Chad Summers left his home in Long Island and came to the University of Kentucky for two reasons. One, he wanted the experience of playing Southeastern Conference football. Two, he loved horse racing.
And as a walk-on place-kicker at UK from 2002-04, he found special teams coach Steve Ortmayer enjoyed similar interests.
“The good thing about that was he was best friends with Ron Anderson, the jockey agent,” said Summers on Wednesday. “So when I told him I loved horse racing and I liked to go to the late daily double, it was good. I wasn’t going to play anyway. So it was all right.”
And now, more than a decade later, Summers is a successful horse trainer with a legitimate contender in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
Mind Your Biscuits has earned more money than any New York-bred in history, winning $4.7 million on the track. In 24 races, the popular Biscuits has finished in the money 21 times. He’s won the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaeheen twice and captured the Grade 3 Lukas Classic by nearly 5 lengths. He’s finished second in both the Met Mile and Whitney and is 6-1 in the morning line for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“Super, super, he loves Churchill Downs,” said Summers on Wednesday when asked how his horse was training. “It’s a shame that he never gets to run here before the Lukas Classic. He’s absolutely in love with this racetrack.”
And Summers was in love with horses and football when he decided Lexington and UK would be the perfect spot.
“I never thought I’d actually be good enough to play in the NFL or anything like that, but I thought it would be a great experience to play in the SEC,” he said Wednesday. “And it was, it was a lot of fun. And you learn a lot.
“And being in horse country really kind of set my path. I was fortunate. A lot of times when people go to college they don’t know what they want to do for a living. I knew I wanted to do something with horses.”
He first thought that he would be in the media. Then he caught the backside bug. “That first horse wins, it’s like a drug,” he said. “It’s tough to get away and you fall in love instantaneously.”
So what does Summers think of Kentucky football’s current success?
“The UK football team is very much like Mind Your Biscuits in that we could have left last year and said we had a good year . . . but they had unfinished business,” said Summers, referencing Mind Your Biscuits’ third-place finish in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. “So happy they’re 7-1 and doing good things and hopefully we can both get a big win on Saturday.”