Trainer Robert Gorham Collects 1,000th Win

Milestone victory comes at Thistledown June 15 with a horse owned by his sister.

Trainer Robert Gorham saddled his 1,000th career winner June 15, sending out Banning to a 6 1/2-length win under Jeffrey Skerrett in the fourth race at Thistledown (VIDEO). 

The gelding is owned by Gorham’s sister, Marion Gorham.

In addition to his 1,000 wins, Gorham, 57,  also has 893 seconds and 826 thirds from 5,888 starters for a 46% in-the-money rate. His stable has earned purses totaling more than $14.1 million. Thirty-eight of his wins have come at Thistledown.

Born in Hastings, Mich., Gorham grew up showing horses and came to the horse industry by way of Michigan State University Veterinary School, where he was graduated in 1977. With Marion he opened a small animal practice in Kalamazoo, Mich., and around 1984 added his primary field of interest, equine reproduction, to serve the sport horse industry. With the advent of Michigan’s state breeding program, the Gorhams established a Thoroughbred farm in Kalamazoo and began their breeding operation.

Their foray into racing picked up steam in 1987 when they entered into a partnership that bought four broodmares in foal and a couple of 2-year-olds. The next step was campaigning horses as an owner, and Gorham’s experiment paid off with multiple graded stakes winner Double Booked, who bankrolled $835,703 in 57 starts. Gorham still owns and tends Double Booked, now 27.

“Owning horses was a full-time job,” said Gorham.  “I got a quick education in the business.”

In 1994 he took out his training license.  Most of his wins came in Michigan for Henry Mast, still a principal client. The two own horses together and are co-breeders on others. Mast owns Mast Thoroughbreds, a farm in Caledonia, Mich., where he keeps broodmares and raises the foals to yearlings before sending them to Gorham to train.

Gorham’s stable stars have included Rockem Sockem, Michigan’s Horse of the Year for 2004 and 2005, and Weatherstorm, Horse of the Year for 2006. He currently has about 100 horses in training, including the 2-year-olds at his training center. He maintains his primary racing string at Thistledown and has another stable at Indiana Downs. Among his current standouts is Mast’s Prince of Time, an Indiana-bred stakes winner.

Racing is a family business for Gorham, who still finds time for his small-animal veterinary practice. His sister owns horses and is his business partner. His mother-in-law owned racehorses and his wife, Erin, bred and raced horses of her own.