mother, with two young children – coming to Vacaville 23 years ago. She took out a loan to by the property, which wasn’t much all those years ago, she said. She then took out a second mortgage for the down payment.

“I owned an old Chevy and a horse trailer – that’s all I had to my name,” she said.

Her goal was to have a birth-to-retirement facility where horse owners didn’t need to take their horses anywhere else. She looked around her 63 acres as her employees departed for their homes. She has everything from pregnant mares to stallions to retirees waiting for a home. The foals will come in mid-January when breeding season starts.

“To think, I get to do this and get paid for it,” she said.

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • valerie footeDecember 27, 2013 - 5:17 am

    I was glad to read about an inspiring and hard working single mother. Thank you.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Teens earn right to perform with symphony

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
From classical to Queen: Chamber Players are ready

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Photographer has a passion for color

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Solano summit focuses on ways to end poverty

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fraud among challenges immigrants face, Fairfield panelists say

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Cadets learn skills for future careers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Girls on the Run expands, seeks volunteers

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
‘Souper Bowl’ coming to Solano County

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Sports aircraft company CEO recalls effort to locate in Solano

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
SolTrans announces changes to bus routes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

California’s snow survey shows far less snow than last month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Protestors shun sister-city relationship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

City event criticized for Mexican mafia connection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to move more than 2,000 inmates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy Scouts reaches settlement in sex abuse case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Doctors starting to shy away from non-vaccine advocates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Tech advances lower chance that driver will die in car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
‘Anonymized’ credit card data not so anonymous, study shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Poll shows giant gap between what public, scientists think

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Fort Hood gunman Hasan says he wants to keep top lawyer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attorney General nominee wins GOP endorsements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Police: Family killed man over child custody dispute

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Killer says his ideas influenced family suicide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA astronaut memorial stirs memories for shuttle veteran

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ukraine: Russia-backed rebels overrun another town in east

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Simultaneous attacks in Egypt’s Sinai kill 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Indonesian investigators: Crashed AirAsia flown by co-pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Gas blast at Mexico children’s hospital, at least 2 dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Deadly San Francisco blaze spurs look at fire alarms

By T. Burt McNaughton | From Page: A12 | Gallery

California meets judges’ prison crowding goal 1 year early

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Jan. 30, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My cousin’s 14-year-old son sleeps in the same bed as his grandma

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Jan. 30, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

‘The Thorn Birds’ author Colleen McCullough dies at age 77

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hilary Duff, George Lopez help in search for stolen dog

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Musician Geezer Butler arrested in Death Valley altercation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lil Wayne sues mentor’s record label for $51M, seeking split

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway’s ‘An Act of God’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
 
Bernie Mac widow drops malpractice lawsuit against doctor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment Calendar: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Desert stars: Celebs converge on Phoenix for Super Bowl 49

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Marshawn Lynch talks about why he doesn’t talk to the media

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Vanden boys pull away from feisty Fairfield 86-66

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7

 
Serena aims for 19th major in Aussie final vs. Sharapova

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Gronkowski and Chancellor make for must-see Super Bowl matchup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 30, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Signups for Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Chevrolet polishes its mid-size truck

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Prospect of Chinese cars in US still remain years away

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Senate passes Keystone XL bill, battles loom

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
McDonald’s under siege as new CEO steps in

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Obama seeks spending spike for defense, domestic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

 
Who wants a bite of Hershey…jerky?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Gloria Elizabeth Neal

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9