Noah Abramson

  In an era during which the Sport of Kings is often criticized for its aging fan base and lack of appeal to younger people, there is a youthful presence in Maryland racing who has made himself known as a trainer in a very short period of time.    Noah Abramson, a 26-year-old native of Woodbine, Maryland, turned heads when he won with the first two horses he saddled, both at Laurel Park in June of 2017. And who knows, had it not been for an unfortunate starting gate incident, he might have won with his first three.    Abramson was not new to horses when he decided to take the trainer’s test, but he was new to the Thoroughbred world. Thanks to hard work and an inquisitive nature, he was able to glean information from seasoned horsemen, gain the confidence of an owner/breeder, and start down the path to early success in a game that is not often kind to newcomers. With the help and support of his family, Abramson has embarked on a journey that he realizes will be filled with as much disappointment as glory.       * * * *       Take a stroll down Abramson’s shedrow on the Pimlico backstretch and you’ll see 15 or so Thoroughbreds in thickly bedded stalls behind custom webbings, emblazoned with the stable’s logo. It is not a slap-dash operation but one that appears well-tended and professional, one that you might think is run by a veteran conditioner. Yet at its helm is a young man who has taken what he’s learned from a very successful equestrian career, much in the mold of equestrians-turned-trainers Rodney Jenkins and Michael Matz, and parlayed it into a burgeoning Thoroughbred business.    As a young boy, Abramson grew up with many pets, but there was one animal he really wanted -- a horse.     “I said to my parents when I was about seven, ‘I want to own a horse,’ and they said, ‘Well, you’ll have to learn to ride if you want one,’” recalled Abramson. “So I said I’d give it a try. I went for a lesson and the instructor had an apple tree in her arena. I’m little, and the horse is big, and the horse starts trotting away under the apple tree, and then the branch cut me straight out of the saddle. I fell off, scared to death, and I quit.”     He didn’t start riding again until four years later, this time with much better results. He had a knack for riding, a natural affinity with horses, and pushed himself to see what he could become in the equestrian world. He gave up hanging out with friends to be in a barn every day, sometimes walking there as soon as school dismissed. By the time he was 16, he was competing in shows all across the United States.    “I got my first horse and then my parents (Alan and Holly Abramson) bought me another, a big jumper that they imported from Germany, so I had two horses,” said Abramson, whose instructor for many years was Kim Rachuba Williams, also from Woodbine. “I took them to the McClay finals in New York, and to Devon and Kentucky, going over 4-foot-6 fences.”    It was through his uncle, Darrel Davidson, that Abramson was introduced to Thoroughbred racing.     “I didn’t know a thing about it, but he would take me around with him to Delaware Park, Laurel, Pimlico, and Colonial Downs,” said Abramson. “It was exciting. I was still competing in the show world, but in the morning I’d go to the racetrack and galloped for some trainers. I met people because of my uncle, including Michael Trombetta, Anthony Aguirre, and J.B. Secor. So I was doing show jumping, going to school, and learning at the racetrack. I missed a lot of school, because Thursday through Sunday I was always away show jumping. But my parents were very supportive; they enjoyed the horse environment.”    At 18, Abramson reached a fork in the road. He was at a level where he could go professional and start teaching young hunter/jumper riders, so he drove to nearby farms and gave lessons, as well as working with problem horses. But he was also still galloping at the racetrack, which interested him greatly.     “Did I want to stay in the show world and run a barn and give lessons, or did I want to make the transition to racehorses fully?” he said. “There was more money to be made in the racing industry. With show horses, you’re working for a ribbon. At the racetrack, you’re competing for a lot of money. At the same time, there are some jumper classes where there’s good prize money. It’s just less and less likely, the longer you’re competing, that you’re going to hit that level.     “But money wasn’t what made me switch,” he said. “I just loved racing a whole lot more.”    Abramson’s big break came when he met Carol Ann Kaye, whose Kaygar Farm is located in Woodbine.     “My farm isn’t very far from Noah’s home, and he approached me and wanted to lease it to teach riding,” said Kaye, a popular and successful owner and breeder in Maryland. “I told him I didn’t think he could make much money doing that, and suggested instead he started breaking my yearlings. He helped me instead of teaching. And I liked his experience with basic dressage; he was a very good rider and he was very kind to the horses, and I liked that.”    Kaye said about a year later, some of the yearlings Abramson had broken were close enough to go to the racetrack.     “He said he wanted to give training a try, but I said I wanted to talk to my partners first,” she said. “Eventually they agreed, and I sent him his first horses.”    Trainer Anthony Aguirre met Abramson when Abramson was galloping horses at Laurel Park, and the two began talking.     “One day, out of the blue, Noah called me up and asked if I could help him, he said needed a stall,” said Aguirre. “I said, ‘For you, I have one.’ Then his one horse turned into two, then three,” said Aguirre. “He had a lot to learn, because there are some differences between the way things are done in the show world versus the racetrack. We put polo bandages and vet wrap on differently, we use tongue ties, etc. I told him I’d help the best I could, and he picked things up very quickly. He asked me a million questions. He had the foundation with horses from showing, and the things he needed to learn I could try and help him with.”    