CJ Marinaccio, Founder / Lead Trainer
CJ started riding horses when she was four and grew up riding 3-day eventers. At 17, she was working as an assistant for a saddle seat trainer and eventually for his daughter until she was 26. After learning the intricacies of training, she moved to Northern California to manage a riding stable full of jumpers, dressage, and western horses. Eventually the racetrack called her, where she worked for three years as an assistant trainer. Returning to Southern California, CJ worked another three years as an assistant trainer, before switching focus to being a vet tech at the non-profit equine hospital at Santa Anita Racetrack. After two more years, she returned again to the track as a vet assistant.
As the trainer for WPH, CJ brings with her 33 years of experience with horses, 20 years of work experience, and 10 years of experience with thoroughbred racehorses. It is her dedication and true love for these animals that she works each day to ensure their future is bright.
CJ, Stephen, Karin & Leslie
Stephen Marinaccio, President
Stephen is not only the President of Win Place Home, Inc., he is a chief supporter of CJ and these great horses looking for a new life after the track. Relatively new to the world of horses, Stephen is inspired by the gentleness of these large animals. After meeting CJ and hearing about her dream for this organization, it was a foregone conclusion that Stephen would become involved and help form this wonderful charity organization.
Karin Klemic, Treasurer
Karin happily makes her living as a full-time archaeologist but the love of equines has been in her blood since birth. Her paternal grandfather was a bronc rider in the rodeo and a horse wrangler at the circus before teaching early western stars how to ride in Hollywood. He kept horses until his death and Karin would spend hours sitting on the fences of the corrals and walking the fields with them whenever she visited. Her maternal grandfather was raised with horses on a family farm in Maryland where her great-aunt taught horsemanship and riding throughout her life.
Although Karin never owned a horse herself she would eagerly await the annual week spent at the Meadows of Moorpark Equestrian Camp. There she would dabble in the worlds of dressage, cross-country eventing and even vaulting while caring for a horse "all her own". Although the girls that actually owned horses always seemed to win the camp shows that was not what was important to Karin. To her it was about the time spent with horses and the people who loved them. It was there amidst the dust, sweat and heat that she and our founder, CJ, took the first steps down a life-long path of friendship...steps taken in muck boots...through a pond...to sit alone on a jump on the "island" to talk about life and horses.
Leslie McMichael, Secretary
Leslie is an Senior Administrative Analyst at the UCLA Library. In that capacity she has varied assignments, one of the best was being part of saving the archives from and about Hollywood Park. Racetracks were their own in-house production teams for every kind of media imaginable, creating a repository of film clips and win photos, programs and media guides, All of these records, so important to tell the story of the track, the people who worked there, and the horses that raced there—the story of the sport of horse racing from Hollywood Park was ingested by the UCLA Library.
Leslie's horse experience is zilch, has rode horse a few times, but was never the kid that wanted a horse, always admired them from afar. When the founder of WPH, CJ came into her life her opportunities to be around horses and learn about them grew and was a really magical experience. So much so she wants her own horse, but wants to start small, a mini horse and would name him Rudy.
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