Training Track Graduate News

WEDGEWOOD wins his first 2020 start for Mike Keogh

June 21st, 2020 by

A homebred for the late Gustav Schickedanz. WEDGEWOOD raced mid-pack and then cleared for the win in an AOC going 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Woodbine. It was his 3rd win lifetime and raised his earnings to $115,705. His Equibase number was 95, the highest lifetime.

Long-time Aiken Trainer Inducted Into Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame

April 20th, 2020 by


Mike KeoghThe recent induction of Woodbine-based trainer, Mike Keogh, into the prestigious Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame was happily applauded by his friends and associates at the Aiken Training Track, Aiken, S.C. during the long days of the Coronavirus pandemic. “Hats off to Mike Keogh,” said Bill Gutfarb, current Board president at the training track. “He is a true gentleman and a very talented horseman.”

Keogh’s esteemed career as a trainer, winning more than 300 races including a Canadian Triple Crown sweep with Wando in 2003 is very impressive. Another Keogh trainee, Langfuhr, won the Metropolitan Handicapp and Carter Handicapp in N.Y. in 1997. He also scored in the Vosburgh Stakes and the Forego Handicapp in N.Y. in 1996. “Langfuhr is my favorite horse, “ said Keogh in a recent interview.Both Wando and Langfuhr are Canadian Hall of Fame members. Wando was Canada’s 2003 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male, as well as Aiken Horse of the Year, 2003. Langfuhr was Canada’s 1996 champion sprinter. Woodcarver, another Keogh trained winner, winning the Queen’s Plate in 1999, was Canada’s 1999 champion 3-year old colt.

Keogh and his wife, Lou, have been bringing thoroughbreds to Aiken in the winter season from their stable at Woodbine-Ontario for many years. Keogh’s relationship with Canadian owner and breeder and Aiken Training Track supporter and friend, Gus Schickendanz, who recently passed away, is the story of one horseman appreciating the talents of another horseman. Keogh was Schickendanz’s private trainer for many years and the men shared a love of all things horses and racing.

“I’ve been training horses in Aiken since 1994,” Keogh said. “I kept horses at Gus Schickendanz’s farm in Aiken and rented a few stalls at the training track.” At the Aiken Trials, held in the month of March for the past 78 years, Keogh’s horses have shown off Keogh’s masterful training and their speed. Enoree, in 2016, for example, set a track record of 51 4/5 for the distance. In 2017, Woodbridge won the City of Aiken Trophy and so did Say No More in 2013. In the 1993-1994 period of time, Langfuhr was a yearling turning two, when Keogh first came to Aiken.

“We like coming to Aiken, it’s a nice city, the track is quiet, the surrounding dirt roads are good for the horses, ” said Keogh.

The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame was established in 1976 to honor those who have made a significant contribution to the sport of harness and thoroughbred horse racing in Canada. It is located at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario.The Hall of Fame annually inducts thoroughbreds and standardbred horses, sulky drivers, jockeys, trainers and horse racing industry’s builders. Keogh will share the illustrious membership in the Canada Horse Racing Hall of Fame with the horse, Play the King. Keogh said, like a true blue horseman, “I am happy to be welcomed into the Canadian Hall of Fame with the horse, Play the King.” Keogh galloped Play the King for Roger Attfield.

Once a horseman, always a horseman. Our best and kindest wishes to Mr. and Mrs. Mike Keogh. Love from the Aiken Training Track.

Aiken Training Track’s Next Generation – Justin Rivera and Logan Beardon

April 19th, 2020 by

A young horseman and horsewoman from Northern California are establishing themselves as Aiken Training Track’s next generation. With two unique, but horse-centric pasts, Justin Rivera and Logan Beardon now run Poplar Place Stables, their own racing stable at Aiken Training Track, with a passion for Aiken’s Thoroughbred community. Click here to read the complete article (originally published in the April-May 2020 issue of The Aiken Horse).


April 6th, 2020 by


April 1, 2020

Aiken, S.C. – The Executive Committee of the Aiken Training Track worked quickly on Monday afternoon, March 30, 2020, to cut in half the track’s usage fee for horses training on the mile and/or 5/8 mile track offered at the historic grounds. The monthly track usage fee of $200.00 per horse has been dropped to $100.00 per horse, at least through the month of April 2020.

“We want to help our loyal trainers at this time of economic uncertainty. We plan to watch over our monthly track usage fee with an eye to assisting our hard-working trainers as they try very hard to withstand the numerous changes in the racing business caused by this Coronavirus pandemic. Racing meets have been cancelled, important thoroughbred sales have been cancelled, even restrictions on where horses can ship have emerged, “said Bill Gutfarb, President of the Aiken Training Track and a member of the Executive Committee. “Owners, trainers and staff have been seriously impacted. We are trying to help them,” he continued.

