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Meet BT’s Newest Trainer Michelle Nihei

 

Photo taken by: Kris Kruid

Bradley Thoroughbreds is launching a “Girl-Power” driven
racing venture emphasizing the fun and competition of Thoroughbred racing. This group will buy two to three fillies and put them in training with Michelle Nihei. Michelle began training on her own in 2007 after being an exercise rider and assistant to Todd Pletcher for 5 years. During her time with Pletcher she worked with dual G1 winner Scat Daddy, champion English Channel and Graded Stakes Winners Cowtown Cat, Circular Quay, Honey Ryder, and Keyed Entry among others. I spoke to Michelle Nihei this week to give our investors some background on who she is. 

 

Q.   What’s the #1 most played song on your ipod?

A. What’s an ipod? (she laughs) Actually, I don’t own one but I do have an ipad, a verizon smartphone (droid), and music stored on my computer, none of which I have time to listen to.

 

Q.  What hobby’s do you have outside of racing?

A. Sleeping has become my number one favorite hobby that I don’t ever get enough of….

 

Q. Favorite book?

A. I loved the Harry Potter series that I read when I was at Hopkins, eleven years ago that was a time when I had more books in my life.

 

Racing questions:

Q.  Out of all the champions you have ridden and taken care of as an assistant who was your favorite?

A. Hands down, Ashado.

 

 

Q. What was it like training Prince Will I Am to your first G1 victory as a trainer?

A. It is perhaps one of the hardest things to look back on and remember without bias since it certainly had the biggest impact on my training life to this point.  I can only say with all honesty that being able to have him in the barn has been an unparalleled privilege and I am grateful that he is still with us as a racehorse.

 

Q. If you had to pick a favorite track to train on which would it be and why?

A.  My horses all seem to do extremely well training on the surfaces at Palm Meadows in Florida, and the two New York tracks at Saratoga and Belmont.  I would be remiss if I picked one over the other since they each have qualities that make them my favorite

 

Q. What kind of edge do you think it gives you by riding your racehorses instead of leaving it to an exercise rider?

A. I am very fortunate to have really competent exercise riders so I perceive my riding as an aid to help me make decisions about fitness, soundness, talent and the indefinable qualities that make me like or not like how a horse is training.

 

Michelle Nihei breezing on the outside Photo taken by: Kris Kruid

 

Q.Tell us about your training philosophy?

A.  First and foremost, I think of and treat each horse as a unique entity; they eat differently, train differently, have different treatment schedules, different therapeutic needs.  I suppose my overall philosophy could be summed up by the words: “patience and individuality”

 

Q. Being a woman in racing can be tough. What was the biggest stereotype to overcome?

 A.  I think sometimes that the stigma of “women overcoming male-oriented careers” is a little of a stereotype that needs to just not be part of the discussion anymore.  We are different as human beings are different.  Horses and riding are among the few equalizers in the world.  Riding is the only Olympic event that doesn’t use gender categories.  I guess I would rather not be judged one way or the other by whether it’s tougher or easier because I’m female.  I prefer to be judged on merit and talent

 

-Liz Crow