Gill Plans Return to California; Will Also Have String at Lone Star

Michael Gill, currently the nation's leading owner in both money and races won, said during an HRTV interview Thursday that he intends to have a presence again in California in the near future.

Based on the East Coast, Gill began claiming horses on a large scale during the week of the Breeders' Cup at the 2003 Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita. Gill quickly built a large stable in Southern California under the direction of trainer Nick Canani. However, in May, Gill decided to end his Southern California operation. He said he now is planning to have a stable in Northern California.

When asked if one of his East Coast trainers would relocate to Northern California, he said that was a possibility, but that he also has been in discussions with Tom Roberts as a candidate to handle that division.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Roberts became one of the most successful trainers in the history of racing in the Pacific Northwest. After winning a record 72 races during a 68-day meeting at Playfair in 1978, Roberts subsequently moved on to Longacres where he won a number of titles. He has trained part-time in recent years while balancing his racetrack career with his family life. Roberts currently is operating a stable at Bay Meadows.

Gill also said he plans to have a large stable at Lone Star Park during their upcoming fall Thoroughbred meet that begins Oct. 1. Gamaliel Vazquez probably will train that string. The owner went on to say he intends to again have a large number of horses at Fair Grounds for its 2004-05 meet.

According to Gill, his primary goal is to break the record for most wins by an owner in a year, a feat he hopes to accomplish in 2004. The record is 494 set by Dan Lasatar in 1974. Gill had 339 wins this year through Sept. 8. He was the nation's leading owner in both money ($9,236.530) and victories (425) in 2003.