He did it! Mike Stidham was crowned yesterday champion trainer at Fair Grounds for their 2015-2016 meet – the first time in his long and distinguished career that he has been crowed champ (and almost certainly not the last)!
Here’s the champ’s own words:
“I’m just so grateful for all the support from all the owners and all my long time clients. I really do have the best, most loyal owners in the country. But it was a team effort, and without great staff and good horses and most of all, without the help from Hilary Pridham, Nicho and TC, my wonderful assistants, we wouldn’t have got there. After 37 years of training, it was an amazing experience, and on that last day when the championship was hanging in the balance, about whether we were going to win, it was emotional for me. My mother was there for the last few months of the meet, and came to the races with me every day. Most importantly, she was there for the presentation, which brought a lump to my throat. We’re gonna try and win Arlington now – we’re gonna try hard, though it’ll be tough.”
Hilary, Stidham’s long-time assistant, was also on hand to provide the first of many plaudits: “we started off the meet well, and that we stayed in front for the full five months is incredible. All the guys who work for us worked so hard for this, and they fully deserve this great achievement. I should also mention the jockeys. Florent Geroux and Mitchell Murrill rode most of our horses, and they really played a big part in all of this.”
On the last day of the meet, Stidham sent out a tasty double. Top Mention, an exciting three-year-old gelding by Congrats, won on his debut for Cardinal Farms. He looks like another nice sort for the year ahead.
Then, on the final race of the day, Carlientita couldn’t have been a more fitting (and authoritative) winner, scorching home an eight-and-a-quarter length victor for owners Homewrecker Racing and Carlos Rivera.
This was Carlientita’s first win. But, like Stidham and his first Trainer’s Championship, is sure doesn’t look like it’s going to be her last!