Backstretch Worker of the Year-Laurel Park: Antonio Salazar

Antonio Lopez Salazar has been named the Laurel Park Backstretch Worker of the Year for 2020.

Salazar, who currently resides near Laurel with his wife and two children, began working for trainer Phil Schoenthal in 2014 and remains in that position today. Previously, Salazar worked for Leo Nechamkin at Laurel for five to six years before Nechamkin, currently an owner, retired from training.

Salazar, who has worked with stakes winners Sonny Inspired and Elevated Vision for Schoenthal, is known for being conscientious in the barn. “To my memory he has never missed a day he was scheduled to work,” Schoenthal said. “He really likes the horses.”

Salazar, 38, is a native of Mexico who has worked for about 20 years with horses. He worked in Florida and New York before moving to Maryland.

“I really like everything about my job—that’s why I’m still doing it,” Salazar said. “I like to see them race. It’s very exciting. I’ve worked for Phil for about seven years now, and he makes everything easy. He’s a very nice guy. When you have a good boss it’s easy to like your job.”

Schoenthal said Salazar was presented with an opportunity to accept a job as a maintenance man at a private school but opted to remain working for him “because he really just liked taking care of the horses.”


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