|Busher, 1945 Horse of the Year|
Joe’s maternal step grandfather Alva Troutt was a trainer, as were Alva’s two brothers, Noble and Clyde. Joe’s grandmother, Edith, was a cook at the track kitchen. Joe’s father worked for a time in the mail room at the Fair Grounds, and his uncles, Bob and Vern, worked as grooms and exercise boys for Marion Van Berg and Warren Wright. Joe’s childhood memories include hearing the mid-stretch call of the races from his grandparents’ porch; climbing the patrol tour with his Grandpa Troutt to watch the races; visiting his grandmother in the track kitchen; meeting jockeys and trainers;
and hanging out in the stables. He read the racing results in the paper every day. He watched every race he could on television. His mother, who worked at a book store, often brought him The Blood Horse and the Daily Racing Form to read.
Despite the deep family involvement in racing, however, none of his relatives was keen to see young Joe follow in their footsteps. “They all did everything they could do to keep me away from a career at the track,” says Joe.
The first in his family to finish high school and to attend college, Joe studied accounting at Southeastern Louisiana University and graduated in 1970. He worked as a CPA in New Orleans, was chief financial officer for three Louisiana hospitals, and then was general manager for New Orleans
But racing was still in his blood. So throughout the 1980s and 1990s, he had racehorses that ran mostly in Louisiana at the Fair Grounds, Jefferson Downs, Evangeline Downs and Delta Downs. He won a few and lost a lot. Eventually, when he couldn’t take the heart break and the expenses any more, he got out of the business. He and his wife moved to Tennessee leaving Thoroughbreds and the racetrack behind.
They bought 45 acres and named it Buscher Ranch. They built a barn, and put up fencing. They got some pleasure horses, none of them Thoroughbreds. Until one day, when Joe heard about the need for loving forever homes for off track Thoroughbreds. This got his blood racing again. He came to the MMSC shortly thereafter, looking for a Thoroughbred to care for and love.
|Dandy's first ride at the MMSC|
Joe came to the MMSC besotted with Studio Time, a gray gelding we had had on campus for awhile. But I told him that before he stepped in the barn, he might want to start with baby books to get some background on the horses that we had available that might suit him.
“Will you look at this!!!” he exclaimed as he studied Dandy’s Noble’s book. “Storm Cat! Blushing Groom! Raise A Native! Roberto! Bold Ruler! Nijinsky II! Majestic Prince! This mare is ROYALLY bred!”
|Dandy's Noble at 1 week old|
Recently I checked in with Joe to see how Dandy and he were faring in this wretched weather we have all been battling. Dandy is doing better than Joe. She gets brought in at night to a clean stall and is turned out every morning, is fed twice a day, gets blanketed, pampered and tons of love. Joe, on the other hand, is weary of breaking ice, mucking stalls, having numb fingers, cold toes, and aching older joints.
He doesn’t have to do this. With eight other pleasure horses, he certainly didn’t have to take on another horse, and a Thoroughbred to boot!
|Joe and Dandy|
Ah yes! Joe has racing in his blood!