By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: When he was eight years old playing minor hockey in Richmond, Keith Pedersen’s best friend was Brent Nielsen. Brent’s dad Ole coached the team.
That would be the same Ole Nielsen of Canmor Farms fame who is today an honoured member of the BC Horse Racing Hall of Fame and President of the BC Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association.
So, you know where this is heading, right? Young Keith and Brent would make trips to Hastings Racecourse as kids and soon enough Keith was hooked.
“I was walking horses when I was 14 years old and asked Harold Barroby for a job when I was 15,” Pedersen says. “That’s when I got the itch to become a trainer. Harold taught me everything there was to know about training. He was my mentor and is one of the finest gentlemen I’ve ever known.”
Keith didn’t acquire his trainer’s licence until 2006 after leaving the track for 10 years to help make ends meet at home. He and his wife Vanessa raised two sons in Richmond, where family headquarters remains today.
Keith’s love of the thoroughbreds and the overall racing scene lured him back to Hastings and for the past four years he has been establishing himself as an aspiring trainer who currently has 10 horses in his care. One of them, Shooting Jacket, owned by Hastings Racing Club One, won the Marathon Series last year.
“We’re doing okay,” Pedersen says. “I have two people working for me full-time and Vanessa helps out on a part-time basis. We’ve had five wins this year and we’re looking forward to having Whiskey Bound running in the Chris Loseth on June 30.”
Whiskey Bound, owned by Kim Peacock and Lance Giesbrecht, has won twice this season for Pedersen, as has Silvertown, owned by Ken Johnson.
As for his budding hockey career under coach Nielsen, Keith says while he had some talent stopping pucks he was “too small” as a goaltender to think in terms of a professional career.
“There aren’t any King Richard Brodeurs around anymore,” he jokes. “The NHL goalies today are all big guys who fill most of the net. I’m happy where I am.”