Kentucky Derby horse trainer has metro Detroit ties

(WXYZ) - The Kentucky Derby is arguably the largest horse racing event in the country. It happens on the first Saturday in May, and this year a man with Detroit ties has three horses in the race.

Mike Maker grew up in Madison Heights, and now owns Mike Maker Racing Stables. This year, he has three horses racing at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. All three horses had post positions drawn in the top ten, and two are in the top three. Vicar's In Trouble picked at first, Harry's Holiday picked at second, and General A Rod picked at eighth.

Maker grew up around horses, and his father trained horses and Hazel Park Raceway and the Detroit Race Course.

"My family raced at Hazel Park half the year and Detroit Race Course the other half, and like most kids, I dreamed of winning the Kentucky Derby," Maker said.

When he was 13, Maker owned his first horse, and it won it's first race. Maker says he saved up for the horse by delivering papers for the Free Press, and walking hots on the weekend for his dad.

In 1993, he landed in job with hall of fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. As his assistant, Maker helped develop Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Charismatic, as well as Breeder's Cup winners Cat Thief, Orientate, Surf Side and Spain.

In 2003, he started Mike Maker Racing Stable, and now has his eight starter in the Kentucky Derby. Maker says he doesn't do much different when preparing on race-day for the derby.

"It's different with every horse, but it's typical race day stuff," Maker said. "It's a lot bigger crowd though, and Churchill can get a little rowdy."

For information about Mike Maker Racing Stables, click here, and for information regarding this year's Kentucky Derby, click here.


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