Guatemala native Edgar Herrera fell in love with racehorses shortly after his family moved to Illinois when he was 14 years old. His father found regular work on the backstretches of Chicago’s tracks and it wasn’t long before Edgar started cleaning stalls and gradually learning the harness racing ropes too. When the affable 27-year-old got an opportunity to move to Ohio with trainer Bob Phillips two years ago, he was anxious to spread his wings.
In addition to his normal caretaker barn duties, Herrera serves as Phillips’ second trainer and shipper as well. While Edgar appreciates his regularly weekly stipend for all his hard work, he is especially grateful for the chance Phillips gave him to drive enough qualifying races to earn his provisional drivers license last April.
While being a full-time catch-driver is not on his bucket list, finding his way to the winner’s circle at least once has been a goal he has dreamed about often.
The dream came true on Monday afternoon (Dec. 11) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway when Herrera guided the trotter Donnas Dream to a 1:57.3 gate-to-wire triumph in a $10,000 condition/claiming event. The 3-year-old filly from the Philllips Stable was sent directly to the front from the innermost post position and held off Bosston Tahoe (Jason Brewer) and Speed N Home (Kyle Wilfong) in the stretch, prompting a wide grin on Herrera’s face that was still evident an hour later.
"I may just retire from driving now," joked Edgar, "because I don’t want this feeling to ever go away. I can’t believe it!"
It took Herrera 52 drives to get his initial score, but the wait was well worth it. "I’m glad my parents moved us here. I love America! You can find work doing something you like, and make your dreams come true."
For Donnas Dream, it was her sixth lifetime victory and boosted her career earnings to $123,853. The daughter of Power Play is owned by the Blackfoot Farms of Illinois. (Hollywood Dayton)