Retired physician turned racehorse owner and breeder, Jim Chicklo, truly enjoys every aspect of his current horse business.

However, he unexpectedly found himself in the racehorse world later in life.

“I really didn’t have much exposure to horses before I was in my mid-fifties,” Chicklo said. “I was a physician in Pennsylvania at the time and a new emergency room fellow and his wife, Victor Stevens and Valerie Stevens, were telling me they bought a racehorse and they built a farm with a track. So, I went out to see their horses and the training they did.”

It was not long after that, Chicklo, the Stevens and a few other friends went in on their first horse together.

“Valerie went down to Ocala and purchased a horse named Speedy Tweedy and we were able to get in on the tail end of that horse and one of her other horses. King Leatherbury was our first trainer and he really made racing a lot of fun,” Chicklo said.

Later, the Stevens contacted Barclay Tagg.

“This was before he had [Funny Cide] win the Derby, and he bought us a horse at a Maryland sale named Twample that was very successful. We had fun with him for three or four years. But Twample eventually got claimed, I retired, and the group just broke up. The Stevens kept on in the racehorse game, but the rest of us got out and I moved to South Florida after retirement,” Chicklo continued.

Chicklo and his wife lived in South Florda for about four years, but started coming up to Ocala frequently because his wife enjoyed Paso Fino horses.

“We would come up every other weekend. After a while, that drive got tiring and we decided to move to Ocala in 2013,” Chicklo said.

But despite being out of racing for years at this point, the racehorse world once again found him.

“I was at a Paso Fino farm and a [Thoroughbred] happened to be born on that farm. I met the foal when she was one-day old and I bought her from the people that owned her right away. We got to see her grow and she was able to grow up with her mother and her grandmother in the field on a nice farm. I knew I had to get a trainer and to break the horse and teach her how to run. [I] was lucky enough to find two wonderful people, Tony and Elizabeth Everard. Tony actually bought a Funny Cide for a tag and even trained Tiz The Law for Barclay,” Chicklo said.

Chicklo’s fondest memory as a racehorse owner is the day his first broodmare gave birth to her first foal.

“We closely followed Spanish Concert’s pregnancy. I just watched her grow and swell and the anticipation of that and then seeing that new foal—it just was amazing to me. It’s incredible that after two days of age, her foal Spanish Noble was out in the field breezing and just running around.”

Spanish Concert also had a very successful career before becoming a broodmare.

“She ran 31 races, she won eight, was second in ten and came in third six times. She had 24 out of 31 in the money and most of them were firsts and seconds, which was really nice. I retired her early and her last year racing was her best year—she won the Minaret Stakes in Tampa and she set a track record. This year, I also have her filly, Dream Concert, who’s just as good, if not better. She has four wins already in her first year of racing.”

Spanish Noble had early injury when he began training at Gulfstream but came back strong.

“He had an over two-year layoff, came back as a 5-year-old, and won two races this year. They were low level claiming races, but he still won.”

Chicklo also is excited for his Princess Norma, a daughter Khozan.

“I think she will be really a nice horse as well,” Chicklo said proudly.

“I’m a very small person in this profession because I raise the horse. I put my time into training and later I breed the horse. These horses are just amazing and I’m always impressed by their personalities. Each one eats differently, they address you differently and they’re all their own person. When my horse’s race, I take it personally—it’s like having your child in a little league game and when they get hurt, you get hurt. Mine is more of a personal interest besides trying to make a profit.”

“Because of this, I truly appreciate the FTBOA for helping with the prize money for some of these races and give bonuses for Florida-breds. My goal is to win a graded stakes race someday, I’m going to keep trying for that.” Chicklo concluded.

Return to the April 16 issue of Wire to Wire