Skip to main content


Racehorse King Hazelton Honors Noted Trainer and his Son

As a commentator for FanDuel TV at Keeneland, Scott Hazelton roams the Saddling Paddock on race days to analyze horses and interview people. Before the second race on April 19, however, he stepped away from the microphone to watch a horse he co-owns, King Hazelton, prepare for his career debut.

King Hazelton was named for Scott’s late father, Richard Hazelton, who won 4,745 races primarily at Chicago-area tracks and at his winter base of Turf Paradise in Phoenix before his death at age 88 in 2019. Known as “King Richard,” he ranks 11th all time by victories among trainers. 

Trainer Kenneth Spraggins considered the elder Hazelton his mentor and befriended his son and wanted to name a horse after the trainer.

“Kenny came up to me not long after he signed the ($105,000 sale) ticket at the (2022) Keeneland September Yearling Sale and asked if it would be OK to name the horse after my father,” Hazelton said. “I said ‘Absolutely. He would hate it, so go on and do it.’  He hated attention.” 

Flattered by Spraggins’ gesture, Hazelton was even more touched when the trainer gifted him a portion of the gelding’s ownership for his young daughters. King Hazelton races for the ownership group of Spraggins, Marilyn Palazzo and Scott Hazelton. 

Hazelton said concentrating on King Hazelton in the Paddock brought back strong memories of similar moments with his father. 

“It was different to only pay attention to one horse in a race,” he said. “My father ran horses in my name when I was younger, but in these 20 years of broadcasting, racing has taken a different shape for me. The only thing going on in the Saddling Paddock (for me) at that time was that horse. I just focused on him. I didn’t pay attention to anything else.”

King Hazelton, who was ridden by Jorge Ruiz, finished last in the field of 12. He is expected to make his next start at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where Spraggins is stabled. 

Unfazed by King Hazelton’s performance, Hazelton said the experience magnified his lifelong belief that Thoroughbred racing is different from all other sports because of the horses.

“We encourage people to get involved because there is that connection to the horse,” he said. “These horses can touch you every step of the way in many aspects. The way horses have the ability to bring people together is unmatched – through ownership, being at the sales and races. There are very few things in life that bring people together the way these horses do.”