Aguirre said that he found Abramson to be a very likable young man.    “He speaks very well when he meets people,” said Aguirre. “The next thing you know, he picked up a horse here and there, and now he’s invested in himself.”     “Nobody had high expectations for me because I’d never trained Thoroughbreds before,” said Abramson. “Next thing you know, a few months later, the horses Carol Kaye sent me are ready to run. Anthony (Aguirre) was teaching me, and just as the horses were ready to make their first starts, I was ready to take my trainer’s test and it just worked out, I got my license.”    On June 16, 2017, Abramson entered his first horse, Kaye’s homebred Hunca Rock, in the last race at Laurel Park. With friends and family in attendance, the young trainer watched with dismay as the 3-year-old gelding flipped in the gate and had to be scratched.    “I was nervous; he was kind of a goofy horse,” said Abramson. “I had a lot of people there, and when he was scratched I was so disappointed. I was discouraged, and worried my owner would think she made a bad decision having me as the trainer.”    As luck would have it, Abramson had a chance to redeem himself two days later when he sent out first-time starter Temple Sky, co-owned by Kaye and Harbortown Stable and bred by Kaye, to a nearly three-length victory in a 5½ furlong maiden claiming event.     “Now I’m even more nervous than ever,” recalled Abramson about his feelings before the race. “I thought, ‘Please, just let her (Temple Sky) break.’ And hopefully she’s not 20 lengths behind the field, I’d really look bad. So she breaks great, lays in the perfect spot, and she wins like it was nothing. It was an awesome day.”    Another awesome day followed when Abramson sent out Davy’s Fancy, a Kaye homebred that was co-owned by Kaye and partners, to win a maiden claiming test on turf June 23. Dismissed at 29-1, the gelded son of Line of David was put up via the disqualification of Piercinator, who bore in on several rivals at the start.    “I saw what can happen at the worst and what can happen at the best, all in a few days,” said Abramson. “I went from the lowest point, to the highest point, and it was extremely exciting.”      “In my opinion,” said Aguirre, “if Hunca Rock hadn’t flipped in the gate, Noah would have won with his first three starters.”    For a young trainer, success certainly breeds success. After his first two starters won, Abramson’s phone started ringing.        * * * *       Abramson concluded 2017 with an impressive record: 17 starters, five winners (29%) and six in-the-money finishes (65%). New horses started joining Abramson’s stable, including those from David and Susan Wantz’s Copperville Farm and Steve Knight’s Harbortown Stable, filling 15 stalls.     With the expansion came two grooms, hotwalkers, and the help of jockey Gilberto R. Delgado, who exercises horses in the morning and rides in the afternoon.    “Noah values my opinion and we work together well as a team,” said Delgado. “We can talk and figure out things about different horses. Noah has natural horse sense -- he understands horses. We’ve been getting lucky together.”    “When I started getting more horses, I had to start buying more feed, bedding, and other expenses, and didn’t quite have the cash flow, so my parents helped with that,” said Abramson. “My father and a friend of his now handle the bills for me, and my father also handles the phone calls. He’s very excited about my barn growing, and he’s putting it out there so I can get new business and keep growing.”    “We’ve always been fully supportive of Noah,” said Alan Abramson, a semi-retired businessman. “Since he was a child, he has talent for whatever he takes on. He’s quiet and soft-spoken, but is well-spoken. He’s also honest and direct. He has an entrepreneurial spirit, and gotten to this point all on his own.”    Alan Abramson said he fields his son’s phone calls and manages his social media so that Noah can concentrate on his horses.    “His dad is a big voice behind the scenes, and he’s done a lot to help him,” said Aguirre.    Perhaps the high point of Abramson’s young career, aside from his first-ever winner, came on Preakness Day this year, May 16th, in front of a very large crowd.    In the second race, a $52,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles, Harbortown Stable’s four-year-old filly Conjecture went off as the even-money favorite in a field reduced to four starters because of the muddy track, and she scampered home with a resounding six-length victory, Delgado in the irons. The Maryland-bred earned a nifty payday of $38,532.    “It felt amazing, and it doesn’t get too much better than to have a winner on Preakness Day,” said Abramson “I was nervous, I was really nervous. But I knew Conjecture was training great and she loves the slop.”    Through the end of June, 2018, Abramson’s career statistics, with a winning rate of 20%, reflect his hard work and his desire to keep learning, to continue honing his craft.    “Every day I get on four to five horses myself, rotating them so I can feel how they all are,” he said. “I watch them all train. My feeding and grooming regimens have transferred over from the show world to the race world.    “I’ve always set goals for myself,” he continued. “I did it when I was show jumping, and now, within the next 10 years, I’d like to have the kind of horses that could run in the Triple Crown races. You have to think outside the box, just keep plugging away at it, that’s what I tell myself, and eventually I hope to have some really talented horses in the barn. I don’t want to just train horses for money to earn a living; I want to train horses to be the best in the sport. That’s a tough goal to reach, but hopefully it will happen. We’ll see.”           
By Linda Dougherty

