Paasches Leave Sport for Oregon Youth Project

Longtime figures with juvenile runners, they trained Stardom Bound in 2008.

(from Del Mar report)

Missing from this summer’s racing season at Del Mar is the husband-and-wife training team of Christopher and Bonnie Paasch. For so long they have been important figures with juvenile runners, in particular with last year's national 2-year-old filly champion Stardom Bound.

The 53-year-old Christopher has been close to leaving the business before, but it happened for real this year. He and Bonnie are preparing to open their 500-acre Oregon property to underprivileged, problem youths and even young people with problem parents. The property is in Gold Beach, Ore., and is tucked away in a spot between the Rogue River and the Pacific Ocean. They already are living in the home they built.

“We’re in a crescent-shaped area that doesn’t usually get the rainy weather they get farther north in Oregon,” Christopher Paasch said. “We’re just about 20 miles north of the California border.”

The duo plans to offer horse activities, music, and wood and metal shop opportunities. “We’re going to try to take kids off the streets; kids that seem to spend a lot of time idly on street corners,” Paasch said. “We’ll give them something to do, something they can take pride in.”

Bonnie, a former jockey, said she already has prospects for her activity, the horse business. Christopher will pursue the music and shop activities. The Paasches already have an outdoor arena built and will be adding an indoor arena and a music studio. Paasch acknowledges that he’s no Paderewski, but he does tinker with the piano, guitar and drums, so he says he’ll be comfortable overseeing the music studio.

He said he and his wife are hoping that what they can offer will turn around troubled youths.

About how they came up with the land, he said it went something like this: “Bonnie saw it in a magazine I didn’t want her to look at because the properties were very expensive. She goes, ‘Oh, Honey, look at this one.’ I say we can’t afford it and she says, ‘Well, let’s go look at it anyway.’ And, of course, the rest is history.”

A native of Rochester, NY, where he was raised, Paasch began training in 1987 in Northern California.

Under Paasch's tutelage, Stardom Bound won three grade I races last year, including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, his only Breeders' Cup win. His first grade I win came with Diplomat Lady in the 2005 Hollywood Starlet. He also trained grade II winners Principle Secret and Conveyor's Angel and grade III winners Collect Call, Roman Dancer and Crowned Dancer.