When Dawn Lupul was about six years old, her father, a chemical engineer who worked for the Canadian government, decided that he’d like to get into horse racing.
Not a man, apparently, to do things half-heartedly, he ended up with a herd of about 30 standardbreds on a farm just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. Not content simply to own horses, he also bred them and taught himself to train them, becoming a one-man racing operation.
“He’s a very intelligent man and he figured he could do it all himself,” said Lupul this week from Toronto, where she now lives. “He taught himself to shoe horses and to train.”
Though immersed in the world of horseracing since childhood, Lupul didn’t immediately follow in her father’s training footsteps. She rode and showed horses, but early on, she was drawn to betting and handicapping, especially at the harness tracks around which she’d grown up.
It wasn’t long before her attention shifted from standardbreds to Thoroughbreds, and in 1994, she asked her local track, Northlands Park, why women never appeared on their in-house handicapping shows.
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Featured image photo credit: Keith McCalmont