A Team of Dreams
Stidham Racing is a premier horserace training team, dedicated to providing the best care for its horses. With a highly experienced and loyal staff, the team offers a caring environment for its horses, ensuring the best possible results on the track.
Photo by Will Wong
Hillary Pridham, Assistant Trainer
Hilary Pridham, Mike Stidham’s assistant since 1999, hails from England and a rich horse background. She grew up riding ponies, competed at shows and events and attended all the local hunts. But Hilary was struck down with the racing bug from an early age, and when she was old enough, she found work at a local steeplechasing yard. Lured by the bright lights of America, Hilary moved across the pond to work for Noel Hickey – an extraordinary experience that saw her involved in the day-to-day training of one the nation’s finest turf horses, Buck’s Boy. In 1998, Buck’s Boy was crowned Turf Champion after winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Emboldened by this experience, Hilary decided to branch out on her own as a trainer – with much success.
1997 was her seminal year: she trained 56 individual winners and amassed a total of $1,211,786. Now, as Mike’s assistant and main work rider, Hilary’s role is a pivotal one. Utilizing the experience she has accumulated over the years, she provides vital feedback on a horse’s optimum distance and surface, as well a slew of smaller seemingly insignificant details that often make the difference between winning and losing.
Dinicio “Nicho”, Stable Foreman
Dinicio has been with Mike Stidham for fifteen years, and has worked his way steadily up the ladder to his current position as a stable foreman and Stidham’s right-hand-man. Nicho got his start with horses back in Mexico when he was 16, working with Charro horses until he was 21. This period of five years was a real learning curve for Nicho. He learned to “play the rope,” learned how to break in the babies before learning how to ride them. Then, Houston in December of 1999 marked a major turning point in Nicho’s life.
Mike’s assistant at the time was Rigo Rosas, whose wife hailed from the same town in Mexico as Nicho. She called him and told him to get on down to Houston for a job as a hot walker for Mike, and she taught him all the tricks of the hot walker trade, too. Nicho didn’t remain a hot walker for long. After a year, he became a groom – a position he held for seven years before eventually graduating to barn foreman. Now, his responsibilities are vast and varied, from barn maintenance to the feeding of the horses. He also oversees the hot walkers and grooms and makes sure that the horses are ready to race and look pretty for their win photos.
TC’s life in racing reads like a rolodex of famous names in training.TC, another of Mike’s foremen, was born and raised in Camden South Carolina. His first little taste of horse racing was all the way back in 1984, when he worked as a groom for William Burley Cox. TC was hooked on the sport immediately, line and sinker. TC’s life in racing reads like a rolodex of famous names in training. After William, TC spent the next two years with Frank Whiteley, and from there to Frank’s son, David Whiteley. TC worked for David for five years – a period of time that would shape his knowledge base for the rest of his life. In 1995, he went to work for the legendary Allen Jerkens. At that time, Allen’s assistant was a young man called Chuck Simon, who attempted to fire TC when he missed a day of work. But Allen, a big fan of TC’s, wouldn’t let that happen – and it helped that TC was grooming one of Allen’s very best horses. Ironically TC and Chuck later became good friends, and when Chuck would eventually take out his own license, TC joined him as assistant trainer.
After that, TC followed Chuck to Florida, where they trained horses for Ken Ramsey – a successful period that saw them snag a second in the grade I Del Mar Oaks. After 11 glorious years with Chuck, they parted ways, with TC heading back to his family in Kentucky and a job with James Baker. This partnership lasted for two years, until stable numbers dwindled and James had to let him go. But James’ loss was Mike’s gain. At 9am one morning in March of this year, one of TC’s friend told him that Mike Stidham had a job opening. TC headed immediately to Louisiana where he met Mike and Hilary, checked out the barn and immediately fell in love with the horses in Stidham’s care. And by about noon that day, he was given the foreman’s job.