Autumn Charley: From Florida Farms to NY Tracks

This past year I had the opportunity to participate in two completely different internships that have broadened my perspective and experience in the racing industry. My first internship opportunity was with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association in Ocala, Florida. My internship with FTBOA was for the duration of 2016 fall semester.

While interning at FTBOA, I learned more about state bred incentive programs, the Florida Sire Stakes series program, the foal registration process, the publication of The Florida Horse magazine and the daily wire to wire newsletter and many more events that catered towards the breeders and owners in Florida. The four months I spent in Florida introduced me to an aspect of the racing industry that I have become very interested in.

I worked on different projects over the course of my internship, the majority was helping with the events and member services. I attended meetings with different venues, sponsors, and organizations that involved different community events regarding the horse industry in Ocala. A couple of the events at which I represented the FTBOA were the Farm City Week Legislature day and the University of Florida’s Equine Ag Extension day. The Farm City week event was to promote the Thoroughbred/ agriculture community in Marion County, illustrate how the industry is thriving and what kind of impact it has on the county. The event brought out the Mayor as well as other politicians who were serving or running for office. The event was hosted on a fully operational Thoroughbred training and consigning operation.

Aside from the long days in the office checking Florida Sire Stakes eligibility of yearlings who sold at the Ocala Breeders Sale, proofing thousands of new foal registrations, and working on the media for the Florida Thoroughbred charity, my favorite moment by far was the trip to Gulfstream Park. The trip was to watch the final leg of the Florida Sires Stakes and present trophies to the winners. We took a bus full of FTBOA members who were either owners or breeders and spent the weekend in Hallandale Beach enjoying a day full of racing. I was beyond excited to be able to present awards to the connections of Three Rules who swept the 2-year-old sires stakes and was invited to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall.

My experience in Ocala, Florida was extremely meaningful and exciting. I enjoyed being able to work with the breeders and owners and work on ways to reward them for their demanding work in the industry. I made connections with the multiple farms I got to tour while in Florida. I was given the opportunity to pick up a morning job as a groom for Journeyman Stud’s two-year-old in training barn. I never worked at a training barn before and I am grateful I got the opportunity to do so and make connections with the many horses at the barn. This internship has given me the best experience I could have hoped for and has directed my career interest towards workingwith a state breed association to be able to promote and support Thoroughbreds across different disciplines as well as the owners and breeders of the horses to keep our industry running.

After the completion of my internship with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience in the racing industry. I was given the opportunity to intern in the racing office at Belmont Park for the duration of the summer meet. I wanted to experience the atmosphere of the racing operations at a major track. While interning for NYRA, I learned the daily office operations and shadowed other departments like horse identification, television, and horsemen’s relations.

While in the racing office, I learned the daily procedures of taking entries, proofing and checking eligibilities, monitoring the draw and getting to know certain trainers. I also was able to shadow multiple racing officials like the placing judges, paddock judges, and stewards. Being a placing judge for a week was one of the highlights of my time spent at Belmont. Interning with NYRA was an unforgettable experience.