NYRA Announces Scholarship Honoring Elizabeth Bracken

June 3, 2021


ELMONT, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the formation of the Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship to support and encourage students enrolled in the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP) to secure careers in the Thoroughbred industry.

The $10,000 scholarship, to be awarded annually, will be open to juniors and seniors who have completed one full semester in the RTIP and have expressed the desire to work in the Thoroughbred racing industry. The scholarship honors the memory of Elizabeth Bracken, an RTIP graduate who spent 16 years at NYRA before returning to RTIP as Associate Coordinator and an instructor. Bracken died in November 2019; she was 52.

“We view this scholarship as a way of attracting talented students to a career in our industry, especially in New York,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke. “Liz was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Our hope is that recipients will share the kind of creativity, vision and drive that Liz brought to everything she accomplished at NYRA and elsewhere in racing.”

Bracken had a long and distinguished career in the thoroughbred industry. A native of Providence, she served as a racing official at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Hialeah Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park. Joining NYRA in 1997 as Simulcast Coordinator, Bracken advanced to Director of Simulcasting in 2002, and Vice President of Simulcasting in 2008, overseeing NYRA's off-track network and coordinating simulcast distribution of the Belmont Stakes.

In 2013, Bracken returned to RTIP, and taught classes on racing management, wagering, and racing laws and enforcement. She also assisted in the coordination of the RTIP's annual Global Symposium on Racing.

“NYRA continues to be a strong supporter of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, and the Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship will support current and future students seeking a career in horse racing” said RTIP Assistant Professor of Practice Phil O’Hara. “This is a fitting honor to Liz Bracken, who contributed so much to NYRA and to the University of Arizona.”

The $10,000 annual scholarship will be split into two parts – with $5,000 awarded for the fall semester and $5,000 for the spring semester. Eligibility requirements for those interested in applying for NYRA’s Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship are as follows:

  • Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to seeking employment in the Thoroughbred racing industry.
  • The scholarship is open to RTIP students in their junior and senior year. All applicants must have already completed one full semester at the University of Arizona.
  • Students who receive scholarships in their junior year will be eligible for a scholarship in their senior year, provided they have completed an internship with NYRA during the summer after their junior year.
  • Students must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average and have full-time status in the RTIP (If either of these requirements are not met, NYRA reserves the right to withhold from the scholarship commitment for the spring semester of 2022).
  • Applicants must be RTIP students who are residents of the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico.

For more information and to download the Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship Application