Candice J, Renee, New Horse Owner Wins Her First Race at Gulfstream

By Marylynne Newmark

July 28, 2021

Can you imagine the exhilaration for a brand new horse owner to win her first race at Gulfstream Park on a newly purchased thoroughbred? The thrill for Candice J. Renee (known throughout Gulfstream Park as C J,) was totally electric!

This happened on June 30th. Ten Pin Ally, C J’s 3-year-old filly, started slow at 6 lengths off the lead, striding from behind, passing every horse, with jockey Victor Lebron cleverly edging her in along the rail to steal the finish. Wow!

“Standing in the Winner’s Circle alongside my beautiful young champion was unbelievable,” said C J,“ yielding a challenging and calculated delivery in a bad weather situation.”

C J credits the experience and sixth sense of trainer Joe Orseno in guiding her decision to race Ally that rainy day.

Orseno, a thoroughbred trainer who operates from Stable 19 at Gulfstream Park, is a winner in his own right. As a trainer, he is credited with around 2000 victories since 1986, training horses that won at races that include the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, the Delaware Handicap, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge, the Pimlico Special, the Pennsylvania Derby and the Massachusetts Handicap. His winning horses for the American Classics Breeders Cup include the Preakness Stakes, Breeders Cup Juvenile and the Breeders Club Filly & Mare Turf. For additional information, contact orsenoracing@hotmail.com.

“We are lucky to have a talent like Joe here in Gulfstream Park,” says C J. “I met him years ago, and it was Joe who inspired me to follow my dream of thoroughbred ownership.”

When C J first moved to Hallandale from New Jersey in the 1970s, aside from the glamour of the times and beautiful weather, she discovered the excitement of thoroughbred racing at Gulfstream. She became a regular, both as a spectator and wagering enthusiast. When Gulfstream Park completed its transformation as a major entertainment center in 2019, C J’s enthusiasm grew even more, and she aspired to become a horse owner in order to have a vested interest in the race.

Her eagerness in owning and racing brought her closer to Orseno, who began giving her pointers on how to select racers. “There’s so much to learn,” she said. “He showed me how to read a race, rate the speed, check the pedigree and evaluate critical factors in the horse like bone structure, muscle tone, balance, movement and manners. Then, he turned me on to claiming races.”

In a claiming race, all of the participating horses are for sale. Prospective buyers commit to the asking price for a particular horse before the race and place their name with proof of financial commitment in a box. If there is only one bidder, he or she gets the horse. If there are several bidders, one name is drawn from the shake as the winner, and the horse is theirs.

“You don’t have to be a millionaire to own a thoroughbred,” says C J. “However, it is a gamble. You can buy a young thoroughbred for as little as $10,000, and he or she can become a champion racer, or you can buy one for close to a million dollars and the horse may not be a winner at all. But, like any business,” she adds,“ that’s the risk you take in racing.”

The years have been good for C J, both as a private consultant for emerging start-up companies and a series of good investments. So, this year she decided to follow her dream.

With Joe’s recommendation, C J purchased Ten Pin Ally in a claiming race of young Kentucky-bred horses. Ally’s sire was Air Force Blue, a Triple G1- Winning Champion, who at 2 years was considered the best in Europe in his age group. Her dam was Allyallyincomefree from a lineage of champions.

Another horse she recently purchased under Joe’s advice is a colt named Billy Yank by Union Rags out of ‘Tis Now. He is currently being prepared to race later this month at Gulfstream. C J is in the process of acquiring several other young colts and fillies for Joe to train and plans to buy more.

Aside from being licensed as a thoroughbred horse owner in Florida, C J is currently applying for similar licenses in New York and New Jersey that will enable her to race her horses in Belmont, Aqueduct, Monmouth, Meadowlands and Freehold.

“Standing next to Ten Pin Ally in the Winner’s Circle was one of the most thrilling moments in my life,” says CJ. “And I look forward to making a business out of experiencing that thrill again from my growing bevy of majestic beauties.”

C J is an avid reader, and for those who would like to know more about racing, she recommends the book “May the Horse Be With You: Pack at the Track” by Harvey Pack and Peter Fornatale, and to tune in to the series “Luck” featuring Dustin Hoffman on HBO. “I promise that you will learn a great deal about this industry,” she says.

“You can find me at Gulfstream almost every day visiting my beautiful horses,” says C J.” When there, I enjoy watching the races from the window of Ten Palms, where I enjoy the food and gracious hospitality of both host Charles and hostess Michelle,”

“Horse racing is the Sport of Kings,” says CJ, “and I encourage everyone to share the thrill and camaraderie of the race… and especially the win…. right here on Federal Highway, at beautiful Gulfstream Park.“