Trainers give sons on-job training

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Like father, like son.

That is the trend happening at Assiniboia Downs this summer in a couple of stables.

Second-leading trainer Ardell Sayler has been watching his son Aaron rack up some wins, as has longtime trainer Clayton Gray, whose son Randy is finding the win column this season.

"I've taught him a lot," Ardell said of his son. "He's been galloping horses for me since he was eight, nine years old."

And Aaron wouldn't have it any other way.

"He's been a big influence," Aaron said of his dad.

"I watched him train horses and bring horses up from two year olds to become good horses. The love of horses is in our family."

Ardell has 22 wins this season in 144 starts, while Aaron has seven in 34 starts.

The fact that Aaron has been galloping the horses is a huge learning tool for him.

"That means a lot because he can feel when they are off," Ardell said.

"In my program, if I have one that has a little problem, I have Aaron gallop him and he can pretty much tell me what's wrong with the horse."

TRYING TO RECALL

With Clayton Gray slowly handing over the reins to Randy, the son is trying to recall all the experiences he has had with his dad over the years as he begins to step out on his own.

"I've worked with him basically all my life," said Randy, who has nine wins in 62 starts this season.

"As you go along, you just learn how he's done things. You learn the things that he's tried that have worked and learn the things that he's tried that haven't worked. Hopefully you learn from the mistakes along the way.

"He's taught me how to show a horse and how to balance a horse properly so that you don't have a lot of the other injuries that come along with it."

With 44 years of training experience, Randy has one of the most experienced trainers at the Downs in his father to learn from.

"You got to work hard and you got to be there," Clayton said of the advice he has given his son. "You have to have good clients, which we have right now. They have to be willing to buy these horses and support them. If you don't have good horses, you can't be anybody."

But with the move up from being a help in the barn to the trainer in the barn comes a lot of added responsibility.

"He's going to have to start answering to the clients," Clayton half chuckled. "I answer to a lot of them, as we switch things over.

"He's going to be a very good. He's a smart boy and a very hard worker. That's the key to it."


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