Barn Notes

Ryan Seewald Taking A New Tact in Racing

Posted Saturday, Sep 22, 2012

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It’s notoriously one of the toughest jobs on the racetrack. Ryan Seewald, a former racing official at Monmouth Park who resigned recently to become a jockey agent, is finding that out first hand.

            Seewald, 22, left his post as a claims clerk in the racing office on Labor Day to take the book of Oliver Castillo, and on Sunday Castillo will be at Monmouth to ride for his new representation. Castillo will be aboard the Ed Coletti, Jr.-trained Open Outcry, likely to be one of the favorites in the featured $34,000 allowance/optional claiming race.

            “I’ve wanted to do this for a few years,” said Seewald, who started as a 16-year-old racing office summer intern at Monmouth when he was a high school sophomore and spent six years working with the crew. “I’d been working on the move and Oliver just happened to be the right jockey at the right time. We’re based in Maryland now, so it’s all new to me and I’m just getting my feet wet.”

            But he does know his way around the racetrack. His father, Alan, took out his trainer’s license in 1984 and sent out 962 winners from 5,757 starters and won 22 stakes races. Most notable of his horses was New Jersey favorite and Monmouth Hall of Champions inductee Teddy Drone, who won stakes at the Meadowlands, Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park, Hialeah Park and here during a career than spanned from 1988-1995.

            Alan Seewald suffered an untimely death, passing away in his sleep at age 62 on April 12, 2010. He was well respected and well liked.

            “A lot of the horsemen knew my father and that helps a lot. They are receptive to me (when approached about using Castillo),” said Ryan who also worked as a claims clerk at The Fairgrounds last season. “That makes this a lot easier for me than it would be for someone with no connections at all on the backside. I feel like my dad is still here with me and helping me every day.”

            Nevertheless, being a jockey agent is a very competitive and rigorous occupation.

            “It’s much more difficult than you think,” he said. “When I was a racing official, I would wonder why agents would do certain things the way they did, or didn’t do them. Now I’m coming to realize why.”

            Seewald said that the biggest change from one side of the desk to the other is the excitement level.

            “Watching races that my rider is competing in is very exciting, and at the same time, nerve wracking. Now your income depends on the outcome,” he said. “But I’m glad I decided to do this. This is really interesting and I am really enjoying it.”

            Through September 21, Castillo, who is a graded stakes winning rider, had 20 wins in 2012 from 305 mounts.

 


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