Standing in the Hastings Park winner’s circle after her three-year-old Krazy Koffee had captured the 83rd running of the $330,000-added British Columbia Derby Sept. 21, trainer Cindy Krasner was a bit stunned. This was the 51-year-old trainer’s first BC Derby.
“One interviewer said to me, ‘What kind of emotion is going through your head right now?’” she related. “I said, ‘You know what? I’m speechless.’ For me, that’s a big deal. I’m not usually speechless. It was joy and amazement and a sense of, ‘Thank God, it’s finally over.’ It was a fantastic feeling.”
The feeling was still there a week and a half later. “That was about as special as you could get,” she said. “Everyone strives to win the Derby. It doesn’t matter where it is. That was my first Derby. I’ve been in before and hit the board, but never won it.”
Krazy Koffee delivered her most meaningful victory, rallying five-wide to defeat Wink at the Girls by a length under Dave Wilson. That extended Krazy Koffee’s winning streak to five and improved his lifetime record to six-for-nine.
He’s always been Krasner’s big horse, literally. “He’s a huge horse,” Krasner said. “He’s almost 17 hands. He adapted well to our bull-ring that we have up here, but it would be really nice to see how he’d handle a one-mile track.”
That could happen next year. Krasner had just one more start penciled in for Krazy Koffee this year: an October 12th stakes showdown with Hastings Park’s top older horse, Spaghetti Mouse, who has won four consecutive stakes. He won the BC Derby in 2005 and has earned nearly $850,000 in his career, making him the top BC-bred earner ever.
Krazy Koffee was the only BC-bred in this year’s Derby, making his victory even sweeter for his owner and breeder, Butch Goertzen, whose stable includes just three other horses, a broodmare, a two-year-old and a weanling. “He’s a farmer who used to raise buffaloes and still raises pigs,” Krasner said.
Goertzen had never attended a BC-Derby previously. Krasner has seen dozens. “I grew up at the racetrack,” she said.
Her dad, William Olsen, was a trainer at Hastings. Her mom, Martha, was a hands-on owner. “We all worked side-by-side throughout my entire life,” Krasner said. Krasner’s older brother, Greg, helped out, too, before choosing another career. “He’s been with a company now for 20 years, a tree nursery,” she said. “He really wasn’t interested in racing.”
But Krasner was, and she got her trainer’s license when she was 16. After working for a couple other trainers, including Jack Diamond, who once owned Hastings Park, Krasner opened her own stable in her early 20s.
Krasner’s husband, Sam, is a recently-retired jockey who finally conceded to back problems which required two surgeries, and is now a groundskeeper at a local golf course. “He rode all over the country for 25 years,” Krasner said. “He was helping me, but the body couldn’t do the job anymore. Golf is his second love.”
Krasner’s first love continues to be horses, and she is having an outstanding year. Her P. S. Good N Ready took the BC Cup Debutante, and Krazy Koffee won two stakes before adding the Derby. Through September 30th, she was tied for sixth in the trainer standings with 23 victories from just 96 starts, an outstanding win percentage of 24.0. She also had 27 seconds and 15 thirds, and her stable has grown to more than 30 horses.
Winning the BC Derby won’t hurt her business.
She’s made occasional incursions into the United States, racing in stakes at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington. She’s unsure if Krazy Koffee will take her to grander, more difficult stakes in the U.S. in 2009. “He’s a little bit of a funny colt,” Krasner said. “He doesn’t take to change quickly. That’s why we didn’t race in all the other Derbies across Canada.”
That’s all right. He got the one that meant the most to his trainer and owner/breeder.