Bill Reepmeyer expresses little interest in shooting for the big time, which makes it a big deal to see his name among the leading harness racing owners at Meadowlands Racetrack.
The 72-year-old Reepmeyer has four wins at the Big M, a total that is tied for second place among all owners and one victory shy of the top spot. He got those four triumphs with three different horses: two with Carmens Best and one each with Get Jazzed and Lettherockbegin.
"It's exciting,” said Reepmeyer, who bought his first horse in the early 1990s. "That's really fun to be up there. I still consider the Meadowlands as the premier racetrack. I don't have as many horses as a lot of (the top owners) there. Aside from the actual races, this is probably the best thrill I've had so far.”
Carmens Best is set to return to action in Thursday's second round of the Winter Survivor Series at the Meadowlands. The 5-year-old pacer, competing in the fourth of four Survivor divisions, drew post 10 with John Campbell listed to drive.
So far this season, Carmens Best has won two of four races and earned $10,850. He finished third in his division in the first round of the Survivor Series.
"I think he'd be competitive if he could make the final,” Reepmeyer said. "He's a bit on the small side, but he's pretty durable and aggressive.”
Carmens Best is trained by Jackie Rousse while Get Jazzed is trained by Kathleen Allen and Lettherockbegin is trained by Bruce Lauer. Reepmeyer has 23 horses, stabled in New York, New Jersey, Maine and Indiana.
"I bought quite a few in the last couple years,” Reepmeyer said. "Mostly all are racehorses; the only place I do yearlings is in Indiana. I don't really get into (stakes racing). I'm more in it for the excitement. I don't have the ego to have to win the major races. I think that's a very difficult world to compete in.”
Growing up near Saratoga, N.Y., Reepmeyer developed an early interest in racing. After getting his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and working several years in New York City, he ended up in Michigan to attend grad school and work as a financial advisor.
Reepmeyer got to know Gene Oldford, who last month was inducted into the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association Hall of Fame, through business and Oldford eventually introduced him to horse ownership.
"I'm kind of a risk-taker, I guess,” said Reepmeyer, who still works online eight hours a day as a financial advisor. "It always intrigued me. I always wanted to own horses and Thoroughbreds didn't appeal to me, so when Gene talked to me about getting into the harness racing I decided to do that.
"I bought a horse with Gene and we had Joe Putnam train. He was very young at the time; just getting started. It just went from there; gradually I got more involved. Now I've got more time and my kids are all out of college so I've got a little more money.”
Reepmeyer moved to New Hampshire last summer, which gives him more opportunities to watch his horses in person. His horses compete primarily at Saratoga Casino and Raceway, which is a four-hour drive, and in Maine.
"I like the challenge of it,” Reepmeyer said about the sport. "Now I get to go a little more. I like to be involved. I go to all the sales. I like to be involved in buying; I like to be involved in all the decision-making in where to race them, what condition, who the drivers are. I'm pretty active in that.
"I think sometimes I probably drive trainers crazy,” Reepmeyer added, laughing. "They always tolerate it, but I'm not sure. I'm in contact with them pretty regularly. I look at a lot of horses and I watch a lot of races. I follow it pretty closely. It's exciting.”
Excitement that has Reepmeyer near the top when it comes to winning at the Meadowlands. (HRC)