Larry Hirsch, Highlander Training Center’s owner, is a longtime participant in the thoroughbred horse racing industry. Larry understands that effective early care and development of thoroughbreds is essential for horses to realize their full racing potential and remain sound throughout their racing careers. He is dedicated to making Highlander Training Center a premier training facility, which employs the best people in the industry working in the right environment to accomplish that goal. Larry has an extensive business background, including acting as CEO of two public Fortune 500 companies.
Jimmy “Scooter” Dodwell co-founded Highlander Training Center in July of 2017. He immediately began constructing a skilled team of riders, grooms, and trainers to continue his long history of training winning thoroughbreds.
For 17 years, Scooter worked with his father, Ed, breaking and training thoroughbreds at Diamond D Ranch. When Ed retired, Scooter assumed his duties as Head Trainer, which he carried out for 13 years before creating Highlander Training Center. Over the past 30 years, Scooter has produced horses who have won over 300 stakes races, including 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachael Alexandra.
Scooter specializes in breaking yearlings and the first two years of training. He has refined his method over the course of three decades of training and experience. Under his leadership, Highlander Training Center is capable of preparing young horses for the track, and forging them into champions.
Jon Newbold joined Highlander Training Center at its founding, bringing with him 41 years of industry experience. Over the course of his life, Jon has worked under the tutelage of industry greats such as Larry & Dee Waggoner, Albert Grant, and Jack Harmon, learning to develop horses into stakes winners. As Trainer & Ranch Manager at Highlander Training Center, Jon is responsible for oversight of ranch operations and assisting with the breaking process. Additionally, Jon makes sure to lead every set to the track personally, with the help of his pony horse Turbo.
Jose “Cuco” Mendez comes to Highlander Training Center with 28 years of training experience. His passion for horses became a career when he began working as a rider for Bobby Barnett in 1993. Cuco rode for Mr. Barnett at New Orleans, Oaklawn, LA Downs, and Lone Star Park for three years. He was then offered the position of assistant trainer for Cary Carter, which he held for 18 years, until Mr. Carter retired. After Mr. Carter’s retirement, Cuco became the head trainer for Royce Roberts. During his two year stay with Mr. Roberts, the horses Cuco trained collected over $516,000 in winnings.