The “first lady of Australian racing,” Gai Waterhouse is a trainer from Sydney with an outstanding record, having trained over 135 Group 1 winners. She was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2018. She has trained multiple Golden Slipper winners, and in 2013, she became the first Australian woman to train a Melbourne Cup winner, Fiorente.
Gai currently trains The Elkstone Group’s Whiskey Shooter, The Art of the Bar, and Celestial Insight, among others.
A New York native, Kelly Rubley grew up with an equestrian background, but she didn’t officially enter the industry until 2009, when she became an exercise rider for Barclay Tagg. As a comparatively smaller operation, she says she loves being able to forge a relationship with each horse, learning personalities and applying a detail-oriented approach to training. Kelly works across two barns in Maryland, which allows her to find an appropriate level of competition for each horse.
Kelley currently trains Maryland-bred Northern Smile.
Brad Cox grew up just a few blocks away from Churchill Downs and earned an advanced degree in racing education under the famed Twin Spires. He broke into the game working for trainers Burt Kessinger and Jimmy Baker before landing a job as assistant to trainer Dallas Stewart. His five-year stint there indoctrinated him to the revolutionary training program pioneered by D. Wayne Lukas and has been passed down through former assistants like Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin and Stewart. At the age of 25 he began his own barn, which has steadily produced winners since its first year.
Brad currently works with Kentucky Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl, among other celebrated horses.
Seven-time Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher began working for his father as a hot walker at the age of seven. He worked as a groom for Hall of Famer Charlie Wittingham, and later as assistant trainer to D. Wayne Lukas. Among his outstanding roster of wins are two Kentucky Derby titles and three Belmont Stakes titles. Todd has earned numerous training titles in New York, Kentucky, and Florida, including five consecutive titles at the Saratoga summer meet.
Todd currently trains The Elkstone Group’s Social Paranoia.
Donna Freyer has a large role in the careers of The Elkstone Groups’ horses. Her business, Custom Care Equine, provides education for the young horses and provides rehab and conditioning for the racehorses. A life-long horsewoman, she worked with Frank Whitely, who was instrumental in helping secure her trainer’s license. After a ten year stint in New York training, she returned to Camden and established Custom Care Equine at The Camden Training Center. Being based in one location has allowed her to become involved with the community and to give back to the horse industry. Donna helped launch The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation of South Carolina and is vice-president of The South Carolina Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.