Race Track Industry Program Speaker Series – Acacia Courtney
Acacia Courtney began riding at the age of 8, training in the hunter-jumper and dressage disciplines. She soon fell in love with Thoroughbreds, and in 2011 founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Racing for Home, Inc., which is dedicated to repurposing Off-Track Thoroughbreds for new careers after the racetrack. The venture eventually led to full-fledged passion for the sport of racing, and she currently works as an on-air track handicapper at Gulfstream Park.
Also an accomplished dancer, Acacia studied with the Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre before winning the title of Miss Connecticut 2014. She worked in partnership with various charities and organizations as a public speaker and ambassador, and was recognized as a top-15 semifinalist in that year's Miss America Pageant. After completing her year as Miss Connecticut, Acacia returned to school to finish her degree at Fordham University, where she majored in Journalism.
Acacia spoke to the students about careers in racing journalism and the importance of aftercare in the sport of thoroughbred racing.
“When watching an on-air personality, one doesn’t realize the amount of preparation it takes to educate race fans,” said RTIP director Robert Hartman. Gulfstream Park and America’s Day at the Races Host/Analyst Acacia Courtney educated RTIP students on the team and amount of work that goes into producing a show that comes across to the viewers as effortless. Whether it’s early mornings at the watching works at the training track, interviewing trainers, or keeping copious notes on horses in paddock, Acacia provided a wealth of knowledge to RTIP students.