Bettering the quality of life for backstretch workers


How many Exercise Riders have gotten on 26 horses in one day, worked for the same trainer for 32 years and been married to the same woman for 43 years?  Meet Macario “Lobo” Sandoval.  The genial father of three, and his wife, Elodia, have seemingly overcome difficult times and are now enjoying more quality time with each other, after a difficult beginning.

Macario has been an Exercise Rider for 48 years — the last 32 years with trainer John Sadler.  His California career began in 1982 at Los Alamitos, as did his first use of the Los Alamitos Medical/Dental clinic.  It was a small trailer in those days, known by few.  Elodia, along with Juan Angel, Sophia and Dominic, were still living in Tijuana, and, with business lacking, he soon returned to join them and exercise horses at Caliente Race Track.

In 1984, Macario returned to California to exercise horses for trainer Hector Palma at Pomona.  Staying in California, he also freelanced for trainers Laurie Anderson and Riley Cofer, before being hired full time by Sadler in 1985.  Elodia and Macario would try and see each other at least every two weeks, with Macario usually traveling to Tijuana for weekend visits.

After a few years, Sadler saw enough in the quality of person that Macario is, to offer him the job of Stable Foreman.  Macario accepted and began looking after John’s horses and employees at the track then not running, while Sadler’s main string remained at the “host” track.  In addition to these local duties, Macario was also given the opportunity to be the first to arrive with John’s horses for major stakes races around the country.  John would follow on race day.  All of this involved tremendous responsibility and long hours.

In about 1995, with his family now located in Monrovia, Macario became weary of the time required along with responsibilities and asked John if he could back off and go back to just exercising John’s horses.  John agreed and Macario has been doing just that ever since.

We have introduced you to Macario and Elodia because they have been “regulars” at the Santa Anita and Los Alamitos clinics for over 30 years.  While Macario has been fortunate to be fairly healthy, using the clinic for routine visits with the doctor, dentist or optometrist, Elodia hasn’t been so fortunate.

Elodia and Macario were assisted financially with her pregnancy in 1995, a 2007 appendectomy, where she almost died, and a perforated intestine in 2016.  For the latter surgery, Elodia was in the hospital for some 60 days, and in Intensive Care for three weeks.  Macario visited her every day, without fail.

While doctors at the Arcadia Methodist Hospital saved her life, Elodia and Macario admit that, without the assistance of the CTHF, which paid the vast majority of the costs, they don’t know what they would have done.

John Sadler has high praise for Marcario, saying “He is an exceptional person and a key employee.  He is always on time, has a great attitude, and no one is nicer than Macario.  He is a true friend.”

Macario said, “Thank God for the CTHF clinics, employees and professionals.  I don’t know what we would have done without the clinic.  All of the people at the CTHF are kind and caring.  The CTHF is a great resource for all backstretch workers and their families.  We feel so very fortunate.”

After 48 years of exercising horses, Macario is looking forward to some day “retiring from the saddle.”  Even after he does, our clinics, our doctors, our dentists, and our employees, will be there for him.

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