Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Tuesday, May 3

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/03/2011 #


Gennadi Dorochenko, born in the equine-oriented outskirts of Krasnodar, Russia, has worked with horses all his life and spent 33 years as a jockey in addition to training and owning Thoroughbreds most of those years.

In fact, as a youngster, Dorochenko worked for the noted Russian horseman Nikolai Nasibov, who rode Russia’s representative Aniline to a runner-up and a third-place finish in two renewals of Laurel Race Course’s Washington D. C. International Stakes during the mid 1960s.

But that was then and this is now, and now Dorochenko, who is making his home in Paris, Kentucky, has come to Arlington Park with 30 horses in stalls allotted by Arlington’s racing secretary Chris Polzin.

“I have come here because of Chris Polzin,” said Dorochenko, speaking on the Arlington apron during training hours Tuesday morning.  “He is a very nice person and a very good horseman, and he has really helped me by giving me stalls here.  I want to try and make it here at this racetrack because it’s such a major race course, but starting off is very tough and everything is very tough right now.  But that’s all right.  Life is all about trying.”

Dorochenko has been a steadily increasing presence at the Keeneland sales in recent years while operating as Raut LLC, and last September Raut’s biggest purchase (at $250,000) was a Mr. Greeley filly from the family of Starlight Stable et al’s Ashado, whose seven Grade I victories included one in the 2004 Kentucky Oaks.

Dorochenko is also often a partner with Vladimir Kazakov – a prominent Russian buyer at Keeneland who made the most expensive purchase of any Russian buyer at the 2009 Keeneland September sale when he paid $80,000 for a Dynaformer colt that was a half-brother to that year’s Florida Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up Dunkirk, owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

“We are friends as well as partners,” the 52-year-old Dorochenko said of his relationship with Kazakov.  “He is a former jockey, too, but he is a little younger than me.  He will be here at Arlington for Opening Day on Friday.”

Many of Dorochenko and Kazikov’s Keeneland purchases have returned to race at the central Kentucky oval, but only after taking an unprecedented circuitous route through racecourses in Poland or Russia.

Kazakov’s Ghostzapper sophomore Mr. Roessink, for instance, now trained by Dorochenko, made his first two starts over the grass at the Hipodrom Sopot in Warsaw, Poland, last year.  Then he reappeared to finish fourth in a maiden sprint over the Polytrack at Turfway March 18 and was most recently seventh over the Polytrack at Keeneland April 17.

“A lot of the horses I bought at Keeneland have raced in Poland or Russia,” Dorochenko said.  “Horses are like people, they are all different.  We are trying to figure out where they fit best.  Some may like the Polytrack here, some may not.  Some may like the grass course here. It certainly looks like a beautiful course.  We’ll just keep trying different things with different horses until we figure out exactly where they belong.  In fact, I sent two of my younger horses to Belmont Park for races up there this week to see if they fit up there.

“I want to see how things go for us for the next few weeks,” Dorochenko concluded.  “Hopefully, people will want to learn more about us then.”