Business of Racing Is a Family Affair

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The couple that trains together remains together. That philosophy has blended lives and careers while reaping dividends at the Los Alamitos harness meet for Tim and Denise Maier and Steve and Vickie Desomer.

Denise Maier and Vickie Desomer are trainers for their stables; Tim Maier and Steve Desomer assist in the mornings and drive at night. Entering the final 16 programs of a 60-night stand, Vickie ranks third in the trainer standings with 28 victories, two in front of Denise, tied for fourth. Tim is tied for seventh in the driver standings with 26 victories, one more than Steve, in ninth.

Tim, 42, and Denise, 36, have been married 15 years and have a schedule that might exhaust others. They live in Cypress and take a trailer to meets in Sacramento while raising two sons, 13 and 11.

"I can't imagine any other way," said Denise, a third-generation horsewoman and daughter of trainer Ray Richmond. "I get up at 5:30, get the kids off to school and get here about 8. Tim is here at 7. We train until noon and are busy until around 2 with other work like blacksmith appointments. I go home for a few hours and get back for the races around 6. The kids come out on weekends but not on school nights. Luckily, my mother, father and sister live close."

The Maiers have a 23-horse stable headed by 3-year-old stakes-winning trotters Makena Star and Lorraine's Crown and hard-hitting claiming pacers Mannart Flashpoint and Rhaeto.

Steve, 60, and Vickie, 50, have been married 10 years and have grown children from previous marriages. "We have a 204-acre farm in Wilton, 32 miles from Sacramento," Steve said. "I stay here the whole meet with about 25 horses, but Vickie goes back to the farm three days every week to oversee 85 horses we have there."

When the Desomers are together at the track most mornings, Steve does most of the jogging while Vickie concentrates on most of the other details: paperwork, organizing sets, dealing with grooms and veterinarians, entering and scheduling.

Harness Racing Notes

Litigation continues in Sacramento in a lawsuit filed by harness interests against quarter horse interests concerning parity of racing dates between the breeds at Los Alamitos. A judge is expected to announce a decision this week on a hearing last Friday that could result in a trial this year. Harness interests are seeking damages and a return to a 50-50 (six months each) division of racing dates last implemented in 1992. The California Horse Racing Board has allocated about three months of harness racing and eight months of quarter-horse racing at Los Alamitos each year from 1993 to '96. . . . Steve Warrington, the leading driver at the 1995 meet and third this year behind Rick Plano and Rick Kuebler with 38 winners, has returned to his Maryland home and will drive at Dover Downs.

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