5 in Front: Paige Austin
MILTON, January 31, 2023 – Twice monthly until April, a familiar Woodbine Mohawk Park horse person will step into the spotlight to answer a handful of fun, offbeat questions, while giving readers a unique perspective into their personality on and off the racetrack.
As a lifelong lover of horse racing, it’s no surprise that Paige Austin is excelling as a new harness trainer. Austin and fiancé James MacDonald together own trotter Hasty Bid, whom she trains. Hasty Bid wrapped up 2022 with a total of eight starts and two wins, most notably the William Wellwood consolation on August 27.
As your dad was a trainer, (Mark Austin) you must’ve been around the sport your whole life. Have you always wanted to be a trainer?
“I knew I always wanted to be around horses for sure. I guess the trainer thing just kind of came up later, I never really planned on that. I always wanted to go to school and get a degree. But I'm glad it came into effect later.”
What are you most looking forward to this year?
“I’m mostly looking forward to our two-year-old Hasty Bid coming back at three. I hope he comes back as good as he was at two. But we'll see. He's just coming back in now and starting to jog again. The next couple of months will be exciting to see if he's good enough for this year too.”
I hear that you’re also a nurse. Are there things you’ve learned as a nurse that you apply as a trainer or vice versa?
“I would say looking after horses kind of applies to looking after people. Both need to be taken care of. I sometimes wish horses could tell us what’s wrong though.”
If you could go to any concert tomorrow, who would you see?
“I was actually just at Crash my Playa, a country music festival in Mexico that was really fun. So, somebody country for sure. Tim McGraw or Garth Brooks, somebody like that.”
You’re going to a desert island, and you can only bring 3 things. What are you bringing?
“If I could include a person, I would bring James [MacDonald] with me. Definitely some snacks, I’m a sucker for potato chips. And I actually watched Top Gun Maverick a little while ago and I’m super obsessed with it, so I’d probably bring that movie.”
In James’ 5 in Front interview last May, he said his greatest fear was Styrofoam. Is this a fear you share?
“I’m definitely not scared of Styrofoam, that is his fear only. I really don’t like mice… they really freak me out. That’s probably my biggest fear.”