By Kristin Bechthold
Carl O’Callaghan is perhaps one of Canterbury’s most well-traveled trainers, having been born and raised in West Clare, Ireland. He moved to the United States when he was just fourteen years old in 1990 to pursue his dreams in the horse industry. He started in New York and made his way to California, where he trained at multiple tracks, including: Santa Anita, Los Alamitos, and Del Mar. He has also trained internationally, including England and the United Arab Emirates.
His official start as a trainer was in 2009, and he now trains 20 horses at Canterbury. He also trains in Arizona, which he considers home. He can be found in the stable area with his trusty goat companion, Ruben José Seamus O’Callaghan.
There is no doubt the highlight of O’Callaghan’s career so far has been the win of the Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2010 with his horse Kinsale King. The Golden Shaheen has a purse of $2 million and is included in the Dubai World Cup Night. Kinsale King currently resides with O’Callaghan as a stable pony here at Canterbury. In 2013, O’Callaghan wrote a children’s book about him and Kinsale King called “Wish’s Derby.” All the proceeds of the book are donated to Wish Upon a Teen, a non-profit organization that helps teenagers with severe medical conditions and learning disabilities.
Outside of horses and racing, O’Callaghan’s passion is music. He writes music, plays guitar, and sings. In fact, if he wasn’t a horse trainer, he would like to be an entertainer in Nashville, though he has a side gig of being a singer for weddings and other events. His favorite genre of music is country and his favorite artists include older country artists such as George Strait.
At the end of the day, O’Callaghan’s passion for the horses and for the competition of racing is what keeps him in the game. “I love competing because I’m a very competitive person,” O’Callaghan said. “I just love what I do. I love the animals and I love getting up and going to work every day. There’s no place I’d rather be.”