Sharp on the Fast Track to Success during First Championship Meet
Dec 13, 2015
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– Embarking on his second full year of training, Joe Sharp has ventured to South Florida for the 2015-2016 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park with a rather impressive early-career resume.
The 30-year-old West Virginian has saddled 93 winners from 514 starters thus far this year after launching his public stable in September 2014 with 20 winners from 56 runners last year. His purse-earnings total thus far stands at $3.4 million, drawing unwanted comparisons to trainers Chad Brown (31 winners from 155 starters, $1.5 million in 2008) and Todd Pletcher (33 winners from 206 starters; $1.1 million in 1996).
“Somebody did an article than mentioned Todd’s first year, Chad’s first year, versus our first year, statistically. But I’m just doing day-to-day stuff, winning races and trying to keep owners happy and horses happy,” Sharp said. “I appreciate all of it, but I don’t think I’ve done anything special. I’m just working every day trying to make a name for myself.”
He will have between 35-40 horses at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County, for his first racing season in South Florida.
“That’s a state-of-the-art facility. It’s really nice to be there,” said Sharp, whose division at Fair Grounds will number 50.
Sharp will split his time between Gulfstream and Fair Grounds during the winter. Jason Barkley serves as his assistant at Palm Meadows and will oversee the daily training of Sharp’s horses when he is at Fair Grounds, where his wife and former jockey, Rosie Napravnik, serves as a stable assistant and exercise rider.
Napravnik, who retired from riding late last year after her victory aboard Untapable in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and guiding 1877 winners, gave birth to their son, Carson, on June 1.
“Rosie’s my biggest support system; she’s my best friend; she’s always behind me; she’s my biggest fan,” Sharp said. “She’s back riding and being an assistant. I have another assistant with her, because she has the baby. She’s a huge part of the team on and off the field.”
Sharp, as well as son Carson, was born into Thoroughbred racing, learning the ropes at a very early age from his father, Marc Sharp, a West Virginia-based trainer, and his mother, Sarah Escudero, an exercise rider.
Sharp was a jockey, winning 21 races from 264 mounts in 2004-2005 before going to work for trainer Michael Stidham for five years. He moved over to Mike Maker’s barn for four years before going out on his own to fulfill his boyhood dream.
“My father always trained horses. Ever since I was a kid, he let me be hands-on. I was always reading condition books. I had condition books in my backpack at all times, even in elementary school. He let me be a part of it at an early age,” Sharp said. “My mother always supported me. From there I had the support of Michael Stidham and Mike Maker. I have been very lucky and appreciate just how lucky I’ve been to have all those people behind me.”
Sharp, who received early support from multiple Eclipse Award-winning owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, started last year’s Fair Grounds meeting with a 16-horse stable and concluded the season at the New Orleans track third in wins and fifth in earnings while clicking at a 26-percent clip. Success has bred success for the up-and-coming trainer, who figures also to be a force during the current Championship Meet at Gulfstream.