- What attracted you to the horse racing industry?
The first time I visited a racetrack, my mother was pushing me around in a stroller at Belmont Park when I was 6 months old in 1991. While I have no memory of being at the 1993 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, my earliest memory of being at the track was rooting Julie Krone home in the upper part of the Monmouth Park grandstand at 4 years old. My uncle has been bringing me to Monmouth since I was a toddler, and I fell in love with racing immediately. My childhood basically consisted of growing up attending the races, primarily at Monmouth but also on road trips with my uncle to racetracks all over the eastern seaboard. It’s a passion that has never ceased and continues to grow with age.
2. What aspect of horse racing do you enjoy the most?
It’s a tie between handicapping and attending the races. I absolutely love the puzzle and process that is handicapping horse races. There is no greater satisfaction to me than correctly predicting the outcome of a horse race based on your own knowledge of handicapping and backing it up with money. The quest to be a master handicapper is a lifelong pursuit and one never actually stops learning along the way. And there’s no better place to put your skills to the test than being in the presence of these great animals competing in front of you at the racetrack. I’m at my happiest being at a racetrack, no matter where it is. Between the architecture of the facility, seeing horses up close in a tree-shaded paddock, hearing the sound of the starting gate crash open, watching races through binoculars, listening to the roar of the crowd cheering horses on during a pulsating stretch drive to an inseparable photo finish- there’s just nothing like experiencing live racing at a great racetrack.
3. Why did you join the Wasabi Ventures Co-Owner Club?
Given my fervent interest in live racing, I’ve always wanted to experience the thrill of owning a share of a racehorse. But I didn’t know when that time would come. A couple of years ago T.K. hosted a webinar on handicapping and playing Pick 5’s, and after the webinar he sent me a personalized e-mail encouraging me to join the club. When I saw that a friend of mine on Twitter was gifted a 2% share of a yearling purchased by Wasabi, I decided, “why the heck not!” So I bought myself a share of that same horse, who was eventually named Old Line Magic. It’s been a heckuva ride ever since with Wasabi, but I’m still chasing being in that winner’s circle photo with one of my horses!
4. Who is your favorite horse?
That would be American Pharoah. The stride that he possesses is truly a thing of beauty. Witnessing him win the Triple Crown at Belmont and experiencing the buzz surrounding my home track of Monmouth Park during Haskell weekend were lifetime moments for me. And the fact that he has such a gentle, kind, welcoming personality for a horse that was so dominant on the racetrack seals my adoration. I hope to visit him sometime in the near future.
5. What issues in the industry would you like to see addressed?
I really want to see everyone- particularly trainers- on a level playing field. Elimination of race-day medication, routine inspections/surveillance of barns, and significantly stiffer penalties for repeat medication violations than currently exist would help to restore some semblance of integrity. A national governing body of racing would go a long way to ensure standardization of rules and policies which unfortunately is unlikely to happen as long as state racing commissions and racetracks put their own interests ahead of what’s best for horse racing. Aside from the horse, industry leaders should cater to the horseplayer and owner first- racing’s primary sources of revenue- and everything else second. And racing needs to ensure that if we’re going to be breeding thousands of horses each year for the purpose of racing, that each horse will be taken care of after their careers are over. Significant strides have been made recently in aftercare, but more can certainly be done to prevent horses from falling through the cracks.