Coleman takes prestigious groom of the year honor
"They like to be in the spotlight. Not me, I like to
That's the words of Linda Coleman one day before she was
named as the winner of the prestigious Harness Tracks of
America/Hanover Shoe Farms Caretaker of the Year Award.
Coleman of Surrey cares for eight to 10 horses in the
stable she operates with her husband, trainer Phil Coleman
and her daughter Casie Coleman (those that she referred to
as ling the spotlight). The family operates as a team, but
it is Linda Coleman who gets each and every horse ready for
training each day. As winner of the international award, she
represents caretakers everywhere in the sport, and
symbolizes their work ethic and devotion to their horses.
Nominated by her daughter Casie, who drives, Linda will
receive an oil painting of herself and one of her most well
known horses, Fast Lane Cruizin.
Casie wrote in part in her nominating letter, “My mother
has been grooming horses all her life. She hardly ever takes
a day off because she misses her horses and they miss her.
She has been the main man (woman) and the unsung hero of the
Coleman Stable for the last 25 years. She knows where each
and every pimple is on each of our horses, and knows the
personality of each. Her horses are her babies, and when one
is a little sick or a little lame and my dad and I want to
jog it, she will let us know and insists on getting the vet
to check it before allowing us to take it out on the track.
Mom goes nuts when it’s time to put our colts in a claimer
for the first time. If it were up to her, we would still
have every horse we ever owned.”
Fast Lane Cruizin, a winner of $490,000 lifetime, has
been one of B.C.'s top horses and is runner-up for an
O'Brien Award (for the second straight year) in the Older
Pacing Mare category. Coleman also looks after Cruizin's
half-brother, Fast Lane Phillips.
"I was shocked," Linda said when she got word of her win.
"I would have been happy to have one of the jackets" (all
grooms nominated in the annual competition, which is judged
by an HTA committee of former caretakers who now hold
responsible positions in the sport, receive handsome blue
and gold jackets.
Linda was also proud of the work done by Casie to write
the four-page nomination letter and then had to chuckle when
one of the backstretch wags (initials MD) said with a
chuckle: "I'd like to know how you become caretaker of the
year in North America when you have never even been groom of
the week at Fraser Downs."
Coleman will be honored Thursday, Feb. 21 at the Night of
Stars, the closing event of the Harness Racing Congress at
the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
STILL SERGING: Serge Masse continued his torrid pace
since the first of the year, chalking up seven more driving
wins on Feb. 1-3 weekend. Masse now has 27 triumphs in 68
starts since arriving from Alberta. Bill Davis, top driver
for the meet with 114 victories, also had seven wins. Rick
White had five and Dave Hudon four. Masse also led in visits
to the winner's enclosure as a trainer with six.
DANROTH TOP GROOMER: Congratulations to Michelle Danroth
who is the IGA Market Place groom of the week. Michelle
works for the Ken Dorman stable.
SAMANTHA READY: Samantha Square, the daughter of Albert
Albert, will carry the favourite's role into Feb. 15's Miss
Valentine feature race. Samantha finished 2001 in a blaze,
with a Stakes win in each of November and December and an
all-time highest earning total for B.C.-bred fillies in
their three-year-old season of $166,000. There was to be
Miss Valentine elimination races on Feb. 8 but only seven
other challengers will take on the Rick White trained and
driven Samantha Square. Others set to battle are
Strengthandhonour, Taylor Lite, Celtic Myst, Red Star
Flower, Red Star Sunshine, Penny Lace and Dal Reo Jewel.