The 72-year-old Iowa native stands all alone on top of the Fonner Park trainer standings, saddling three horses during
last weekend's opening two days of live thoroughbred horse racing.
All three won, including a spine-tingling, ding-dong battle in the $10,000 Grasmick Stakes when Song of Humor held off
Tribal Dreams to score with a half-length victory.
It was the tenth stakes triumph for Song of Humor, a 5-year-old Florida-bred gelding, since Gaede claimed him down at
Turfway Park in Kentucky, as a two-year-old, for a paltry $7500.
Since then, Song of Humor has picked up earnings of over $150,000 and is now being pointed for the Tondi Stakes and
the Dowd Mile, to be run over the next two months.
Up until last week, Gaede couldn't recall ever having a perfect start to a new campaign. This is his 25th year as a fulltime
conditioner, "But I can remember going oh-for-42 at the beginning of a Fonner season. Then I won 12....real quick," said Gaede.
Like most horsemen, Gaede grew up around livestock, especailly horses. He still owns a farm and an acreage
outside Plainfield, in northeast Iowa, located 70 miles west of Dubuque. As he puts it, "about a seven hour drive from here."
Initially, Gaede wanted to be a jockey but his career on the county fair circuit never survived his teenage years
back in the late 1950's.
"Dad always had horses and I always took care of them, so here I am," said Milt, "and as long as I can
keep going this is where I'll be. I've got nothing else to do."
Gaede currently stables ten head here at Fonner and credits his youngest son, Les, for doing most of the work around the barn.
Another son, Jake, takes care of things back home during the racing season, but occassionally shows up on weekends to offer a hand.
In recent years, Gaede has acquired the nickname "Magic Milt" as a result of some reclamation projects that have transpired
into some remarkable horse-stories.
A private sale resulted in the $1700 purchase of Tenth Power. In three years, under Gaede's tutelage, he became a multiple-stakes
winner while accumulating over $100,000 in earnings. Late last summer Tenth Power was lost through the claiming box for $10,000.
Milt's favorite horse was the speedy filly, Another Audible, who won two stakes races in Lincoln, and picked up a quick
$54,000 (and change) while racing just one season back in 2007. After giving birth to three foals, a one-race comeback in 2011
proved to be unsuccessful.
Physical problems limited Another Audible's career to just 12 starts, netting seven wins and two seconds. And now,
a three-year-old named Kim's Star, the only horse out of Another Audible, by Autonomy, that Gaede ever got to the track, await's it's
first Fonner start.
Milt just smiles when asked if Kim's Star has been blessed with mom's speed.
Oh baby, Milt Gaede, have you done it again?
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Veteran rider Luis Ranilla returns to Fonner this weekend after receiving a temporary, 30-day license from the Nebraska Thoroughbred
Racing Commission. State Steward Bob Pollock indicated that some paperwork issues involving a working-visa
has complicated Ranilla's return from his native country of Peru. Jose Ranilla, the son of Luis, was allowed to ride last weekend
but faces similar problems and according to Pollock, "Should sort themselves out in the next couple of weeks."