By Kristin Bechthold
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gary Scherer has been involved in the horse racing industry his entire life. His father, Merrill Scherer, started training horses in 1959. Four of his six brothers are also directly involved in the racing industry. Though that makes room for a consequential competition, Scherer assures that there is no rivalry between him and his brothers.
Currently, Scherer trains 35 horses here at Canterbury. In addition to racing in Shakopee, he also races at Arlington Park near Chicago, Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY, and Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.
Though he has been training horses in Minnesota for seventeen years, he calls New Orleans home. “I like New Orleans, but it’s safer here in Minnesota,” he said. “I like to visit and see my family and friends, but it’s nice to be somewhere different.”
Scherer’s said his greatest accomplishment was last year when one of his fillies, Windchill Factor, won three $100,000 stakes races in a row and was 2-Year-Old of the Year in Louisiana. “Otherwise, my greatest accomplishment is that I’ve lasted this long and I’m still here,” he said with a laugh.
The thrill of victory is Scherer’s favorite part of training. Besides being born and raised in the business, it’s also his motivation to keep training. “You may run and keep losing, but then one horse will shine and step up and then you’re ready to be back in the game again,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Though Scherer worked outside of the racing business as a manager for an air freight delivery service in Louisiana, he returned after thirteen years of being away. “If I wasn’t training now, I would be homeless,” he said with a laugh. “I wouldn’t know what else to do.”
Besides horse racing, Scherer’s other focus is on sports like basketball, baseball, and football. He is a fan of Minnesota sports teams, but the New Orleans Saints is his favorite. Though he used to play an array of sports when he was younger in addition to hunting and fishing, he now focuses on playing golf, particularly in Minnesota.
In terms of the future, Scherer doesn’t have a plan to stop training horses and hopes to keep doing it for as long as he can. “I want to keep searching for bigger horses and going to bigger races,” he said.