PAT WOODS IS LIVING THE DREAM
By Mike Bozich
At a young age, Pat Woods knew that he wanted to be involved in harness racing in some capacity. While most get involved in the business because of family ties, Woods started out at as a fan. "I spent most Saturday nights in the summer running around the grandstand at Kawartha Downs when I was a kid," Woods said. "My neighbor always had a horse or two racing so we would go and watch."
At fifteen years of age, Woods got a job working for George Davey Racing Stables looking after the broodmares, foals, and race horse layups. He went on to groom one of Davey's 3-year-old Sire Stakes contenders named Kendal Christopher.
Woods spent 5 years with Davey before moving on to the breeding side of the business. After one year at Kendal Hills Stud Farm, Woods was hired by Dave Heffering's Tara Hills Stud. During that time, he graduated from the Canadian Horseshoeing School. "I was fortunate enough that David Heffering gave me a leave for 4 months, and time to apprentice after I graduated while working for him," Woods said. "He has always been a supporter of industry people bettering themselves. He was very instrumental in me being where I am today in this industry."
Wood's went on to manage Oak Knoll Stables in Campbellcroft, Ontario for six years before joining Winbak Farm's Ontario location as their Farm Manager. Woods knew he made the right decision after traveling down to the Maryland Farm to meet with Owners Joe and JoAnn Thomson and General Manager Garrett Bell. "I was attracted to want to work for Winbak for a few reasons," Woods explained. "They have bred and raised some of the best horses in the sport like Muscle Hill, Bettors Delight, and Rainbow Blue. They also have one of the best stallion rosters at the Ontario farm. It will give me a chance to be a part of improving racing in North America."
Woods has stayed plenty busy in his new role, especially during the busy sales season. "At the current time, we are very busy prepping the London Select Sale horses. Our days are filled with grooming, standing, cross tying, bathing, and exercising the yearlings," Woods explained. "We have visitors coming to the farm frequently to inspect the yearlings before the sale this time of year. We are also weaning foals and catching up on the maintenance of the farm before we are back in breeding season again." Woods and his staff focus on showcasing the yearling's manners, athleticism, and conformation for the buyer. They also spend a lot of time with hands on work, which include brushing and handling the yearlings to earn their trust.
As far as what the future holds for Woods, it's actually pretty simple. "Enjoy life, spend time with my kids and keep Winbak Farm of Canada running smooth," Woods said. "Larry and Jackie Drysdale left things in great order here. They were such wonderful people to work with. I cherish the friendship that I gained working with them."