Hi Horse Racing Today, my name is Nathan, I’m 18 years old and currently a freshman in the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program
“How Did You Get into Horse Racing?”
It started with horse riding which I began doing as a form of therapy in kindergarten. But the Horse Racing love started in November of 2010 when I was at my grandma’s house and saw the 2010 Breeders Cup Marathon the very first horse race I ever saw. Another major race that kicked off my love was the 2011 Kentucky Derby. I still love Animal Kingdom to this day and am grateful to have a signed frame of him and Graham Motion in my room back at home.
“What Is Your Dream Job in Horse Racing?”
My dream job has always been being a race caller. It was something that I always wanted to do ever since I got introduced to the sport. When I was really little I always tried to mimic the phrases the callers would use particularly Trevor Denman whose unique voice and style I immediately latched on to and quoted. I’ve heard similar stories from my fellow racing friends but almost all of them found a new part of Horse Racing they loved more. But I haven’t let my eyes off it so far and I don’t plan on it now.
“Favorite Horse of All Time And Why?”
Seabiscuit without a doubt and it’s not even close. There have been horses who ran better than him and there have even been other racing underdogs before and after he raced. But no horse’s story was ever as amazing as his. It had everything a classic hero would need. He is in my opinion the perfect underdog story without any equal because he didn’t just win, he won the entire United States over and never let them down. Seabiscuit was also one of the first movies I ever watched that I fell in love with almost instantly which is a big help as well. Some people grew up with Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, but I grew up with Tobey Maguire as Red Pollard.
“Favorite Active Horse and Why?”
Beverly Park and Cody’s Wish are easy choices for me. Cody’s Wish has been one of the best stories in Horse Racing in a long time. And Beverly Park is a true hard-working animal who mastered the simple art of winning. Something I greatly admire in a horse racing world where not every horse racing star gets to show off their full potential.
“Favorite Jockey and Why?”
Seabiscuit comes back with Red Pollard and George Wolfe both being favorites of mine. I always remembered loving Red in the movie and I as I grew older, I began to understand how tough his life really was but how determined he remained. A very tragic hero but still very much a hero of mine. Gary Stevens also deserves a nod for his role as George Wolfe because I also grew up with him as a broadcaster on NBC for the Derby at the same time and even got to see him come back in the saddle and win the Preakness in 2013.
“Favorite Active Jockey and Why?”
Johnny Velasquez is a jockey I always look back on super fondly. A close second would be Mike Smith thanks to the Jockey’s series on Animal Planet. But Johnny V being the winning jockey in my first horse race (and Breeders Cup Race) as well as the Kentucky Derby puts him ahead of me. Because he was there since the very beginning of my love for this sport.
“Favorite Track and Why?”
I haven’t gone to nearly as many racetracks as I wish but my favorite so far has got to be Churchill Downs. Being the source of my first memories of horse racing is one part of it that I’ve said plenty of times about my other favorite parts of the sport but the prestige while going there is also amazing. The museum at the track is a great adventure to go through and I end up appreciating new things each time I go. It’s just such a beautiful place.
“If you oversaw Horse Racing, what would be the first thing you would change?”
With such power, I’d probably do something radical, either get rid of the graded stakes system so that races would be judged more on the fields within them instead of a number beside them. Or bring back the Triple Crown series and the American Championship Racing Series of the 90s. The TCS would certainly make horse racing a lot more competitive during that brief span, but the ACRS would make the older horse division more competitive the whole year which could bring back more 3-year-olds to be 4-year-olds and make races for older horses more competitive and less spaced out then it currently is.
“Favorite Type of Bet and Why?”
I’ve never been much of a handicapper definitely a lot less than most horse racing fans but typically if I am betting, I try to get a box in there. Very simple but when you get them together it’s pretty satisfying.
“Biggest Win Betting on Horses”
It’s not much but the 2015 Perfect Sting Stakes gave me my biggest payout I bet 5 bucks on Daring Kathy and I ended up making 35 bucks from it. I was only 10 years old at the time and I never have done better although someday I could.
“Tell Us About the Best Experience Meeting Someone Inside of Horse Racing?”
Not necessarily just one individual but all the people I met during the 2022 Racing Symposium. There were so many spectacular people all in one place to talk to about horse racing. The two big ones for me were gushing to Aaron Gryder about how much I enjoyed him in Animal Planets Jockeys/his rides on Calidoscopio and him buying me a Coke afterward.
Or the brief exchanges I had with Tom Durkin after listening to his incredible announcer panel alongside Dave Johnson and coordinator Pete Aiello (who I also had an amazing time with as he became my mentor at the Symposium all around amazing dude and great knowing he’s on my side). We didn’t get to say a lot, but I told him about how I had previously met him in 2019 when he did Museum Tours and wanted to see if I had gotten any taller. As well as my aspirations of being an announcer myself. He simply just told me “You Go” like “You go out there and you make that dream happen.” And it concluded on a lovely note “maybe next time we meet you’ll be taller than me.” Will have to see if I still have a growth spurt in me.