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Best Thoroughbred Trainers 

Ralph and Raul Martinez

Imagine yourself at an Amsterdam hashish bar, staring across the table at a Pakistani tourist who knows about as much English as you know Pakistani. In order to communicate, you and your South Asian friend -- both of you baked -- are forced to rely on telepathy, gestures, rhythm of speech and expressiveness. This is tantamount to what it's like to communicate with a racehorse, and success is not easily achieved in either venture. But at Fairmount Park in Collinsville, trainer Ralph Martinez and his father/mentor/partner, Raul, have struck just the right chord with their steeds. The Martinezes' horses have won nearly 30 percent of the races they've entered -- a percentage roughly on par with a receiver catching 100 passes in a season or a baseball player hitting .350. More important, Martinez-trained horses are in the money approximately 70 percent of the time. In horse racing, safe bets are elusive. But thanks to the Martinez boys, smart money's no stranger to Fairmount when their ponies enter the paddock.

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