Hello there, and welcome to our site, feel free to “nose around”, and write me if you have any questions!
First there was this horse thing…
I’m a 45 year veteran of the Harness Racing sport, starting out like many kids, working at a barn in exchange for free board, grooming thoroughbreds at Laurel Racecourse in the 70’s, then shifting over to Standardbred trotters and pacers at Rosecroft Raceway, a totally different world, which became our “second home.”
After years of wonderful mentoring by old school trainers like Morris Skinner, Basil Hough, and Wayne Smullin, I became second trainer which lasted for 12 years for Maryland trainer of the year George Warthen through the 80’s…racing Ohio horse of the year Majestic Falcon for him, then finally at long last becoming a trainer in my own right, training many winners, such as Maryland champion Sarah’s Double, Virginia Stakes winners and Meadowlands hard hitter Sea Salt. I operated a powerful local stable from Rosecroft and neighboring track Freestate Raceway near Savage, Maryland from the 80’s through 2010, winning by developing, testing and implementing my own natural remedies, herbal formulas, and juicing techniques. We used plants such as this little one here.
Lisi stable goes to Rockingham Park: We had a great time for three summers and made many New England friends
Right: photo below: Rockingham Amatuer Club left to right:
- Judge Gene Cossette (sadly deceased
- Diane Helen
- Dustin Ingraham
- Nancy Lisi
- Shoukry Elmarey
- Tim Lancaster
- assistant race secretary Joe Auger
~In June of 2010, after appearing in court to defend the Rosecroft Raceway stable area, all trainers were evicted from the track and the barns were demolished in 2012. Like many DMV trainers, we had few options near our homes to train. After a two-year attempt to race a couple from nearby farms, we thought we had necessarily retired from harness racing. Upon the closure of the Rosecroft backstretch, our clients went elsewhere, and we gave away the few that we owned. Our last act at Rosecroft was to save 110 barn cats from the bulldozers. (I’ll save that story for a blog post)
It was the end of the road…those horses were burned into my blood, my brain, my very being…their touch, the sounds they made every day, even their smell…giving them up left this indescribable empty spot. The evicted horsemen put out of business were told to “move on”, “adapt”… some did, some didn’t, some died like Johnny Lee, looking blankly out into the woods from the lawns of his apartment complex. I was capable, but the empty spot was there, it gnaws away inside every ex-horseman, don’t let the smile fool you.
~God must have known this, and a twisted path of events took us down a strange unforeseeable road. We had given away a mare we had raised, born the year we were evicted from Rosecroft, fittingly my Facebook friend Richard Lippman had named her Rosecroft Survivor, but we had to “rescue her back” ~in foal😳~ from unforeseen circumstances. so we ended up with both her and her two colts going to our kindly trainers in Delaware. Her son Rocky Bomber named after my foster father Harold J aka “Rocky” Racherbaumer, has earnings over $80,000 from the Virginia and Delaware stake races, and has completely supported his mom and his little brother. It’s been great to watch them race and we connected with the racing world once again, instead of on the outside looking in.
Meanwhile, there was this music thing…
Before, at Rosecroft, when the barn chores were done, we often held enjoyable jam sessions in the paddock, begun by fellow horseman and mandolinist buddy “Swede” Smith, and our friends we had met at local jams like CABOMA, FOB and the memorable jams at the Good Deale Shop in Maryland. We learned, laughed and played a tremendous variety of music.
What morphed from those racetrack jam sessions was sort of a musical “posse”, if you will…or more like a “cornucopia” of musical friends. Forming bands of widely varying genres, we’ve knocked around town, out of town, and even Ireland. From the flooded streets of Old Town Alexandria to big stages, from empty clubs to sold out auditoriums. We created and sold recordings and did the things musicians love to do. Sing, play their instruments and entertain for appreciative, admiring, and applauding audiences, not very far removed from the early days of racing in front of big crowds, come to think of it, both forms of entertainment.
I help them get gigs and accompany where required. Here’s a list of the bands.
And there’s the Artwork thing.
Having been taught to draw and paint by my multi talented coal miner Uncle, Pete Bartolovich, and privately mentored in mixed media, and all fine arts by Anne Bradley, I made a side living doing mostly animal portraiture. My renderings of racehorses, pets, and wildlife hung in owners’ living rooms, racetracks and online. I signed very few of them, and will never track them all down. Here’s some of my artwork here.
The Covid Thing
It must have been serendipity that Robert Swain bought a property before Covid hit, when all the bars, auditoriums and venues were shutting their doors, we were able to livestream and conduct our socially distant parties, charity jams and concerts alongside the beautiful Dogue Creek. We call it Dogue Cottage check it out!
We hope you enjoy looking around this site, feel free to shoot a letter if you’re more curious!
All my posts are solely my personal opinions and not those of any organization, employer, or associations.