At a track board meeting on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the purchase of a new John Deere 5100E Utility Tractor was approved, along with a new loader and fixed pallet fork. Jim Rhodes, head of the track’s maintenance program, spearheaded the tractor purchase and will make certain the new equipment is well used in perfecting the track’s outstanding surface.

“The Aiken Training Track is famous for its outstanding surface. My staff and myself are committed to keeping the same level of excellence at our track in these challenging times, “ Rhodes said. The Aiken Training Track is open during the summer months as well as the winter season. Owners and trainers are encouraged to send horses to Aiken now.

The 78th running of the Aiken Trials was held on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Five pony races and five trials were successfully run. Excellent examples of young horses on their way to becoming winners, as well as older horses took to the track with zest. Fans enjoyed the horse racing. During the Trials a famous gentleman from Canada and a long-time friend and owner who brought horses to train at the Aiken Training Track, Gus Schickedanz, was honored. The late Mr. Schickedanz became the 3rd inductee into the track’s Ambassador’s Club. He is remembered for his dedication to the sport of horse racing and to the Aiken Training Track in particular.


For more press information,
Contact – Helen Naylor
Member – Board of Directors
P.R. Representative

RIDE THE RAIL: Sunday February 23 at noon – find out how it feels to ride on a racetrack

February 19th, 2020 by

All you need is your horse, a Coggins and a helmet

Ride the Rail at the Aiken Training Track on February 23

February 1st, 2020 by

Aiken Training Track Ride the Rail event Feb 23photo courtesy of the Aiken Standard

Have you ever wanted to ride on the Training Track where racing immortals like Kelso, Swale, Pleasant Colony, Tom Fool, Gallorette, Shuvee, and others trained?

On Sunday, February 23, 2020, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, you will have the opportunity. Ride alone or with friends. The cost is only $40 per horse/rider combination.

Space is limited, and advanced registration is requested. Please visit this page for more information about the track’s Ride the Rail event.

Graduates of the Aiken Training Track Earn $5,634,932.00 in 2019

January 5th, 2020 by
Aiken Training Track logo
Aiken, S.C., January 3, 2020

The Aiken Training Track announces an outstanding year in 2019.

William Gutfarb, newly elected president of the track’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Finance Committee, tallied the graduates’ year-end results shortly after the November-December 2019 results were posted on the track’s web site.

For the 12 months of 2019, “graduates earned $5,634,932.00 and the track produced 20 stakes winners and 25 stakes placed runners,” Gutfarb said. (more…)

Aiken Training Track Wins the 2019 Aiken Commemorative Ornament Contest

November 18th, 2019 by

Aiken Training Track Christmas Ornament

The Aiken Training Track is honored to be the winner of 2019 Aiken Commemorative Ornament contest. The Aiken Downtown Development Association (ADDA) has run this contest for 24 years, and voting this year began in August. Other ideas for the commemorative ornament included the Old Aiken Hospital and Palmetto Golf Club.

Everyone who voted for Aiken Training Track will be entered into a contest. The first-place winner will receive four free ornaments, the second-place winner will receive two, and the third-place winner will receive one free ornament. If you are not lucky enough to be one of the winners, you may purchase an ornament at the ADDA office, located at 208A The Alley in downtown Aiken, and at Aiken Office Supply on Whiskey Road in Aiken.

For a complete list of Aiken commemorative ornaments, visit This information appeared in the Aiken Standard on November 13, 2019 and is available here.

Vintage Painting of Aiken Trials Sold for $70,000

November 18th, 2019 by

This painting, featuring the 1942 Aiken Trials, sold yesterday at auction for a hammer price of $70,000 plus 20% buyers premium of $14,000. Total cost to the buyer was $84,000.

painting of aiken trials 1942

” This painting depicts the Aiken Trials, which began in 1942 at the newly built Aiken Training Track. Devereux Milburn, F. S. von Stade, and William B. Wood obtained a charter for the training track in 1941. Modeled after Keeneland’s track in Lexington, Kentucky, it was completed and opened in November of that year and not long after saw success with Shut Out, who trained there, winning the 1942 Kentucky Derby. …”

Learn more here.

Artwork at auction featuring 1942 Aiken Trials

October 23rd, 2019 by

This painting, featuring the 1942 Aiken Trials, will come up for auction.

painting of aiken trials 1942

” This painting depicts the Aiken Trials, which began in 1942 at the newly built Aiken Training Track. Devereux Milburn, F. S. von Stade, and William B. Wood obtained a charter for the training track in 1941. Modeled after Keeneland’s track in Lexington, Kentucky, it was completed and opened in November of that year and not long after saw success with Shut Out, who trained there, winning the 1942 Kentucky Derby. …” 

Learn more here.