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Newspaper Honors Welch (01/25/13)
Posted Friday January 25, 2013
By Mike Paradise
For the second consecutive year the Kankakee, IL based newspaper The Daily Journal has named Roger Welch as its Illinois Trainer of the Year.
The 49-year-old Welch followed his banner 2011 season with $1.33 million won by his stable with an even better 2012 campaign. Horses racing out of Roger’s barn raked in almost $1.57 million, a career high for the Belvedere, IL native.
The stable’s Iam Bonasera was named the 2012 Illinois Horse of the Year by its state United States Trotting Association members while its Always About Katey took the same prestigious honor as the best in Indiana by its USTA constituents.
Always About Katey went 10-for-12 in her freshman season, notching a pair of $200,000 Gold Championships against Hoosier bred filly pacers at Indiana tracks and then coming to Balmoral Park and annexed both the American National and a Hanover against open company fillies.
Iam Bonasera joined Roger’s stable in mid-July with only a single victory and a little over $14,000 in purse earnings. The horse finished his five-year-old campaign with 9 victories, including a Super Night championship in the Maurello Final, and over $190,000 on his card.
(Iam Bonasera was withdrawn from last Monday’s horse sale at The Meadowlands.)
Welch also trained last season’s Illinois Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer of the Year Fox Valley Action, a multi-stakes winner with over $170,000 in season earnings.
Horses out of Welch’s stable have earned over $1 million in 5 of the last 8 years.
Nevertheless Roger was quick to point that any successful stable needs a “team effort” and he has that with a number of good, loyal people working alongside him every morning on the Balmoral Park backside.
“I have great help and most are the same people who have worked for me for the past 10 years,” said Roger. “And a number of my grooms have been honored by their peers.
“My wife Amy was named the inaugural Caretaker of the Year in 2001 when she took care of Mini Me in his two-year-old championship season. I have the husband-wife team of Leo and Airalee Estrada, who won the same award a few years ago and this year’s winner Isbi Herrera is the groom of Iam Bonasera and Fridayniteflight.”
Roger began is 33rd season as a trainer in 2013 only 53 winners away from 1,000 victories by his stable.
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