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Shenofsky Trades Metal Horsepower for Live Horsepower

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By Professor M. Scott McMannis

“The Professor” M. Scott McMannis is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on handicapping, and he can teach you how to how to pick more winners and avoid more losers. His 8-week series of Saturday morning classes, held in Hawthorne’s Handicapping and Business Center on the third floor of the grandstand, begins with the basics, and by the end of the series, you will be out-handicapping your competition.

Shenofsky Trades Metal Horsepower for Live Horsepower

Unlike many Thoroughbred trainers, Ron Shenofsky did not grow up destined to be a trainer. In fact, his first foray into the world of Thoroughbreds came with a purchase of a broodmare in 1973 when he was 27 years old.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The 59-year-old Shenofsky was born a Buckeye and raised in Toledo, Ohio. Some would say that makes him the third most recognizable Toledoite after cross-dressing Jamie Farr of M.A.S.H fame and bad boy Bill Lambier of Notre Dame and Detroit Pistons fame.

After graduating from high school, Shenofsky entered the automobile business in 1965. He spent 30 years in the industry, the second 15 years for himself, wholesaling used cars. It was a business he could manage and run from his home office, and a business that allowed him some spare time for other pursuits.

While continuing his wheeling and dealing of four-tired horsepower, Shenofsky maintained a growing interest in four-legged horsepower of the living, breathing, flesh-and-blood type. Thus, the aforementioned purchase of a broodmare in 1973.

"One thing led to another," Shenofsky continued. "In 1975 I bought my first Thoroughbred racehorse and continued to dabble in Thoroughbred racing. In 1980 I took my trainer's test in Kentucky and earned my license."

Not one to rush into things, Shenofsky maintained his auto wholesaling business and trained, part-time, on the side.

"It was 1995 when I finally decided to make the switch to full-time Thoroughbred training." Shenofsky campaigned on the old Michigan-Ohio circuit, mainly going back and forth between the nowdefunct Detroit Race Course and Cleveland's Thistledown Racetrack. He was basically running "off the farm" since he had a spread near Waterville, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo. In 1999 he was second in the standings at Thistledown with 51 wins followed by a strong 50 seconds. Not bad for a stable with 25 horses.

"I would ship to Chicago from Ohio and had success doing so," Shenofsky continued. "So, in 2001, I decided to try the Chicago circuit as my base of operations. The racing is essentially year-'round here and the purses are better than what I was running for."

The success continued, to the point where Shenofsky moved here permanently. "We are totally settled in with a home in Lisle," explained Shenofsky.

"My wife of 40 years, Pat, is a registered nurse and works at Edwards Hospital in Naperville. Our three daughters and their families, which include seven grandchildren, are regular visitors."

Shenofsky now has six clients with 27 horses under his stewardship. Last fall he added St. Louisbased William Stiritz as an owner.

"Mr. Stiritz has a lot of horses," explained Shenofsky. "I have 11 head here for him now, and he has a number with Terry Gestes, his trainer at Fairmount. We will send horses back and forth between here and Fairmount, depending on where they fit best."

Is Shenofsky high on any particular horse or horses in his barn? "I would have to say my big horses at this time are the filly Greta Susanna, and WW Kooky Monster. Both have the potential to develop into something special."

You heard it here first, from a patient Buckeye who knows his horsepower.

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