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Student Erin Doty-McQuaid with a horse
Erin feeds carrots to Game on Dude at Old Friends in Lexington

Erin Doty-McQuaid: A Passion for the Horse

This summer I was very fortunate to spend two months interning with Kerry Cauthen and his team at Four Star Sales in Lexington. While there, I learned about the various administrative aspects of selling horses and experienced the science of client relations and the delicate matter of managing expectations. The highlight of each week was visiting farms and evaluating the physical progress of yearlings that Four Star was consigning to the Keeneland September sale. Based on their development and pedigree, we compiled a “wish list” of ideal book placement which was sent to Keeneland for review. Next, we focused on the Fasig-Tipton July sale, for which Four Star had a small consignment of seven yearlings. Although I had attended several horse sales in the past, this was my first time working behind the scenes. I worked in hospitality and as a card person. I also learned about all the different factors that are considered when setting reserves. After the July sale wrapped up, it was back to the farms, visiting prospective broodmare and foal entries for the Keeneland November Sale.

This experience was the first time I was able to put into practice all I knew about pedigrees and what I had learned in school about conformation. It was also my first experience evaluating young horses, which I discovered is quite different from assessing mature ones! My internship with Four Star ended in July, but Kerry suggested that, if possible, I return to Lexington for the Keeneland September sale because that was where I would learn the most. I took his advice and he arranged for me to work with his brother, Doug Cauthen, for seven days at the September sale. I was able to practice my evaluation skills on hundreds of yearlings as we searched for potential purchase prospects for various clients. The hours were long and we covered a lot of ground (40 miles total!), but I was doing something that I loved and it didn’t feel like work at all. It was a great challenge to miss a week of classes in the middle of the semester, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I have loved racing my entire life, and have always dreamed of becoming a bloodstock agent. But I had no connections in the racing industry prior to enrolling in the Race Track Industry Program. This summer was an absolute dream come true. I met, worked with, and learned from some of the best people in this industry. I am so grateful for everyone who made this opportunity possible. I gained experience and created relationships that will be invaluable assets to my future. Because of this experience, I no longer feel like an outsider looking in. The road was long, and bumpy at times, but now I am certain that I made the right decision to follow my passion.