by Victoria Howard
Working hard and having patience does pay off. Just ask Emily Pursell.
Pursell has a dream job, working as the farm manager at Diamond Creek farm in Pennsylvania. Every day she gets to mingle with some of harness racing’s top stallions, such as Captain Crunch, Father Patrick, Bettors Wish, Sweet Lou, Always B Miki and Heston Blue Chip.
What does Pursell enjoy most about working with some of harness racing’s four-legged stars?
“My favorite part of my everyday routine is getting to work with the stallions and learning all their different personalities and quirks.
“Horses are just like people, for they each have their own personality and disposition. Such as: Captain Crunch – He is the athlete of the bunch. He’s always on his toes, whether it be in the stallion shed or getting some exercise in his paddock. He lets one and all know who he is.
“Father Patrick — He is the ‘wisest’ of them all. He never misses a beat and expects the same from you.
“Bettors Wish — is the playful one. He has the best temperament and can make friends with anyone or any horse.
“Always B Miki – Here at the farm we call him, ‘The Gentle Giant.’ He is 16’3 hands and as big a beast as he is, Miki has the kindest eye and the utmost respect for his handlers.
“Sweet Lou – is the ‘handsome one,’ for as anyone who owns or knows his offspring, they mostly all have the legendary white blaze. Thus, his kids that are on the farm are the most colorful. This stallion catches your eye, as does his offspring, and you can find them easily with some variation of daddy’s white blaze. Lou is also the businessman for he is always ‘on point’ in the breeding shed.
“And then, last but not least, is Heston Blue Chip, who by far is the most level-headed. He knows when it is time to go to work, but he’s also very laid back and an all-around happy horse.”
As far as the ladies:
“I currently have most of the maiden mares for Diamond Creek Farms here with me. This year fresh off the track ready for their new career as a mama is: Altar, Blood Oath and Heart Of Mine.”
Many yearlings have been bred, raised and sold from Diamond Creek Farm. The latest and most talked about is the filly Exile who was sold in 2021 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for a whopping $800,000.
“Exile is now a 2-year-old in training and we are excited and looking forward to seeing what she can do on the track,” Pursell said.
Born in Tiffin, OH, Pursell came from a small roots farm family, who were not involved in the standardbred industry.
“I grew up competing with my own horses and always knew I wanted to make a career in the equine industry, but I first had to finish college.
“After graduating from Ohio State University, I began interning at Diamond Creek Farm in 2018. I worked hard and worked my way up to farm manager.
“My duties as a farm manager here at Diamond Creek (PA) are managing the breeding shed and overseeing the stallions and mares.”
“Currently 40 horses reside here so there is always something going on and needing done.
“Diamond Creek is a great place to work at because of the environment and people there. We offer the opportunity to learn just about anything from the basics of horses to the details of producing a champion racehorse.
“Hard work, consistency, progress, and a positive attitude are all the things we pride ourselves on having. Striving to reach the high standards of being ‘a cut above’ is just a little part of what keeps everyone who works at Diamond Creek so close.
“Leaving your horse in the care of Diamond Creek is a wise choice, for each horse is cared for equally — but are also tended to its individual needs.
“Routine maintenance of each horse is kept up on and the clients are updated weekly on the horses’ status and how they are doing — whether they are here to be bred, foal out, or prepped for a sale.”
As far as Pursell owning a horse, she said, “I do own a part in one of our mares here — Catamaran Fashion. She is a 4-year-old mare by Always B Miki out of Galliebythebeach. She is presently in foal to Tall Dark Stranger.
“I’m super-excited, yet a bit anxious. This is a new chapter in my life and I couldn’t be happier.”