Columbus, OH — From a young age, Isaiah Shrake always had a passion for racehorses. Little did he know that at the age of 19 he would co-own and train a rising Ohio-bred star in the 3-year-old pacing filly Rockin Farrari.
Shrake first started going to the races as an 11-year-old with Aunt Sherree Cox who raced at Northfield Park.
“I would travel to watch her pacing mare Coupon Lady compete,” said Shrake.
Along with watching his family race, fair time was fun time for the aspiring horseman, enjoying the sights and sounds of the horses on the track warming up before each race.
A graduate of Canton McKinley High School, Shrake was heavily involved in not just the daily grind of high school athletics, but taking care of a 2-year-old trotting filly named Foolmegypsy, who was trained by his uncle, Jeff Cox.
“I would start around six to get her jogging, and get the stall clean before heading to school,” said Shrake. “From there I would have a normal school day, then drive back to the fairgrounds to make sure my filly was good, then back to school for athletics.”
Shrake began jogging horses when he was 15 and at the time was too young to get his trainer’s license. In 2019, his uncle Jeff suggested that he get his trainer’s license so he could start being listed on his own horses.
“The entire family inspired me to go for it and accomplish my goal of becoming a trainer,” said Shrake. “They have all been great trainers to look up to and help me along the way.”
Rockin Farrari (Rockin Amadeus-Look Close) would kick off the first of three straight victories for Shrake on May 29 at MGM Northfield Park against conditioned company. After getting being parked to the first quarter, driver Kurt Sugg took back into fourth allowing the fractions to settle upfront. Sugg tipped Rockin Farrari to the outside and took dead aim at the leaders after the half-mile pole. He would fight the remainder of the mile with Sugarpie Honey Bee, but through the stretch was able to get by the early leader, winning by a length.
“My first win was unbelievable, I did not expect to win my first start either,” said a jubilant Shrake. “Things like this is what we work for; this feeling is the greatest feeling.”
For Shrake, the win had even more meaning as he personally picked Rockin Farrari out before purchasing her for $5,700 at the 2018 Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale.
Shrake would go on to win two more starts with Rockin Farrari, including a victory in a $17,500 Buckeye Stallion Series race at Eldorado Scioto Downs, before tasting defeat for the first time on Sunday (June 28) when finishing fifth at Northfield Park.
A humble Shrake credits his uncle for helping him with Rockin Farrari and helping him get where he is today as a trainer. He also credits drivers Kurt Sugg and Brett Miller for always giving Rockin Farrari the best chance to win.
“This feeling I will remember forever, having my first ever training start come out as a winner to also winning a leg in the Buckeye Stallion Series in the same year.”
Shrake hopes to have his own stable one day to create a legacy that will make his family proud.
“I started my first semester at Stark State and took three classes at the time, but I had to remember that I still had barn work to do,” said Shrake. “I am still just unsure about college at this point in my life past this semester.”
He plans on getting his driver’s license in 2021, during some of the fair races, after gaining more experience and being more aware of his surroundings on the track.
“I need more fast training miles in the bike before I can even think of entering a race,” he said.
Shrake says he looks up to fellow driver Daren Harvey who has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to learning to drive in a race.
As for future accomplishments, Shrake says that he has already accomplished a few of his goals, but wants to take as much advice as he can from others and put that towards his horses to improve his own status as a trainer.
“If you love what you do every day, it won’t even feel like work when you get into it. If you treat the horses right, then they will show you respect as a trainer,” said Shrake.