Written by: Jennifer Morrison
Glen Todd is surely one of the busiest people in horse racing.
Glen Todd wears hats as an owner, breeder, trainer, promoter and teletheatre owner in British Columbia. For almost half a century, Todd has raced horses at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse, the same track where his parents met in 1939.
His horses have won hundreds of races and millions of dollars in purses and in 2011, Todd and racing partner Patrick Kinsella, were co-winners of the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Owners in Canada along with Donver Stable. The following year, on his own, Todd’s horses won 34 stakes.
His Derby Bar & Grill teletheatre, which he built in his business complex, is a popular restaurant that plays host to racing seminars. His daily newsletter of the same name has grown exponentially in recent years.
Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company continues to produce top horses that race throughout the continent. He was also instrumental in bringing jockey Mario Gutierrez from Mexico to North America to ride and in that rider’s first few years, he partnered Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another.
A member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame for his work in softball, Todd is a customs broker and also represents thoroughbreds on the B.C. Horse Racing Industry Management Committee. He spoke with Canadian Thoroughbred, about his passion for racing and his busy schedule:
Glen, it is 9 o’clock in the morning in Vancouver and you are at your barn at Hastings where you have 40 horses in training. Your day starts long before that doesn’t it?
I get up at 3 a.m. to work on the newsletter. We have over 2,700 subscribers who get the email every day. If I miss one day the phone never stops ringing! Then I head to the track to train the horses and then back to track if we are racing. I usually go to bed at 11 p.m.
Your North American Thoroughbred Horse Company has raced horses in syndicates, with partners and on its own and the results speak volumes. The list of graded stakes winners include Commander, Holy Nova, Taylor Said, Sir Gallovic and B.C. Derby winner Sorryaboutnothing. Tell us about some of the big horses and big years to this point.
We have won 140 stakes races over the years. In 2011, our horse Classic Alley Kat was nominated for Canada’s Champion Female Sprinter. That year we won the Sovereign Award for Outstanding Owner (in a tie with Donver Stable). The year 2012 was really big for me. I won 34 stakes races, tied with (American owner) John Oxley for stakes wins that year. We had Taylor Said who won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile that year, Commander, Taylors Deal, Devil in Disguise and Ellens Dancer.
You began training your own horses two years ago, what made you decide to do that?
Well, I have trained before (mid 1970s to 1985), but our long-time trainer Troy Taylor retired. We are doing pretty good this year at 26 per cent. Vintage Man is one of our stars. He’s a stakes-placed 2-year-old (by Todd’s own stallion, Texas Wildcatter, a graded stakes placed son of Monarchos).
Boundary Bay has been doing well and he was second in the Washington Cup Sophomore Stakes at Emerald Downs in August.
You purchase horses at yearling sales and breed your own also. Where are your mares located?
I lease a 50-acre farm in Langley that has four staff and two years ago I bought into December Farms in Lexington, KY. The farm is owned by another Canadian, Nicole Hammond. I have about 40 mares, yearlings and weanlings there. My horses are looked after by my daughter Shelley Bancroft who goes back and forth from Canada to Kentucky.
Tell me about some of your other businesses.
I built the Derby Bar & Grill in my business complex. It’s a nice restaurant and teletheatre and we put on handicapping seminars. I began the email newsletter nine years ago because there was nothing out there about the local racing. Nobody knew what was going on. I felt there was a need for some daily news.
How do you view the state of racing in B.C. and elsewhere?
We need to get more breeders and owners in racing. I feel we lost a few generations when the slots came into racetracks. A lot of the (breeders) here are older. I think putting together syndications for owners is a good way to go. We need to find a way to get younger people into breeding horses.
Your horses now race in Seattle, California, Arizona. You even claimed one at Churchill Downs in Kentucky recently. How do you keep up with all that action?
I have a lot of good people working for me. I can’t get enough of racing I love it so much. Winning races never gets old.