Champion Show Jumper Michael Matz Followed His Heart Into Racing

Halfway through his career as a world champion show jumper, Michael Matz decided to try something new: thoroughbred racing.

The native of Shillington, Pa., can claim a broad range of accomplishments that no one else in the world can — a silver medal in show jumping at the 1996 Olympic Games and a 2006 Kentucky Derby victory as trainer of the beloved Barbaro.

Despite Michael’s unprecedented success in two vastly different arenas, all the credit, he says, goes to his horses.

“Good horses make good riders. And good horses make good trainers,” says Michael. “You just have to try to find those good horses. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to have one fall in your lap.”

Now with more than 40 years of experience in the industry, Michael, 69, is taking time to give back to other athletes — at least until he finds his next great horse.

Matz has trained Grade 1 Winners: Barbaro, Union Rags, Round Pond, Kricken Kris, and Somali Lemonade.

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