Meet Debbie Nakayama

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

My first memory of my love for Horse Racing was watching Secretariat win the Triple Crown in 1973. I didn’t get hooked on racing until 1978 when Affirmed and jockey, Steve Cauthen won the Triple Crown. I was a teenager who fell in love with Affirmed and I had a mad crush on Steve Cauthen too. While other teenage girls were reading Teen and Tiger Beat magazines, I was reading my subscription to TURF magazine cover to cover. I wanted to know everything about the sport.

What aspect of horse racing do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy absolutely everything about the sport. I love going to the track to watch live racing, just the thrill of watching the horses come down the stretch gets my adrenaline going. I’ve spent time on the backside of the track in the mornings and love giving my favorite equine athletes a pep talk before the big race. I’ve even hot walked a few horses for my trainer friend. I spend a lot of time in Lexington, Kentucky checking out the new stallions at the farms along with attending the Keeneland sales and doing research on pedigrees and conformation. As a cataloger for my local Library, you’ll find me doing research at the Keeneland Library. But, my new love within the sport would be my WVS broodmare’s and my foals. I just love the babies.

Why did you join the Wasabi Ventures Co-Owner Club?

My friend Theresa Wiseman told me all about WVS while we watched live racing at Laurel last year. I thought at first, this was too good to be true. I decided to check out the WVS website and much to my surprise it checked all my boxes for the experience I’d been looking for and I joined that day and immediately bought into my first horse, TRAPPED N MY MIND. So far, it’s been an amazing experience, I love my horses and I enjoy meeting other WVS members. As for the club benefits, you cannot find another Partnership program quite like WVS. It’s affordable, low risk, transparent, educational, and they care about the horses’ welfare while racing and after retirement. Basically, WVS has been a dream come true for me.

Who is your favorite horse?

I have too many to count! Secretariat would be at the top of my list. I’ve spent time at The Meadow celebrating Secretariat’s Birthday, along with participating in the Secretariat Festival in Paris, Kentucky each year in the Fall. My other favorites include Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Holy Bull, Cigar, A.P. Indy, Alphabet Soup, American Pharoah and Runhappy. Some of my favorite stallions: War Front, Uncle Mo, Midnight Lute, Arrogate and Fusaichi Pegasus. Lastly, my favorite local horses would be my WVS horses along with Laki and Warrioroftheroses.

What issues in the industry would you like to see addressed?

Aftercare is at the top of my list to be addressed by the Industry. We have a lot of great Aftercare programs out there, we just need to get these retired champions to the right program(s) in sound condition from the Track. These retired racehorses already have the basic training, they just need their training tweaked a bit to enter a new discipline, such as dressage, show jumping, and hunting, etc. We have to be the advocates for our equine athletes, we speak for them. All horses deserve nothing but the best from us, from a Triple Crown champion to a small time claimer.

I’m happy that WVS speaks for our horses and finds our retirees the best homes for their future careers.