By Neto Baptiste
Having migrated to Canada in 2015 as a horse groomer, Antiguan Lionel “Guy” Joseph had just one goal – to become a trainer in the Canadian Derby.
Six years on and a cadre of 20-plus horses under his tutelage, Joseph had two thoroughbreds – Buck Wild and Papa Chulo – compete in Canada’s premier horse racing event held on Sunday.
Buck Wild was his best finisher, ending the race in the seventh position while Papa Chulo finished 10th from amongst 11 competitors after being held back in the gates.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show from Canada, Joseph expressed satisfaction in the performance of his horses despite having not won the grand prize.
“That race is for $125,000 and I put two horses in because I bred one myself and raised him from a baby and his name is Buck West and that horse, I am proud of him because he took me to the derby you know,” he said.
The first black trainer to qualify horses for the Canadian Derby, Joseph said he worked extremely hard to get his horses into the meet after having to get past several trials.
“They have the derby trial and I’ve been at the derby trial and Buck West has six starts and in the first start he ran fifth and then he ran second, second, second and third and then fourth in the derby trial so he was qualified for the derby. He went through the allowance race and won by five and three-quarters of a length,” he said.
Asked where he goes from here, Joseph, who is the father of jockey Kwame Joseph, said his ultimate goal is the Kentucky Derby.
“Well, the ultimate for Guy is to reach to the Kentucky Derby and that is my plan even if get there before the Most High takes me and even if my horse runs dead last, I just want to reach the Kentucky Derby and that’s my whole future plans.
“It was my plan when I first got to Canada to go to the Canadian Derby and I was trying for the first five years to get to the derby and I couldn’t get there. I said to them here in Canada that I think I can breed my own horse to get to the derby and I did it,” the trainer said.
Barbadian jockey Antonio Whitehall piloted Buck Wild while Jamaican rider Andre Martin guided Papa Chulo.