If the bugler’s call to post is music to your ears, perhaps a trip to horse racing school to prepare for a race track career will prove rewarding.
A good place to prepare for such a career is the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. Established in 1974, the program offers two different academic pursuits.
One program prepares students for industry business, which includes careers in track management, regulation, and pari-mutuel operations.
Students interested in regularly working with horses will enroll in the Equine Management Path, which prepares students for careers in racing and breeding horses or greyhounds.
The RTIP focuses on a business education, emphasizing integrity and professionalism. Students gain experience through internships in racing and interaction with guest lecturers.
The program also offers personal mentoring, deep ties to alumni working in the industry, and professional development opportunities.
Since its creation in 1974, the RTIP has seen its staff increase from a single instructor to four instructors and two full-time staff members, and several student office employees.
During the early 1970s a group led by the late Frank Vessels Jr., of Los Alamitos Race Course, thought a program preparing students for racing careers would be a good idea. Looking for a school located in a state with year-round racing--and based on interest by schools--the University of Arizona became the RTIP’s home.
In the United States, horse racing includes Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds (harness), Quarter Horses and other breeds. Also, greyhound racing is offered in several states.
According to the RTIP site, the first class included 15 students, no books, and three classes. But within three years, the program’s students increased to 25, an additional class was added, and the program was on its way to its current stature.
“Many of us dream about being actively involved with the sport we love, horse racing. The Arizona program fulfills those dreams,” said Dan Fick on the program’s web site. Fick is executive director of the Jockey Club.
With more than 500 graduates working in the industry, the RTIP has deep contacts. A list of alumni is included on the program’s website. On the racing end, the school boasts top trainers like Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher. The program also boasts Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association Chief Executive Officer Remi Bellocq and numerous racetrack executives.
Each winter the RTIP hosts one of the most important industry gatherings, the Symposium on Racing and Gaming. The symposium attracts experts and officials from throughout the world on Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Quarter Horse, and greyhound racing.
The symposium also welcomes experts on pari-mutuel wagering and industry trends. RTIP students participate on symposium committees.
The RTIP also maintains an excellent websiteon the symposium, documenting the discussions that take place.
Applying to the RTIP is similar to applying to other college programs. For more information, click here.