Trainer Miguel Fernandez recently moved his stable of horses to Calder Casino & Race Course in the desire to stay in one area year-round with the hopes of bringing new opportunities to him and his barn.
The 34-year-old native of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, spent the winter at Tampa Bay Downs and moved to Calder after having traveled back-and-forth the last few years between Suffolk Downs for the summer and Tampa for the winter.
“I want to live in Florida,” said Fernandez. “I think I can have more of an opportunity here because there are a lot of Hispanic owners. Every trainer needs an opportunity, because if you don’t have horses you can’t train.”
A trainer since 2005, Fernandez has 109 wins from 650 starts, with 97 second-place and 87 third-place finishes. His horses have collectively earned more than $1 million. Many of those wins came when Fernandez trained in Puerto Rico where he also became a multiple graded stakes winning trainer.
“That’s my life, being with the horses, so if I could live here in the barn (I would) because this is my life,” said Fernandez. “I come here at 4 o’clock in the morning and I leave at 7 o’clock in the evening. I’m always in the barn.”
When Fernandez decided to come to the United States to train, he went to New York in 2009 and took some time increasing his knowledge even further about training and training in the United States in particular, prior to heading to Suffolk in 2012.
“I have about 20 years working with the horses,” said Fernandez. “I learned for years and years. I started working with the horses when I was 12 years old, but I don’t have family involved in racing horses.”
As with many kids growing up with a passion for the horse racing industry, Fernandez initially set his sights on another profession within the business prior to deciding to become a trainer.
“When I started working in the racetrack I wanted to be a jockey,” said Fernandez. “Then I saw I couldn’t be a jockey (because of size and weight requirements) so I said ‘Well, I want to be a trainer, and I started to learn about training horses.”
Fernandez presently has five horses at Calder. Aquino Stables’ L P’s Tiger is the first horse entered at Calder for Fernandez since moving his stable to Calder. She finished third in race three on Saturday. The 8-year-old mare now has two third-place finishes from eight starts this year. She closed out her 2013 campaign with back-to-back wins at Tampa.