Terry Gabriel instills teamwork at Pelican State Thoroughbreds
by Gary McMillen
Terry Gabriel has mastered the art of deception. In his role of owner and manager of Pelican State Thoroughbreds, Gabriel is next to invisible. Hands thrust in his jacket pocket on a February morning, Gabriel steps between clusters of pine cones on the walking path from his two barns at the Folsom Training Center near Folsom, La., to the training track. At first glance Gabriel appears to be doing nothing. The reality is that nothing is being left undone.
Gabriel is a man who wears many hats, and they all seem to fit. With a surface effortlessness, he functions as a sales consignor, pinhooker, farm manager, trainer, and bloodstock agent. Gabriel does everything but change the oil in the tractors.
“This is a competitive business, and getting up early and working long hours is part of the drill,” the 55-year-old said while inspecting a delivery of fresh alfalfa. “On a horse farm where you are breaking babies and going off to sales almost every week, you don’t have time to be everywhere. At some point you have to hand it over to staff you can trust.”
There are eight hands on the Pelican State Thoroughbreds’ payroll. Two exercise riders, five grooms, and Gabriel’s assistant Jeremy Duit.
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