Some in the racing community believe that 27-year-old trainer Chris Davis is the next up-and-coming superstar trainer in the industry. Well, it didn’t take long for him to saddle his first charge to victory. In his fist start, Davis saddled Uncork the York in a maiden special weight race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on November 27.
Uncork the York came into the race with 12-1 odds and went from last to first in the field of nine horses, winning the 1 1/16-mile turf race under rider James Graham by 3 1/4 lengths. The first horse Davis saddled was My Year Is a Day only 44 days ago; she finished 11th in the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes (gr. IIIT).
“I felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. It was like static,” said Davis. “It’s stressful to win that first one when you only have a couple horses, and you don’t have a lot of shots at it. Every race you run means the world and it was especially great to win for Town and Country, who have been so kind to me. I currently have five horses in training here at Fair Grounds and (Uncork the York) is a nice one. He really improved and is still learning. I’ll look at an allowance next for him and maybe nominate to the Woodchopper, but I won’t throw him to the wolves. He has talent and I’d like to develop him.”
Horses are in the Davis bloodstream. His parents were trainer Liane Davis and assistant starter Hershell Davis.
“Working for mom was key,” said Davis. “She never had a lot of horses, maybe 10 to 20 at a time, and it was all hands-on hard work and dedication. I really learned from her how to make sure they’re happy, sound, healthy and looking good. In her 35 years training, she only has had one catastrophe on the track. That is unheard of.
“Then I started galloping horses for Richard Hazelton, who is a legend and won thousands of races. He was an old school, hard-knocking trainer. I got some more great experience from working for Rusty Hellman and then Wayne Catalano, galloping Animal Kingdom when he had him. To work for Catalano was a dream. He had won so many races as a jockey—which so many people forget—and then went on to double that training.
“I then worked for Pat Byrne and I had the opportunity to gallop Take Charge Indy, who was a really talented animal. Here was a guy who at one point was on top of the world, so he had great stories that taught me a lot about the ups and downs of the game.”
The plan now for Davis, who has big dreams, is a move to Keenland.
“I want to win the (Kentucky) Oaks, (Kentucky) Derby and be in the Hall of Fame, but I know it’s a hard climb,” said Davis. “Right now I am happy for the few horses I have and I will try to win races with them. This game is not for the faint of heart. There are incredible wins and there are mornings making those bad phone calls you don’t want to make, but you get up and do it all over again because you love it.”