What kind of a person trains race horses? What attributes does a person need in order to be able to condition race horses and manage a stable? On the one hand, good business sense must be an essential because training race horses is a business. The trainer has to be able to manage money and resources efficiently. That's not to say that all trainers are good business men, but probably the most successful ones are good enough at managing their business to keep afloat.
While business acumen and money management are important, I think some of the best trainers are also sneaky. They're the ones who may not have the best stock on the circuit, but they always manage to make a living. I'm not being critical when I say that because I admire anyone who can make a living training horses. It isn't easy. For one thing, horses can't talk and tell you how they feel, what they need, or what they want. Trainers need to be able to read a horse.
If the purse money and trainer fees isn't enough, and at many of the smaller tracks winners don't earn much, then the trainer has to be resourceful enough to find ways to supplement those rare trips to the winners circle. That's why some trainers are gamblers. The sneakier ones make opportunities for themselves to make money. How? You may ask.
There have been trainers who are known as "moonlighters" because they only work a horse that is ready to win in the dark. They are so afraid of a clocker spotting a fit and ready horse they'll try to work in the dark or in the company of so many other horses it's hard for the clocker to get a good look at the horse that is sitting on a win , as the saying goes.
Other trainers will sometimes get a sensational work, but then deliberately enter a horse over its head or find a way for the horse to lose the next race after the layoff. There are many ways to make a horse lose and when a horse loses and disappoints the public it often goes to post at much higher odds the next time it runs. Then of course, there is the popular trainer move of working a horse in a race. The runner is sent in the early stages of a race and it becomes a workout when the horse is then pulled back in the later stages.