All nine students who finished their studies in the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona in May 2017 are heading out to their new careers in the equine industry. Where are they now and how did they get there?
Hillary Neese’s passion for horse racing was sparked by Rachel Alexandra’s victory in the 2009 Preakness Stakes. While a student, she managed the social media accounts and website updates for the RTIP. She also worked at Rillito Park, first in the admissions department then as a track handicapper and interned at Lane's End Farm, preparing horses for the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Hillary has taken a position as a marketing assistant at Stonestreet Farm, the home of the horse that got her into racing, Rachel Alexandra.
Alexa Ravit completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University prior to enrolling in the RTIP Master’s program. During her time in Tucson, Alexa was the social media manager for Rillito Park, blogged for America’s Best Racing, and interned at Belmont Park, where she rotated through various departments such as horsemen’s relations, the racing office, horse ID, and racing operations. She also spent time in The Jockey Club’s communications department.
Alexa is working in communications at The Jockey Club in the New York office for the summer.
Joe Longo is a passionate racing fan who switched careers from accounting and finance to join the RTIP Master’s program to fulfill his dream of working in racing. While completing his degree, he worked at Rillito Park as chief financial officer and simulcast manager and interned for the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA).
Joe has taken a position as a financial analyst at NYRA.
Julia Depugh found her way to racing by way of the show horse world in which she was an active competitor at the national level with Arabian horses. While a student in the RTIP, Julia completed a KEMI Program internship at Juddmonte Farm and also volunteered at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm and the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center. In addition, she expanded her racing knowledge through her participation in the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.
Julia has accepted a position at Breffni Farm in Lexington where she’ll be involved with yearling sales preparation, breaking horses to be ridden, and caring for mares and foals.
Kevin’s Schnoor’s interest in horse racing was sparked through family trips to Monmouth Park and Saratoga Racecourse. He decided to join the RTIP and earn a Master’s degree to turn his passion into a career. While in Tucson, Kevin worked at Rillito Park as a track handicapper, morning line odds maker and in the racing office. He interned at Santa Anita Park, where he shadowed staff in a variety of departments; he also spent three weeks at Monarch Content Management where he learned more about simulcasting.
Kevin, whose interest is in analyzing the wagering behavior of horseplayers, has accepted a position with WatchandWager.
Kassidie Hulse came to the RTIP with experience in foaling, sales preparation, and training at her family farm, as well as an associate’s degree from The North American Racing Academy (NARA). While at the UA, Kassidie worked in the Rillito Park racing office, was a chart caller for Equibase, and interned at The Downs of Albuquerque where she worked with the racing office, the stewards and the test barn.
Kassidie has joined NYRA’s Racing Department and looks forward to working her first Saratoga meet.
Nathan Grossman grew up in a family immersed in the horse business. He’d been exposed to the horse industry through the racing and jumping divisions of Blue Chip Farms.
While completing his education with the RTIP, Nathan continued to compete and will now focus his full attention on competing professionally on the major show circuits on the east coast and Florida.
James Traester graduated from Tufts University in 2016 with a B.A. in Economics, but found his passion for racing amid boisterous crowds who swarmed Belmont Park to watch California Chrome and American Pharoah race for the Triple Crown.
He joined the RTIP as a Master’s student to find a new career direction. A fortuitous guest selection at the Symposium’s Mentor Luncheon turned into an excellent career move; James accepted an offer to join the team at Hoosier Park as the Race Marketing and Operations Administrator.
Jason Wittler’s love for racing started with trips to Longacres Racetrack, but his passion was put on hold when he joined the United States Army in 1990. After a 24 year career, he retired from the military and joined the RTIP. While at the RTIP, Jason interned with Emerald Downs, LLC working within the marketing and sales department. His experience quickly spread to include event coordination, corporate sponsorship, group events, customer service, and daily operations.
Jason has accepted a position with the Virginia Equine Alliance as the Director of OTB Operations.