Sunday, September 18, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 18, 2011 – Trainer Jacob Clabes scored his first career win Sunday when Kirby scored by 6 3/4 lengths in the third race at Turfway Park.
Kirby, a 2-year-old daughter of Closing Argument, was second out of the gate in the 11-horse field but first thereafter, setting all the pace and finishing the six-furlong maiden claiming race in 1:14.14. Victor Lebron was aboard for the milestone win.
Clabes, 35, took out his trainer's license in 2010 after serving as an assistant for three years to his father, longtime Kentucky horseman Gene Clabes. He owned his own business, a sign and engraving company in Florence, from 2002 to 2009 but has long been involved in the Clabes family Thoroughbred bloodstock business, breaking and training youngsters for sales. In his younger years he trained reining horses.
"I grew up around horses," Clabes said. "In fact, I spent a lot of early mornings in the summer on the backside of Turfway Park, when my dad trained horses there."
Clabes currently has five horses at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, all 2-year-olds he owns himself. A few others ship from Steppingstone Farm, the family's property in Paris, Ky. The farm was purchased in 2006.
The Clabes family is well known in Northern Kentucky and in the Kentucky racing industry. Clabes's mother,Judy, was an editor at the Kentucky Post and with Gene has established a new Kentucky news outlet, Kentucky Forward (kyforward.com). In addition to breeding and training Thoroughbreds, Gene Clabes served for several years as equine director of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP).