Indiana University graduate Tim Glyshaw didn’t find his two-year stint as a school teacher to be fulfilling, so he signed up for Taylor Made Farms’ internship program… and the rest, as they say, is history.
Glyshaw, 48, finished the program in the mid-1990s and quickly found work at the track — first as a hot-walker, then as a groom. Before long, he was urged to take his assistant trainer’s test. Working under the tutelage of the late trainer Robert Holthus, Glyshaw was instrumental in helping to train Arkansas Derby winner Lawyer Ron when the chestnut colt was a two-year-old.
Starting on his own in 2004, Glyshaw has made great strides — this year being his fifth consecutive breaking the $1 million mark in purse money won, which was also highlighted by his first graded stakes win. Glyshaw-trained Bullards Alley won the Grade III Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs in May, as the Flower Alley gelding won in his second graded stakes try.
Known as “Team Glyshaw,” the Louisville-based training outfit is headed by Glyshaw, but his main assistant is his wife, Natalie. The two spend most of their year at Churchill Downs, but have barns at Indiana Grand and Fair Grounds in New Orleans, where they race in the winter.
Managing over two dozen horses based at Churchill in 2016, with another eight stabled at Indiana Grand, Glyshaw is looking forward to 2017.
“An optimal number of horses for us is between forty and fifty,” said Glyshaw on a beautiful sunny day from inside the ship-in barn at Keeneland last month.
“During the winter, thirty to thirty-five horses is fine for us because we only go to the Fair Grounds,” explained Glyshaw. “If we pick up some nice horses that can run in allowance and maiden special weight races, I would send a small string to Oaklawn, because I love Oaklawn.”
Glyshaw has an affinity for the horse racing fans of Hot Springs, Arkansas, because they know their horse racing. However, he acknowledges that running claiming-level horses there is difficult.
“The downfall for us at Oaklawn is that we can go there with fifteen horses and come back with six. From a five thousand to a forty thousand dollar race, if you’re horse is in the first four on the morning line, they’re gone.”
Team Glyshaw’s 2017 is, in fact, looking promising, as he has a handful of current two-year-olds that are looking to break into racing over the winter. He also has Bucchero, a multiple stakes winner who, in October, won the To Much Coffee Stakes at Indiana Grand for the second year in a row. Like Bullards Alley, Bucchero has amassed over $380k in career earnings.
Although developing two-year-olds isn’t something that Glyshaw does a lot of these days, he has carved-out a niche for himself.
“Over the years, our calling card has been what we have done with what people would call ‘cheaper horses’,” explains Glyshaw.
For example, Tiban was claimed for owner Joey Merritt for $7,500 in May of 2012 at Churchill Downs. The gelding would race 14 times for Glyshaw, winning six times, including the $100k Claiming Crown Express Stakes at Gulfstream in December of the same year. Tiban earned over $157k in purse money for Merritt.
Another horse, Ready’s Rocket, was claimed in 2008, amassed over $230k in earnings, and holds the all-time record for number of races won at Churchill Downs (11).
Still another, Unreachable Star, was given to his owner for free, and is the all-time leading money-winner among Indiana-breds ($784,595).
Although he knows that he’s been pigeonholed as a “claiming trainer,” Glyshaw doesn’t mind the constant travel, making the trip from Indiana to Churchill Downs or Keeneland many times per week.
“Sometimes prospective owners hear of our day rate and decide we can’t do as good of a job as someone charging $100, $110 per day and that’s not true,” says Glyshaw.
He feels like he needs to physically be at as many of his horses’ races as he possibly can. There are a lot of trainers who have no problem simply watching their horses run on TV, but Glyshaw isn’t one of them.
“I feel it’s my job to be there because the owners pay me to be there,” he explains. “Worst case scenario, I have to be there if something happens to my horse. But I want to be there to talk to the jock after the race to see what happened.”
With the Fair Grounds winter meet starting this weekend, Team Glyshaw will hit the ground running, looking to surpass his 2013 high-water mark of $1,685,875 in earnings in 2017. With Bullard’s Alley, Bucchero, and his soon-to-be-three-year-olds in tow, there’s a pretty good chance that Team Glyshaw will do exactly that.