In an era during which the Sport of Kings is often criticized for its aging fan base and lack of appeal to younger people, there is a youthful presence in Maryland racing who has made himself known as a trainer in a very short period of time.

Noah Abramson, a 26-year-old native of Woodbine, Maryland, turned heads when he won with the first two horses he saddled, both at Laurel Park in June of 2017. And who knows, had it not been for an unfortunate starting gate incident, he might have won with his first three.

Abramson was not new to horses when he decided to take the trainer’s test, but he was new to the Thoroughbred world. Thanks to hard work and an inquisitive nature, he was able to glean information from seasoned horsemen, gain the confidence of an owner/breeder, and start down the path to early success in a game that is not often kind to newcomers. With the help and support of his family, Abramson has embarked on a journey that he realizes will be filled with as much disappointment as glory.

Take a stroll down Abramson’s shedrow on the Pimlico backstretch and you’ll see 15 or so Thoroughbreds in thickly bedded stalls behind custom webbings, emblazoned with the stable’s logo. It is not a slap-dash operation but one that appears well-tended and professional, one that you might think is run by a veteran conditioner. Yet at its helm is a young man who has taken what he’s learned from a very successful equestrian career, much in the mold of equestrians-turned-trainers Rodney Jenkins and Michael Matz, and parlayed it into a burgeoning Thoroughbred business.

As a young boy, Abramson grew up with many pets, but there was one animal he really wanted -- a horse.

“I said to my parents when I was about seven, ‘I want to own a horse,’ and they said, ‘Well, you’ll have to learn to ride if you want one,’” recalled Abramson. “So I said I’d give it a try. I went for a lesson and the instructor had an apple tree in her arena. I’m little, and the horse is big, and the horse starts trotting away under the apple tree, and then the branch cut me straight out of the saddle. I fell off, scared to death, and I quit.”

He didn’t start riding again until four years later, this time with much better results. He had a knack for riding, a natural affinity with horses, and pushed himself to see what he could become in the equestrian world. He gave up hanging out with friends to be in a barn every day, sometimes walking there as soon as school dismissed. By the time he was 16, he was competing in shows all across the United States.

“I got my first horse and then my parents (Alan and Holly Abramson) bought me another, a big jumper that they imported from Germany, so I had two horses,” said Abramson, whose instructor for many years was Kim Rachuba Williams, also from Woodbine. “I took them to the McClay finals in New York, and to Devon and Kentucky, going over 4-foot-6 fences.”

It was through his uncle, Darrel Davidson, that Abramson was introduced to Thoroughbred racing.

TO READ MORE --

BUY THIS ISSUE IN PRINT OR DOWNLOAD -

August - October 2018, issue 49 (PRINT)

$5.95

August - October 2018, issue 49 (DOWNLOAD)

$3.99

Why not subscribe?

Don't miss out and subscribe to receive the next four issues!

Print & Online Subscription

$24.95

Castrating Racehorses: A routine procedure not without its pitfalls

The Biome of the Lung

0