By Ryan Martin
Trainer Bret Calhoun scored his 3,000th career victory on Sunday afternoon at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots when Douglas Scharbauer’s Most Mischief got the best of a blanket photo finish in the eighth race.
Calhoun, 54, became only the 30th Thoroughbred conditioner to win 3,000 races.
“It’s mind boggling,” Calhoun said. “When you compare yourself to everyone else in the game and start looking at 3,000, only 29 other people have done it. There are a lot of trainers that have tried it. There were years that we were rolling and we had 140, 150 plus wins, but things started slowing down. This milestone got in mind while back when we were winning 140, 150 at a time. I was glad to get it done; we’re looking forward to the next thousand.”
The closer the milestone approached, the more anxious Calhoun was to get the job done. Following the win, he was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
“I’m happy and relieved,” Calhoun said. “Once you get to that last one it seems like that gorilla gets on your back and everything goes wrong. I was glad to win it here. I would have been happy to win it anywhere but I had a heavy favorite at Sam Houston (Gold Buyer) last night that got nosed out. It was good to win here.”
The milestone victory was extra special for Calhoun given his long history with owner Douglas Scharbaurer and jockey Miguel Mena.
“I’ve been with the Scharbauers for almost 20 years,” Calhoun said. “Me and Miguel got together in Chicago many years ago when he was just getting started. We put him on a lot of horses for us and he did very well for us way back.”
A native of Dallas, Texas, Calhoun is the son of William “Buddy” Calhoun who was a school teacher and Thoroughbred trainer. The younger Calhoun took out his trainer’s license in 1993 and the following year scored his first career victory with Ramjet at the now defunct Trinity Meadows in Willow Park, Texas. He has campaigned Grade I winners Finley’sluckycharm and Dubai Majesty as well as multiple graded stakes winners Chamberlain Bridge, Mr. Nightlinger and Promise Me Silver.