Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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 swinlow@dailyrepublic.net. 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

Area LGBT Democratic Club cancels meet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Weather for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

.

US / World

 
Sacramento Gold Rush Days canceled due to drought

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Annoying minor floods are increasing on US coasts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Man charged in teen’s 9-month disappearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Medicare’s own health looking better, report says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Deal to improve veterans’ health care costs $17B

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
New fears about Ebola spread after plane scare

By The Associated Press | From Page:

In Iraq’s Mosul, radicals unleash their vision

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Fighting in Ukraine prompts residents to flee

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Israeli PM warns of prolonged campaign in Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Witnesses: Thunderstorm hit beach without warning

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Suspect’s mom also charged in Long Beach burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
City: Emails show ‘cozy’ ties of PG&E, regulator

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Pool water dumped in South Tahoe; resort fires 3

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Additional charge filed in California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

California governor takes dig at Texas guard plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for July 29, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Immigration protests short on compassion

By John M. Crisp | From Page:

 
.

Living

Horoscopes for July 29, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Today in History for July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

I don’t want to have intimate contact since learning I had a STD

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

 
Community Calendar: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

.

Entertainment

Kevin Bacon brings his ‘Six Degrees’ to Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

 
TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Giants lose 5th straight, 5-0 to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
 
Lakers finally confirm Byron Scott is new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders relying on healthy Watson to solidify line

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
This date in sports history for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Quarterback Johnny Manziel’s day at Browns camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Judge OKs record-setting $2B sale of Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Humphrey to savor Hall of Fame day with ‘wingman’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rays’ Archer: ‘Never saw Hank Aaron flip his bat’

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Reed HOF induction gives Bills cause to celebrate

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

In the Pits: Gordon eyeing 5th title after big Brickyard win

By Jenna Fryer | From Page: | Gallery

 
Marketing agreement an obstacle in US bid for 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sailors to navigate dirty water in 1st Rio test

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Manningham back with Giants, with no guarantees

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Contracts to buy US homes slip in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Stocks pause as traders await key economic news

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Zillow buying Trulia to build real estate titan

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Dollar Tree steps up fight, buys Family Dollar

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5