Churchill Downs’ Interview: With Trainer Michelle Lovell

(Trainer Michelle Lovell / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

(Michelle Lovell / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

In the third part of a weekly series, we get to know jockeys and trainers in their life outside of the racetrack. Each week will feature a different jockey or trainer and today will feature trainer Michelle Lovell.

Lovell began her training career in 2003 following an eight-year stint as a jockey. A native of West Palm Beach, Fla., Lovell has been based at Churchill Downs for 11 years and is typically found training aboard her trusty stable pony Elwood.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

A: I’m really boring. I don’t know what to do on days off so typically if I get some down time I like to sit outside and catch up on all of my busy work that I didn’t get to do at the barn.

Q: What is your go-to order at Starbucks?

A: Almost always it’s a dark roast with the raw sugar.

Q: What is your karaoke song?

A: I’ve never sang karaoke. I like going but I’ve never gotten up to sing. If I had to pick a song it would probably be one from Biggie Smalls or Tupac.

Q: What is your favorite cocktail?

A: I love a good margarita on the rocks. Sometimes, when I’m worried about calories, I’ll just have a cold shot of Patron.

Q: Where is your favorite place to take a vacation?

A: Belize. I’ve been there many times and love it more and more each time.

Q: What’s your favorite order at the Louisville restaurant Vietnam Kitchen?

A: I always order K-11 or, since we go there so often, they named a dish after me called the “Michelle Rolls.”

Q: Who is one horse you wish you could’ve trained?

A: There are so many good horses that I’ve seen throughout my life. The first one that comes to mind would have to be Secretariat.

Q: What is the worst excuse a jockey gave you after a poor ride?

A: “My leg cramped up during the race.”

Q: If you had to give advice to someone who wants to become a trainer, what would it be?

A: You just have to have a lot of persistence, a good work ethic and patience. This job changes all of the time and you’re always learning new things. Keep an open mind and always work hard. I always tell people, “Somedays you’re the chicken and others you’re the feathers.”

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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