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Clarkston grad makes Derby run

Katie Colosimo and jockey Mike Smith accept a trophy for Regally Ready's win from Mark Harmon, left, and Michael Weatherly, both from TV's NCIS. Photo courtesy of Benoit Photo (click for larger version)
May 04, 2011 - The spotlight shines on the Kentucky Derby this weekend and as many prepare for the big event, Clarkston native Katie Colosimo is also preparing.

While many are watching the horses race she is helping to get the horses ready for the races, walking out with some of them, help saddle and make sure everything will go smoothly.

It's part of her job - Colosimo works as an assistant to Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Stever Asmussen.

"I help run the barn and keep everything," she explained. "Anything they need to have done I make sure it is taken care of. I let everyone know what they need to be doing, help watch over the horse and make sure they are okay. I travel with some of them when they go to races at other racetracks. Occasionally I saddle the horses for races when they need me to do it."

Colosimo admitted it is her first being personally involved with the Kentucky Derby but she has sat in the stands several times watching it.

"It is so exciting," she said. "It is just so many people and so much excitement. People from everywhere come for the race. There is so much electricity in the air and so much on the line. There is nothing else like it."

She has worked in many positions as she worked up to the assistant positions.

"I get to work with some really nice horses," she added. "It is a great opportunity. I like the way my boss does things."

Colosimo already knows what to expect at the Kentucky Derby after years of experience and after being in Santa Anita Derby in California for another race on April16.

"It was a prep race," she explained. "It was a million dollar race. You stay in the barn and make sure everything is okay. There is a lot riding on it."

The end result from the race was Regally Ready, one of their horses, won by a nose in the San Simeon Handicap.

Colosimo, a Clarkston High School 1996 graduate, began working with horses when she was 12-years-old and showed them.

She moved on to Leonardi Racing Stables in Metamora where she worked with racehorses.

When she was 22-years-old she left Michigan and went to Phoenix, Arizona and worked at a racetrack.

"I worked at a lot of different tracks in a lot of different states and traveled a lot," she explained. "I always worked at it and got a lot of good breaks to be where I am at and work with the horses."

Though it was what she wanted to do, she took a break for six months to make sure it was what she wanted to do the rest of her life.

"I am at the barn at five o'clock in the morning. It's a seven days a week job," she said. "You devote your life to it."

She made some phonecalls and found a job in Shreveport, Louisiana.

"I feel very lucky to wake up every morning and go to a job I love. I get to travel the country and see a lot of great things. It has been a neat experience," she said. "I am looking forward to the derby on Saturday."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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