For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700
This interview took place this past spring, before Covid 19 changed the world. So, I apologize if any of the
details have changed. However, with Todd Warren just scoring his 5,000 career driving victory and approaching 1,000 training
victories, I thought it appropriate that it be published in the waning days of
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
Written by Ron Uchman
It’s common for several members of
one family to work in the same industry. It’s
certainly not uncommon for members of one family to have the same job.
Even in sports-related fields, two or more members of a
family can compete at different levels; play for different teams or have
different jobs in the organization.
It is, however, far more uncommon for members of a family to
compete against each other and even more unlikely for a son to be in direct
competition to his father.
Enter the Warrens.
“My dad did it part time” said Todd Warren. “So, I grew up
around it. My dad had horses with the Finns (family not nationality) and I grew
up around them, when I was five or six. Then he got a couple of his own, and
after he got off work at construction, we would take care of them. Then I got a
job, when I was nine or 10, on weekends, for a trainer who had a big
stable in Martinsville, Illinois. He would ship them down to the fairgrounds to
spend the summer, maybe 20 or 25 of them. I stayed with him for about four year
in the summers and then I actually got a matinee
license, when I was 16. He started letting me drive his horses at the fairs a
bit. One I got my drivers license, he’d ship me off to
every fair in Illinois, with a six-horse gooseneck trailer. That’s
how I got going.
“My dad wanted to do it with me when I got older and he was
retired but he was killed in an accident before that could happen in any big
way. He did own a couple horses that I trained but never to the degree that we
wanted to do it.
“So I went off on my own.
“Until I was in high school,” said Ridge Warren, “I never
showed interest in going to the barn. To me it was either go hang out with your
friends or go to the barn and work. Everyone else was playing so I wanted to go
do that. But, when he had 20 or 30 horses and he was shipping off to go
somewhere, I had to go in and do stuff. I think it was when we went to Sports
Creek Raceway and raced bikes together, just the two of us, that I realized it
was a lot of fun. That’s when I first got the driving
bug. I was 16 years old, the first time I ever even sat in a race bike.
“It was like a spark clicked in him,” Todd chimed in.
“From then on a showed more interest in going to the track
and training and racing,” continued Ridge.
“We had a lot of horses at the time. I moved back to
Illinois when I turned 18, we had been living in Michigan
but Dad was in Illinois after my parents got divorced, and got my qualifying
license and slowly started driving.
Todd added to the story. “When I got married, I moved to
Michigan and stayed there for 20 years. His mom and I kept the horses away from
him and his sister. This wasn’t the life we wanted for
our kids. We wanted them to enjoy high school, go to college, get a career and
so on. Ridge was a baseball player, football and basketball player in high
school and my daughter was in softball and cheerleading. But, on their time off
and on weekends we did need some help around the barn.
“My daughter had no interest in horses. She is an
occupational therapist in Atlanta. She went to school.” They both laughed.
For the record, through September 13, Todd Warren has driven
in 33,198 races, winning 502 of them. He finished in the money another 8,499
times. His drives have earned $26,021,398. As a trainer, Mr. Warren’s horses
have earned $3,227,352, winning 962 times from 3,773 starts, with an additional
1,046 finishes in the money.
Ridge Warren has also had considerable success as both a
driver and a trainer, though it appears that he has been inactive on the
training side of things since 2013. His drives have earned $4,844,458, winning
759 times from 6,808 starts, with another 1,717 finishes in the money. As a
trainer, Ridge sent 166 to the races, winning 35 times and finishing in the
money another 49 and the horses earned over $108,000.
They both started to say that they didn’t
feel any special competitiveness when they were in a race together. Sure.
“When we first started racing together, I would try to watch
for Ridge and see how he was doing,” said Todd, “but often now I don’t even
know he’s in the race. He’s just another driver to me.”
“It was a little different when we were racing at Maywood,”
continued Ridge. “With the smaller oval, there is a lot more passing throughout
the race and we would often say something to each other when we were passing
one another. And yeah, it’s still fun to beat my dad.
When I see him in front of me, there’s nothing better
than going around him and he’s going to know it when I go by.