It was a typical Saturday morning for trainer Helen Pitts when she left her Finchville, Ky. home at 4:30 to make a nearly 40-minute drive to Churchill Downs after her babysitter arrived to watch her two children, Olivia (7-years-old) and Rylee (4) – a juggling act for the Maryland native, even on Mother’s Day Weekend.
“The most difficult part is finding a babysitter who can get over to our house at 4 o’clock,” Pitts said. “For instance, today is their first tee ball practice at noon. I’ll leave the track around 10 o’clock, drive home and make sure they’re ready to go. Then, take them to practice and leave half-way through to drive back to Churchill and saddle two horses later in the afternoon. Luckily, I have a friend that will be able to pick them up after they’re finished. Right after I saddle the horses, I’ll run back to pick them up.”
Pitts is a multiple Grade I-winning conditioner, most known for training two-time Old Forester Turf Classic (GI) hero Einstein (BRZ).
“I’ve been doing this for many years,” Pitts said. “It’s difficult and tiring but worth every penny. I manage through it most days but it sometimes catches up to me. They love to be out at the racetrack. I think it’s valuable that they help. It’s a little easier on the weekends and when they’re out of school because I’m able to bring them to the track with me. They’ll help out around the barn and they’ll get to runaround with me.”
A winner of 252 races, Pitts has a string of 10 horses in Barn 21.