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Arlington: Home Sweet Home
By: Leo Rodriguez, Owner, Sugar Daddy Stables
Despite starting up Sugar Daddy Stables back in 2007, it’s still easy to see owning my horses as more of a hobby than a job. On a full-time basis, I work at Chicago Pallet Service, which my family owns. We have two locations, and I run the business with my five siblings. I wish I could be at Arlington every race day, but for now I just try to attend for all my races and some of the morning work days – especially for the horses of mine that I want to see work.
Back when I was about ten years old, my uncles hot-walked, and I would go in the summer to hang out with them and watch as they usually gambled what they earned each day! My interest in the sport continued to grow, and when I was about 18, I owned my first horse. My cousin was working as an exercise rider for Bettye Gabriel while I galloped for her, and when I learned she was getting rid of an injured filly, I paid for her surgery and then she was mine. I definitely started off pretty green, but it’s true what they say – you learn to listen to the horse. You learn everything and quickly, things like anatomy, symptoms and how your horses are talking to you.
Now, I own 34 total horses, 15 of which are at Arlington. My first horse ran at Arlington in 2007, and I came here for a full meet in 2008. Being a Chicago native, my memories of Arlington are sweet. I won my first race ever here with Calvary, and since then, I’ve had a lot of success here at Arlington. But all that aside, there’s just something special about the environment at Arlington. To me, Arlington is home.