Richard Rigney’s red silks with three diagonal white hearts across the front and back are synonymous on the racetrack at Churchill Downs. One of the pivotal roles behind Rigney Racing is their trainer, 34-year-old Louisville-native Phil Bauer. The youngest of six children, Bauer graduated from St. Margaret Mary Grade School in 1999 and St. Xavier High School in 2003. Bauer, who is married with two young sons, began training in 2013. Bauer splits his year between his home in Jeffersontown, Ky., New Orleans and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
A: Usually on my days off I love to spend with my wife Ashley and sons Phillip and Lincoln and daughter Caroline. When I’m not spending time with the family, I love to go hunting.
Q: How did you get started into horse racing
A: Growing up, my grandparents had a horse farm and they used to race cheap claimers at River Downs. I loved spendingtime at their farm and going to the races. My sister used to babysit (owner) Richard Klein’s daughter and he got me my first job at the racetrack with (trainer) Steve Margolis. I then went to work for (trainer) Kenny McPeek at Saratoga and went out on my own with Richard in 2013.
Q: What horse (past or present) would have loved to train
A: Rachel Alexandra - she was a monster.
Q: What is your favorite karaoke song?
A: I’ve only sang karaoke once and let’s just say I don’t remember what song I sang. If I had to do it again it would probably be something from Journey.
Q: What is your favorite place to take your family on a day off?
A: I took the kids to Kentucky Down Under the other day and they absolutely loved it.
Q: What is the worse excuse a jockey ever gave you after a poor ride?
A: “Sorry boss, I rode him like a camel.” How am I supposed to get mad at them after saying something that?
Q: What is your favorite cocktail?
A: The best cocktail to have is a celebratory Fireball shot after winning a race.
Q: What is usually on TV when you get home from training?
A: My kids love to watch these wild animal documentaries.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a trainer?
A: Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. There are a lot of highs and a lot of lows in horse racing, especially if you’re atrainer. If you stay even keeled, that will make your job a whole lot easier. Another thing is to appreciate your horses. They are the ones that give you success. Quality horses don’t come around all the time. When you get one in your barn, make sure you appreciate that time.