Trainer enjoys thrill of winning

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Farm Forum

In 1993, Gordy Wilke was hooked.

The Jamestown, N.D., resident attended the horse races at the Brown County Fairgrounds in 1992. He claimed a horse that year, and the following year, won his first race as a horse trainer.

“It was here on this track and then I was hooked,” Wilke said.

Wilke, 54, has been a regular horse owner/trainer at Aberdeen and surrounding tracks since.

“They all treat me well,” Wilke said. “I have been coming back ever since. I get along with everybody.”

He has won over 60 races during his tenure, and said winning races never gets old.

“It is the thrill,” he said. “Every time you win a race, it is like winning your first race. There is always that thrill, or you wouldn’t do it.”

Wilke was a sponge when he first started training horses and learned from other trainers.

“Skip Moody helped me a lot,” Wilke said. “He put shoes on the horse. There was a lot of trainers that helped me. I would pony their horses on race day and then they would always give me tips.”

Now he’s continuing to learn, while also teaching new trainers.

“I probably give advice to new guys coming in,” he said. “You can always learn more. There is always new things.”

He said the most important thing when training a horse is working on the legs.

“If they are sore, back off; leg work is the main thing on a horse — keep them legs fresh,” said Wilke, who is a mail contractor and has a wife, Tammy.

Wilke also takes horses to tracks in Belcourt, N.D., and Fargo, N.D., after Aberdeen. He will also be taking horses to Winnipeg, Canada, and Shakopee, Minn.

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