Page 21 - January-February 2020 HER
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“But he was different. As soon as you asked him to do anything, if you touched him, he was automatically defensive about it. So trying to figure out why was a challenge,” she said.
Once she figured out exactly what Whitmore needed, she met the need and he began winning races in no time. Today, he is one of Moquett racing’s most profitable thoroughbreds. As a result, Whitmore also gained a following of his own.
“To see people who have no connection to (the horse) as far as daily activities go, that are so excited to watch him run, it’s just really cool. It just brings another group together,” she said.
“So you have the group in the barn that is connected to (that horse) and knows him and all his little weird ticks and personalities. Then you have a larger group of people that know him and make up this secondary circle. This may be people related to us or know people in the barn that take care of him. Things like that. Then there’s this extra circle of just fans that really love (the horse),” she said.
It is no secret the backside barns of Oaklawn is a thriving, close-knit community. For Moquett, thoroughbred horse racing helped turn her pas- sion into profit, implanted her into a strong community that transcends each rack track, and led her to meet the love of her life, Ron Moquett.
“The best thing that’s happened to me with racing beside the excite- ment of competing and winning races at a high level was meeting my hus- band, Ron. We met at Oaklawn park years ago, both working in the same barn. Through him, I got the experience of having an amazing family with three stepchildren and, so far, three beautiful grandchildren,” she said.
As the matriarch of Moquett Racing, Laura witnessed the industry’s at- titude toward women change first hand and often led the charge. Refusing to take no for an answer, Moquett’s life work has set the stage for the next generation of women in thoroughbred horse racing.
“I think women have a lot more sensitivity like I was saying with the ‘barn mom’ thing. They have a lot more empathy for animals in general. That’s just maybe the way we’re wired,” she said.
“I think girls, as a general rule, have pushed into this industry more and more because people have recognized that we get a lot done, are self-mo- tivated, and just have this softness that horses follow.”
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