August 13, 2022

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‘Dunn’ Proper: Steve and Allese Dwell by the motto

Steve and Allese Dunn have spent their lives collectively, round horses, and racetracks, and it’s one thing the couple by no means regretted. They met whereas doing admissions work at Belmont Park, the place Steve obtained his second job after galloping within the morning. Allese has simply graduated from highschool, following in her father’s footsteps as a salesman.

From galloping future Corridor of Fame mares to coaching the winners, Dunns has seen the highs and lows of the business and has surpassed all of them. “We’ve labored collectively all our lives,” says Allese. “He rode them, and I massaged them, as they are saying.”

Collectively, the 2 have constructed a household and maintained a profitable small group centered merely on doing higher — daily.

MarketWatch: What drew you to the racing business?

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Steve Dunn: My father, John Dunn, was a horse coach and a ranch supervisor. I assume you may name me a race child. I grew up strolling in the summertime and needed to be a jockey. So I began galloping at Keeneland after I was 12 or 13 years outdated. After I was too outdated to experience, I made a decision I might attempt to practice a number of winners. I’ve been on that street for some time. I simply need to get out of Lexington; I need to go and see locations I’ve by no means been. I need to see Allen Jerkens and Belmont and Saratoga. I arrived in chilly New York, with no job and with out figuring out anybody. I obtained a job there and was planning to go to Florida, however I used to be on a second job, and I met Allese and stayed for six years. We’ve got been married for 38 years.

Allese Dunn: I’ve by no means met anybody like (Steve). I’m from Flushing, Queens, New York. The horse enterprise is new to me. I’ve at all times been an animal lover, nevertheless it was a tradition shock.

MW: The place did you go from New York?

SD: I’m nonetheless using in New York. I labored for Jeff Lukas the primary yr he got here to New York and galloped on Life’s Magic for him the yr she gained Eclipse (3 yr outdated junior champion in 1984 and older mare champion) in 1985). I additionally galloped by Girl’s Secret at her age of two. She then broke her maidenhood in a lethal warmth and was transferred to Santa Anita for D. Wayne Lukas to enter a stake race.

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[Lady’s Secret became the 1986 Horse of the Year and champion older mare.]

These horses helped me land a spot as Mark Casse’s assistant coach, and we went with him when he took the job for Calumet. We did that for a number of years, working at Hialeah Park and Belmont for a number of years, after which Mark opened a public steady in Churchill Downs after Calumet disbanded. We began with 5 or 6 horses at Churchill, and by the top of the assembly we had 40 horses. Mark is within the Corridor of Fame and deserves it. He’s an excellent horseman, man and businessman. I stayed with Mark for a number of years after which moved out.

MW: What have you ever discovered from working with Lukas and Casse?

SD: Consideration to element, consideration to the little issues, and group. Wayne taught me about simply placing the horse first. (Wayne) may be very, very motivated, probably the most motivated folks I’ve ever met. Sustaining the depth daily was powerful, however he did it. This enterprise is hard since you work seven days per week, 12 months a yr, 10, 12, 14, 16 hours a day and it’s arduous to keep up that depth, however he by no means had a tough time. with it. He actually couldn’t imagine it. However he raised the bar, and he raised the bar for you as a result of he made you higher. Good coaches make you higher. They make you do belongings you didn’t assume you might do.

Picture: Courtesy the Dunn Household

(LR) Austin, Allese, Steve and Katie Dunn

MW: You and Allese have two youngsters, Katie and Austin. Do you discover it troublesome to handle a household and handle a racing steady on the similar time?

SD: Certain. That may be a problem. We had some purchasers that we had been going to journey to the Honest Grounds within the winter after which again in the summertime, and to the purpose the place I give up touring. It didn’t work — an excessive amount of time left and Allese was alone. We misplaced all our horses and obtained off each ends. I went again to galloping for another person, and Allese obtained one other job. However that doesn’t matter as a result of you need to maintain the youngsters and the wedding. Our marriage and youngsters are extra necessary than the horses and the equine enterprise. Divorce attorneys love the horse enterprise.

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It is extremely troublesome. It’s not for everybody; It’s a lifestyle; it’s all in. It needs each ounce of your power; it would lose every part when you let it. It’s arduous to search out that steadiness. We struggled with ambition and steadiness. However we’re fantastic. I’ll by no means remorse a second spent with our youngsters as they develop up. The horse enterprise permits us to spend so much of time with the children. We had been the one dad and mom there as a result of it was daytime, and the others can be working. Many occasions, we’ve been there, whether or not it’s a observe session, a recreation, or a highschool efficiency.

ADVERTISEMENT: We obtained soiled, however we had been there. We had poultices readily available, however we had been there.

MW: What would you say to a younger couple attempting to get forward?

SD: Required entry. It’s arduous. It’s arduous to do this anymore with younger youngsters. It was a household affair the place everybody’s youngsters got here to the observe, and also you had two or three horses, however that’s all modified.

MW: How do you attempt to get essentially the most out of your little chain you can?

SD: Take the very best care of the horses and house owners, and be lifelike and put the horses in good positions. I at all times say the horses run, so in the event that they’re pleased, all of us need to be. But when the horses are usually not pleased, then nobody else could be. You must ensure you get them in good positions the place you may win and compete. It makes folks extra fascinating and it additionally covers the prices. I don’t assume anybody has the phantasm of profitable the lottery within the horse enterprise; they’re attempting to get pleasure from the entire expertise. It is extremely troublesome to win races, so if you do, you can be more than happy.

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MW: Do you discover “little man” simpler to win in a single energy than one other? And, if that’s the case, is there a means to assist the “little man” regardless of the place they’re racing?

SD: Certain. At Keeneland and Churchill, it was arduous for a small outfit to win. It is extremely aggressive and troublesome. I have no idea. The principle factor is to attempt to maintain the intermediate and decrease house owners within the recreation. Plenty of what occurs is that prices are likely to go up. Given the present scenario together with the inflation and the HISA charges they’ll move on to the proprietor, it’s arduous to interrupt even. I believe the primary to go would be the individuals who don’t have a spendable leisure greenback. Higher wallets at smaller tracks will assist, and higher wallets all over the place will assist, nevertheless it’s arduous to win them.

I fear about the price of working many out. There’s a breaking level, and I believe in some unspecified time in the future we’re all going to hit that wall and say that’s sufficient. As for us, we’re getting outdated. I’m 65, and it’s a younger man’s sport. It has modified dramatically and can change much more dramatically over the following 5 years. There will probably be some contraction with rails, horses and trainers… typically, there will probably be a broad contraction within the business.

Aristomaches Win 2019 Allowance at Indiana Grand
Picture: Coady Images

Aristomaches wins Indiana Grand in 2 video games[image url=”//cms-images.bloodhorse.com/i/bloodhorse-images/2019/06/f03288cca54e47d8b08b64ac670cf39b.jpg?preset=medium” alt=”Aristomaches wins 2019 Allowance at Indiana Grand” credit=”Coady Photography”]Alese Dunn’s Aristomaches Wins Indiana Grand

MW: What do you are expecting for the long run for you and Allese?

SD: I have no idea. It’s a bit troublesome. We’ve got some good ponies in the mean time and a few we’re going to promote in September, however I don’t see us having 20, 25 horses anymore. The sport is altering, we’re getting outdated and we’re working out of consumers. I assume we lower issues down and needed to make it simpler to handle. We simply need to benefit from the horses and our time collectively. We’re empty nesters. It was simply Allese and me and our cat, Binky.