Reynolds Wraps Up Her First Double at the Spa

Reynolds Wraps Up Her First Double at the Spa

The horse racing business can certainly be tough for those involved in it. Whether it is as an owner, a trainer or a driver, to succeed in this sport isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult. That sentiment is not lost on trainer Meg Reynolds who has been around horses pretty much her whole life and on Saturday night, enjoyed her best night since taking on the business as a career.

Reynolds is a native of North Bangor, NY, just a few miles from Malone in the northern part of the state. Meg’s dad was in the horse racing business and competed mostly in the County Fair circuit, which is very popular in the North Bangor/Malone area. Meg was always fascinated by race horses in her younger years but her participation with horses was exclusively confined to show horses with whom she would show competitively. Horse racing wasn’t likely going to be a career for Meg who graduated high school and wound up with a cosmetology license and did hair for several years. That was the path she was on when racing came to the forefront for her.

Veteran horseman Harold Smith reached out to Meg and asked about taking a job with him in his barn. Smith, a Malone native, is a longtime trainer who has made a career of competing in the NY State Fair Circuit in addition to racing at pari-mutuel tracks including Saratoga. “I only had a saddle horse background but he gave me a chance,” Reynolds told me. “At first, I just came to the stable and did stalls and fed the horses but then we he had an opening for a groom, he gave me a shot.” And from that point on, Meg was hooked.

Meg spent the next six or seven years as a groom in the business both for Harold Smith, who gave her her start, and then at Vernon Downs for another veteran conditioner George Ducharme. “Those guys were both incredible. Harold really taught me a ton. His thing is breaking babies and I learned so much from him about breaking colts,” Reynolds said. Meg then relocated to Saratoga in 2017 and tried to make it on her own. She found it really tough and wound up going to work for another veteran horseman with a lengthy career of successes.

Reynolds took a job as a groom for Richie Silverman before eventually going back out on her own with a stable of four or five horses. She gives credit to Spa regular Phil Fluet for helping her grow her stable and also promoting a gig that she started doing on the side. Meg learned how to swim horses from another Spa veteran Brian “Boone” Mattison and while located at Majestic Farms at Schuylerville, Reynolds began to swim for different trainers who would send horses to her. Meg says not only was it a good way to make some money but it helped her make connections with a lot of horsemen and in the process, she got to learn quite a bit about horses with injuries, an education that would come in handy.

No Ordinary Man was Reynolds first real “big” purchase when she acquired him at the Harrisburg sale towards the end of 2019. Staten Island-based owners Dan Gagliardi and Stuart Feintuck purchased No Ordinary Man off the heels of a strong ’19 campaign for the pacer. He enjoyed a seven-win debut season out of the Reynolds stable when in ’20, despite the year being condensed due to the pandemic, No Ordinary Man won seven times with most of those victories coming at Saratoga.

The speedy pacer climbed the class ranks and made it all the way up into the Open for a time that year. Unfortunately, No Ordinary Man was bit by the injury bug and had to have surgery which laid him up for well over a half year. He returned to the track with a vengeance though and wound up enjoying a ’22 season that included a 1:52.4 victory on a June night at the Spa. And while this season got off to a bit of a slow start for the now seven year old Reynolds stable veteran, as the weather has heated up so has No Ordinary Man. On Memorial Day weekend, No Ordinary Man put the swoop to the group to record an upset victory when dismissed at odds of 21-1. From there, he stepped up in class where he drew miserable posts but still managed to finish third in back-to-back tries. On Saturday night, No Ordinary Man drew the rail in a $12,300 conditional race while jumping up in class once again.

“The rail doesn’t help him much unfortunately,” Reynolds admitted. “He’s not a horse with a lot of early speed. But he’ll close.” And close he did. No Ordinary Man went over the $200,000 mark in career earnings when he outkicked his rivals home on Saturday night to record his second win in the last four starts.

Although No Ordinary Man got Reynolds’ night off to a big start on Saturday, the evening became a historic one for the 35 year old conditioner when her Ocean Colony went wire-to-wire and completed her first career training double. “It was an incredible night,” Reynolds gleamed. “This business can be tough so to win two in a night for someone like me who has a smaller stable is an accomplishment and was a ton of fun!.” In addition to it being fun, the last month has certainly been lucrative for Reynolds who owns Ocean Colony herself.

The nine year old parlayed a pocket ride to victory on June 4th and followed it up with another score last weekend when he went coast-to-coast to complete her first lifetime double. Matt Athearn piloted both Reynolds trainees to their Saturday scores. “Ocean Colony is special to me. I claimed him from the Meadowlands and he had some issues. He’s had a lot of injuries so I’ve had to rehab him a few times but I never thought I’d have a horse like him. He’s such a class act who is all business on the track. He’s a tough old horse who has his issues but I’ve really worked hard on him and it’s been paying off. He loves his job and is just a solid threat every time he goes out onto the track,” Ocean Colony’s owner/trainer gleamed.

Back-to-back jacks for Ocean Colony and now four wins between he and stablemate No Ordinary Man in less than a month’s time. “I’m definitely enjoying the hot streak right now,” Reynolds admitted. “It’s hard to win races so when things are good, I know to appreciate it because it doesn’t last forever. I’ll enjoy this and then turn the page and get right back to it next week.” Reynolds knows that between No Ordinary Man, Ocean Colony and fellow veteran pacer Chip Walther, who she says is her owners’ favorite, she has an experienced, classy trio of pacers to work with every day.

But Reynolds is no one trick pony either. “I love the older horses with tons of credentials and big hearts like the ones I have now,” she said. “But I’d like to get into babies a bit more too. I just bought one and will try and get him going.” As far as help in her stable, Meg says it’s her and her mom Tammy, who just recently made the move her daughter did six years ago, going from Malone to Saratoga, who run the barn and do all the work. “Things are great right now and I have a lot of people to thank for it. It’s hard work but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than this,” Reynolds said. And off the heels of her first career training double and red-hot late spring stretch, it’s safe to say Megan Reynolds is doing just what she should be doing.

Live harness racing takes place every Saturday during June starting at 5pm and continues with matinees on Sunday and Monday afternoons each week that begin at noon. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!

Saratoga Casino Hotel | Saratoga Springs, New York

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