(PHOTO - JESSSHAZOOM, a 10-time winner on the track and one of the most significant horses in the life of Andrew Shaunessy )
He was just eight-years-old when he started working for top Quarter Horse trainer Joe Tavares thus it is no surprise that Andrew Shaunessy is one of the most recognizable faces at Ajax Downs every raceday.
Shaunessy brings over many of the Tavares runners for their races and you can tell from his large than life smile, he loves what he does.
While the 27-year-old has had his hands on a lot of Quarter Horses through two decades, two come to mind as the most influential of his career: Go Smashing Baby and Jessshazoom.
Go Smashing Baby, the remarkable mare who won 27 races from 2003 to 2007at Picov Downs, was one of the first horses that Shaughnessy raced for Tavares.
“She really got me going in the industry and working with the racehorses,” said Shaunessy, who was born in Toronto, ON. “She taught me how to handle a horse because she was very easy to handle. She was also a very kind horse and outgoing.”
Go Smashing Baby, in fact, was also the horse who thrust trainer Tavares and jockey Brian Bell into top of the leaderboard in Quarter Horse racing, see more at http://ontarioracing.com/News-Features/For-the-Love-of-Racing/Joe-Tavares-and-Brian-Bell-Go-Smashing-Baby.aspx
More recently, Shaunessy is looking forward to seeing the first foal race of his favourite mare Jessshazoom, a stakes winner he groomed from 2008 to 2013. The daughter of Shazoom won the Ajax Downs Classic in 2011 and was a 10-time winner and earner of over $141,000 for the Tavares family and their longtime employee.
“She was a great mare, good at the farm but more difficult at the track,” said Shaunessy. “She knew what she was there for and she would get really excited.”
Jessshazoom was retired at the end of her 2013 campaign and within the next two years you will see Shaunessy bringing over her offspring to race at Ajax.
“I love every minute of what I,” said Shaunessy, who now lives in Dunsford, ON. “I hope to be able to race Jessshazoom’s babies when they are ready, just like I raced her.”
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