Successful female trainer Jenine Sahadi has retired from racing.
Sahadi, 48, dissolved her stable at the close of the Del Mar meet in September and is in the process of relocating to the San Diego area.
“It is bittersweet, but hopefully I’ll be starting something new,” Sahadi told The Blood-Horse. “Right now I’m just kind of resting and catching up on my sleep. It’s a very demanding profession that’s 365 days a year. I felt like it was the right time (to retire)."
Sahadi made history when The Deputy captured the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in 2000, making her the first woman trainer to ever saddle a winner of that race. The colt finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Prior to that, Sahadi saddled back-to-back winners of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint—in 1996 with Lit de Justice, and in 1997 with Elmhurst.
A trainer for 18 years, Sahadi won 441 races and closed her career with purse earnings of $26,606,419.
“I leave proud of the fact I handled myself in an honest manner with no (drug) positives," said Sahadi. It’s frustrating, because you try to conduct yourself in the best possible manner and do the right thing, but it’s hard to be competitive when you don’t have the numbers. But I’m proud of the fact I leave with an impeccable record, I don’t owe anyone a penny, and I always handled myself well and took the best possible care of my horses.”
Sahadi, who also served two terms as the president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, plans to remain involved in racing through the Edwin J. Gregon Foundation, which provides collegiate scholarship programs for the children of backstretch workers.
Sahadi always credited her employees for her triumphs and has helped her former workers find new occupations. “My main preoccupation was taking care of my help that has been with me 16-18 years,” said Sahadi. “They are all placed in jobs, which is wonderful.”
A native of Los Angeles, Sahadi worked in the marketing and publicity departments of Hollywood Park for seven years following her graduation from the University of Southern California.
She worked as an assistant to veteran trainer Julio Canani from 1991 to 1993, at which time she took out her trainer's license. Sahadi won her first race on May 2, 1993 at Hollywood Park with La Sarcelle. One of her best horses over the years was Fastness, who fought soundess issues, but won five graded stakes, including the grade I Eddie Read Handicap twice.
In a Final Turn article that appeared in The Blood-Horse in 2002, Sahadi wrote, “I am indebted to my staff for my successes. My assistants, grooms, exercise riders, and hot walkers are the greatest part of my morning. It is impossible to succeed in anything without the help of many.”