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Trainer Bill Spawr guides his horse, Amazombie, to the track for a pre-dawn workout at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. Spawr, who's been working with horses for more than 50 years, typically starts his day in the stables at 3:15 a.m.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Spawr has never one a Triple Crown and his best finish in the Breeders' Cup has been fourth, but his horse Amazombie is a favorite in Saturday's $1-million Breeder's Cup sprint race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Riders walk their horses along the rail at Santa Anita Park as the sun rises.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Bill Spawr is Amazombie's part-owner as well as his trainer. "When you own them yourself, you can be as patient as you want," he said. "I've been more patient with Amazombie, given him more individual attention. I'm happy with how it's turned out."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A stable hand walks Amazombie in Stable 27 after a morning workout at Santa Anita Park.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Amazombie trots down the track at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia after his morning workout.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Amazombie was recovering from a leg fracture when Bill Spawr bought him in 2009. He qualified for the Breeders' Cup by winning the Oct. 9 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Trainer Bill Spawr makes the rounds in Stable 27 at Santa Anita Park. In his years in the business, Spawr has cultivated his own system of spotting horse talent and aims to make his animals as comfortable in their surroundings as possible.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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Watching horse trainer Bill Spawr at work is a reflection of everyone who rises each day dedicated to a career they would like to think will one day provide a significant measure of satisfaction.

Spawr, 72, has spent more than 50 years trying to make sense of horse racing. None of his horses has won a Triple Crown, and his best showing in a Breeders’ Cup was fourth place.

Yet, every day at the fall meeting at Santa Anita Park, he was inside his barn at 3:15 a.m.

And Saturday, the veteran trainer sends out 5-year-old gelding Amazombie as one of the favorites in the $1-million Breeders’ Cup sprint race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Read Lance Pugmire’s story: For trainer Bill Spawr, horse racing has been a lifelong passion

1 Comment

  1. November 3, 2011, 1:24 pm

    [...] 2, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) ERLANGER, Ky – The …Breeders' Cup campaign feeds horse trainer's lifelong passionLos Angeles Times (blog)all 4 news [...]

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