A few days before this weekend’s Florida Derby, Saratoga native Joseph DeSantis is doing errands in Lexington, Kentucky, shuttling between the three farms that his employer, Shadwell Stable, owns. With the exception of a three-year stint in Oklahoma, he’s made his home in the Bluegrass of central Kentucky for the last 20 years, most recently as manager of Shadwell’s Erhaab Farm, but there’s no doubt that his Spa City upbringing played a major role in putting him in the position he’s in today.
And that position is, as of a couple of years ago, the assistant racing manager for the U.S. arm of Shadwell, the worldwide racing and breeding operation of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai. These days, that means being part of the team that will run current Kentucky Derby favorite Mohaymen in Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Florida Derby.
A week later, on April 9, DeSantis and the Shadwell team will be at Aqueduct to watch their homebred Shagaf in the Wood Memorial, another Grade 1, $1 million race.
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