TEXAS TUESDAY – ALLEN AND SONJA DUPUY
By Martha Claussen
Allen Dupuy has spent his entire life around horses. He rode in the bush tracks in Louisiana for more years than he can even remember and was one of the original members of the Sam Houston Race Park jockey colony when the northwest Houston racetrack opened in 1994.
It’s far from easy to make the transition from being a jockey to training racehorses, but in his own quiet way, Dupuy is doing it just fine. Historically, Dupuy was never much for talking after his Sam Houston wins on some pretty amazing horses, including track-record holder Bucharest, among others. He still feels the same way about publicity as a trainer!
Don Simington, who rode with Dupuy for decades in Texas and Louisiana, watched the post-race interview on Saturday, February 21 after Dupuy’s trainee Redatory triumphed in the $75,000 Houston Turf.
“I could see him squirming,” commented Simington. “But its great to see him doing so well now that he is training these good horses.”
Truthfully, Dupuy did a very good job in the interview, talking about the success of Redatory, who is now a five-time stakes winner, with four victories on the turf.
DeShawn Parker, the incredibly talented veteran rider who guided Redatory to a 4 ¼ length victory in the Houston Turf, told Dupuy how impressed was by Redatory’s late kick in the final eighth of a mile.
A very nice acknowledgment also came from James Wessel, who bred and owns Redatory.
“I want to thank Allen and Sonja for taking such good care of the horse,” he said.
Behind every racehorse there is a team, which begins with the breeder and owner. The trainer and jockey are often acknowledged, but sometimes we do not give enough credit to the remainder of the team on the backside that work hard seven days a week.
Allen Dupuy’s “assistant” is his wife, Sonja, who he married 29 years ago.
Sonja met Dupuy back in 2003 when he was riding in Louisiana.
“I had never been around horses before we began dating,” she admitted. “In fact, I was kind of scared of them!”
But that changed fairly quickly in 2004, when Allen hung up his tack and began training.
“I became the groom, hotwalker and everything else,” she said. “Allen taught me everything.”
Redatory might be the star of the 16-horse Dupuy barn at Sam Houston Race Park, but Sonja is hands-on with each of the Thoroughbreds.
“I love them all equally,” she stated.
When the Sam Houston Race Park season wraps on March 28, the Dupuys will load up their camper and trailer and hit the road. In 2019, Dupuy’s horses competed at Evangeline Downs, Delta Downs, Retama Park, Lone Star Park and Remington Park.
But before they depart, Houston racing fans will get to see Redatory defend his title in the $75,000 Richard King Stakes on Texas Champions Day, Saturday, March 21.
The 5-year-old son of Oratory, who was honored by the Texas Thoroughbred Association as Champion 2-Year-Old in 2017 will be feted as 2019 Champion Older Horse in the TTA Awards Ceremony.
Maybe Allen Dupuy will come around to liking post-race interviews and publicity on Redatory and other stakes winners to come. But if not, at least he is getting some well-deserved recognition for his accomplishments as both a jockey and trainer!
Martha Claussen has been prominent in the Texas racing industry since 1997 as a publicist, writer and handicapper.