“I have always loved racing,” said Kegel. “I trained for a while, and that didn’t work out. I had a few good years, but it got lean and then I gravitated to what I liked most, which was the horse.”
Although Kegel has found talented racehorses for more than one client, the level of success he has had in recent years with Charles Laloggia, a long-time friend, is hard to fathom.
“I had claiming horses at Finger Lakes for quite a long time, but I had never ventured into the aspect of the business where I was buying yearlings or 2-year-olds,” said Laloggia. “I always wanted to but I felt as though I would be totally out of my element. I got to the point where I decided I wanted to try it, so I told Tim if he ever found a young horse he thought I should buy to let me know.
“I didn’t hear anything about that for probably a year. A lot of people might have found me something the next day, but that is just not the way Tim is. He knew it had to be the right choice, and I knew he would be that way.”
The horse Kegel found for Laloggia was a Skip Away filly named Fly Away Angel that did not meet her reserve at the 2002 Keeneland yearling sale. They acquired her privately for about $40,000, and she went on to be a stakes winner.
“I wound up selling her for substantially more than I paid for her,” said Laloggia. “That was the beginning of it.”
In 2006, Kegel bought a son of Skip Away for his friend. Named Skip Code, he became a grade III winner and gave Laloggia his first Breeders’ Cup entry when he competed in the 2006 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Last year, Laloggia asked Kegel to focus on fillies, and he wound up with three 2-year-olds. Two of them, Clearly Foxy and Officer Cherrie, became grade III winners, while Lickety Lemon is graded stakes-placed. They have all more than earned back their purchase price.
“It was just luck of the draw, and we ended up with three,” said Kegel. “Charlie sold one for a big price, one he is going to breed, and one is still running. Success always makes your job much more enjoyable. I really just like to see people go on and do well.”
Needless to say, Laloggia was pleased with the results, commenting: “Last year was the most unbelievable thing that ever happened to me. I don’t know what to say about that. He outdid himself.”
But Laloggia is quick to point out the Kegel has had success for more than just him, and that the respect he gets in the Thoroughbred community is well deserved.
“If you are going to be in this business, you have got to have somebody you know you can trust,” he said. “I know Tim has my best interests at heart at all times, and he is that way with everyone. I see how he deals with people and the respect people have for him. There is a reason for it. He has earned that respect because of the way he treats people.”
Another successful horse that caught Kegel’s eye at a juvenile sale is multiple stakes winner Boss Lafitte. Campaigned by Uptown Racing, Boss Lafitte’s graded score came in the April 4 Central Bank Transylvania Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland.
“I’ve had several graded stakes horses this past year, and I wouldn’t be able to pick between any of them,” said Kegel. “I’ve really enjoyed every single one of them.”
Kegel is not the only one in his family involved in the Thoroughbred industry, as his wife, Mary Ellen, works in the racing offices of Churchill Downs and Keeneland. They have three children.
“Like so many things, I never set my sights on my job, it just evolved that way,” said Kegel. “I love what I do. It is a great game. It really and truly is—if people only knew. It has everything involved in it that you would ever need or want.”