'Winning Ponies' welcomes rider John Mckee and Greta Kuntzweiler
March 17, 2011
Hosted by John Engelhardt
Born Aug. 21, 1981 in Cincinnati, Ohio, McKee now lives in Louisville with his wife and stepson. John's father, David, had been a jockey in the late 1970s and early '80s. "When I saw his win pictures," McKee told Maryjean Wall of the Lexington Herald-Leader about his father, "it was something that I always wanted to do after that." His father had known Eddie Campbell from his riding days and he suggested that his son approach Campbell to ask him to work with him. Campbell had been Steve Cauthen's first agent and was involved with the early development of veteran rider Earlie Fires. Campbell worked with McKee for almost a year before he thought McKee was ready to ride. He insisted that McKee get a lot of practice in the starting gate and be proficient at switching the whip from one hand to the other before he would give the youngster the green light. He lined up work in the mornings for McKee to exercise horses. By March, he decided McKee was ready. McKee got off to a fast start as a jockey. The now-28-year-old Ohioan, who began riding on March 15, 2002, topped the jockeys' standings at two racetracks and finished second at another before the year ended. McKee followed Pat Day's career when he was a youngster and the two later became good friends. "He's set a lot of examples for me," he said several months prior to Day's retirement. "I try to copy him and be the person and the jockey he is now. There's so much to learn from somebody like him." Steve Rieser is now McKee's agent. Born in Iowa on Sept. 7, 1975, Greta was the second of three children to Dr. Doug Kuntzweiler and his wife, Ann. When Greta was 9, her family moved to Montana, where, she said, she had a happy childhood. "Greta always had a love for horses, and she was riding by age 3 or 4," Ann Kuntzweiler said recently from San Francisco, where her other daughter, Erin, lives. "She was just infatuated with them. When we moved to Montana she finally had her own horse, and that started her on the road to her lifelong dream." She eventually got a job galloping horses on a farm in LaGrange, Ky. Her career in racing had begun. Kuntzweiler worked as an exercise rider for several years before riding in her first race at the 1999 Churchill Downs spring meet.
Thursday at 5 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
On the show we will talk about the Sport of Kings. We will delve into the different features of the WinningPonies.com website. John Engelhardt will talk about the issues of the day that affect horse racing, such as synthetic surfaces, medication rule changes, the fate of the industry as a whole, VLTs and Casinos, and human interest stories of triumph and defeat. You will also hear our spot play of the week, where John will handicap the feature races for the upcoming weekend, and will give out his best plays. We will keep you abreast racing’s big events. Featured on the show will be guests (trainers, jockeys, jockey’s agents, owners, and celebrity handicappers). Promotional giveaways will be featured, such as brand merchandise and free WinningCredits.
"Winning Ponies" is broadcast live every Thursday at 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.
You may recognize him as "Racing's Regular Guy." For ten years, John Engelhardt hosted the informative and sometimes irreverent handicapping show from his base at River Downs in Cincinnati, Ohio. He developed a passion for thoroughbred racing as a youngster at Saratoga, and has been able to make his love of the sport his life's calling.
Engelhardt, a native of Syracuse, New York is a graduate of the University of Dayton. His professional career in racing began as the track photographer at Beulah Park in 1983 and he has worked in racing ever since. John produced "The Stretch Run" for eight years, which aired on the CBS affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. For four years Engelhardt co-hosted "The Regular Guy Handicapping Show on HOMER 1530-AM in Cincinnati with former "Winning Ponies" host Ed Meyer.
John served as the President of the Turf Publicists of America in 2009 and 2010, after serving several years as the Midwest Vice-President of that organization. He is currently a consultant for Pinnacle Entertainment handling publicity, public relations, marketing, advertising and special events for River Downs. Under the "nom-de-course" of Heart of an Angel Stable, he has bred and owned thoroughbreds for 18 years.
"Racing's Regular Guy" has been exposed to racing on many levels and greets the sport with enthusiasm and well-rounded knowledge. Tune in Thursdays at 5PM PT, as he welcomes nationally recognized guests, who will help you find those "Winning Ponies.”