Jon & Krista Henningsgard love Arabian racing. As newer owners, they were thrilled that amateur jockey, Sarah Leutweiler, won the March 9, HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship Houston race on their mare, DC Wileys Song. How did they come to be in the winners’ circle on that March evening in 2013? Krista Henningsgard tells the story.
“Being an avid horse person and having grown up riding my whole life overseas it was easy for me to fall in love with the Arabian horse. Convincing my husband we needed to get into the horse breeding and racing business was not as easy. With 5 kids, school and sports activities ,he was less than optimistic we could fit this into our already busy life. I had my work cut out for me!”
“Our introduction to Arabian horses came when we were fortunate enough to be introduced to Dan and Claudia Spears (Diamond Crest Arabians). As our friendship grew so did our interest and appreciation for the Arabian breed and racing. Not having either breeding or racing experience we leaned on Dan and Claudia for advice and knowledge. Some of the best advice given to us by them has been the foundation to building Uptown Arabians. ‘Quality over quantity, run it like a business and always think of your herd as building a great athletic team.’”
“After my husband caught the fever and being a college athlete, he then couldn’t wait to get a runner in the game so we quickly purchased our first two horses. One of these was 3-year-old DC Willey’s Song (Doran SBFAR x Wibwilcca by Wilkolak). We knew we had a very special filly, and fortunately, our high hopes for Uptown Arabians was shared by our trainers, Jerenesto Torres and Ron Martino.”
“Now with my husbands competitive spirit primed, we began building a solid foundation for Uptown Arabians by acquiring exceptional broodmares and top breedings. We are very excited about Uptown’s future runners: Our first colt, Uptown Dannys Boy, a yearling showing all the great attributes that you would expect from a Dam of black type and a Darley champion and a legend like Burning Sand (Burning Sand x Wibwilcca by Wilkolak); Uptown Spring Break (NF Proof x Dynaglide by Chndaka); and Thoroughleap (Thoroughbred x A Noble Leap by Patriot Missle).”
“We feel fortune being relatively new to Arabian horse racing to have met some great industry veterans like Todd and Rene Moak, Lynn and Mark Ashby, Ed Wilson and Denise Gault to name a few, who have been more than gracious with their time, counsel and friendship. It’s clear the people we have met involved in the Arabian racing business are special people and have welcomed us with open arms.”
“Our horses are our passion. We love the Arabian breed because of their speed, refinement, endurance and strong bones. I definitely feel a connection with all of our horses having spent many hours working with each and every one of them since foaling. It is easy connect with a breed that is quick to learn and willing to please which are wonderful traits of these amazing animals.”
Uptown Arabians is located in Waller, Texas. “About 30 miles from the Sam Houston Race Park.”