Columbus, MN —- QKS Racing and Schneider stables are ready for their Running Aces debut when the 2020 meet opens on Saturday (June 20).
Quentin Schneider is an Alberta native and he and his brother Rick grew up in the sulky sport in western Canada, where they helped their dad operate the family farm in Sherwood Park, just outside Edmonton. Quentin ventured out at age 21 and worked for some local trainers and began to drive at age 22, winning just one race in his first year but amassing nearly 500 wins over the next 20 years of campaigning. These days he likes to focus more on the training side of the business and has chalked up more than 600 wins as a trainer.
He and his wife Kimberley are the dynamic duo that makes up QKS Racing, and their stable operation is primarily made up of horses owned in whole or in part by them.
Kimberley, by contrast, was not born into racing or horses but did get exposure to both at a young age and became hooked on horses and then harness racing. The couple met through harness racing and immediately hit it off. They have been working together for 10 years and happily married for eight years now. They have built a full life together with a large family that is filled out by four-legged, 1,000 pound, hay munching ‘children’ that make up their harness racing stable. They currently have 15 horses on the barn roster.
Kimberley and Quentin have raced mostly in Alberta and California in recent years and will be making their Running Aces debut this season. They were ready for a change of scenery this summer and had heard nothing but positive things about Running Aces from fellow horsemen in both California and Canada.
With limited stall space available at Running Aces, the Schneiders opted to make their summer base of operations in Rice Lake, Wis., at the Barron County Fairgrounds, home to a half-mile harness track with a rich harness racing history. That was a decision that Kimberley is extremely happy to have made, and she noted, “We absolutely love our setup here in Rice Lake. We are in a beautiful barn which has a rich history and we have heard so many great stories about the many trainers who have stabled here over the years. We are so happy to now be a part of its history as well.”
She also praised the facilities and noted that the people they have met there are incredibly nice and helpful. Schneider and her horses also revel in the large turnouts, abundance of green grass and sunshine, too.
The QKS cast of equine characters play out their daily routines and shenanigans on the world stage before stepping into the spotlight on the racetrack. Kimberley has made a habit of sharing the daily activities of their ‘kids’ on her Facebook page and that initiative has turned out to be nothing short of sensational. From live-streams while getting their jogging miles in, to bath time, to turnout time, grass munching, snack eating, begging for treats or just ‘smiling’ and hamming for the camera, Kimberley gets it all on film. That’s right — I said ‘smiling’ — as Kimberley has taught many of her four-hooved children to smile for the camera.
I asked Kimberley what motivated her to share and post so much great stuff on Facebook and she said, “I want people to feel like they know them. So many people enjoy watching horse racing, and gamble on horse racing, but at the end of the day they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. The same is true for people who do not like horse racing, I wanted to give them a real insight into our world and show that there is so much more going on than the two minutes that people see in a race. These horses are our family, we love them so much and they are all unique individuals. They have so much personality and I want people to feel that connection with them other than just reading their name in a race program.“
The cast of characters includes “Twister,” who is the undisputed star of the show (Schneider says, “Just ask him, he’ll tell you he is the star.”) and a long list of other fun characters like “Roo-Roo,” “Thunder,” “Villa,” “Dum-Dum,” “OJ,” “June” and “Nora” to name a few.
Roo-Roo is Mystic Ruler, an 8-year-old pacing gelding by Camystic, and is considered one of the stable’s top performers currently. The Schneiders claimed him for C$5,000 in 2019 and he has turned a nice profit for them since, while also taking a 1:52.4 lifetime mark this winter at Cal-Expo.
Another interesting fact about Kimberley is that she loves to teach her Standardbreds to ride, and she does so for two reasons — one is because it is so much easier to find them a new home or a new job when they are done racing if they are trained for, and accustomed to, riding. The other reason is that Kimberley believes that it is good for their brains to do something different and get mental stimulation from a variety of activities.
The Schneider clan will also be represented by Richard ‘Ricky’ Schneider, who, like Quentin and Kimberley, is also making his Running Aces debut this season and has 12 horses based at Rice Lake. He has collected 200 driving wins and well over 500 training wins throughout his years in the sport and will be campaigning horses like Gene Eugene, Therealgoods, Lookslikewemadeit, Chief Saratoga, and Budgie Smuggler among others.
Keep an eye out for the Schneiders and the QKS Racing cast of characters as they take on Minnesota when the Running Aces season kicks off this coming Saturday (June 20) at 1 p.m. (CDT).