Photo: Connor Devine
“Racing’s Future” is a Q and A series in which I aspire to help
everyone in the industry. In addition to shining a spotlight on youth who plan
to have a career in horse racing, I hope that the opinions expressed in their
responses will offer industry leaders insight into what a younger audience
believes the sport should improve upon.
Meet Paul Devine
native Paul Devine, a recent graduate of
the University of Dayton with a marketing degree and entrepreneurship minor,
has been a racing fan since he was 13. Last summer, he worked at Brookdale Farm
in Versailles, Kentucky, working in the office and with sales horses. He is
currently just a passionate fan but hopes to get further involved soon.
How did you become interested
in horse racing?
up in Marysville, Ohio, the only access to horse racing was at the local county
fairs where they would have harness racing. I attended these races every year
with my father and grandfather. Additionally, our family would get together to
watch the Triple Crown races each year. When I was 12, my dad brought a BloodHorse
magazine home and I couldn’t put it down! The next year, he took me to
Keeneland for my birthday and ever since then I have been hooked! After an
injury ended my college football career, I took the time to delve deeper into
my passion and worked at Brookdale Farm. This sealed the deal and I am forever
a fan of the game.
What do you love about horse racing?
is hard to put in words what I love about horse racing. As a former athlete, I
love the competitive nature of the sport and the pure athleticism that both
horse and rider show. The horses themselves are beautiful and the people
involved are truly unique. I also love that the game is unpredictable. A good
horse can come from anywhere and every day there is a chance for a new star to
Who are some of the people you admire in
the industry and why?
people in the industry that I admire are those who have been willing to help a
“kid from Ohio” learn the game and have been ambassadors for the good in the
Tim and Corrine Lane: I have been lucky enough to have the Lane family as
friends since I became interested in horse racing. My dad coached Mr. Lane in
college and they later reconnected when Mr. Lane started training harness
horses in the area. When I caught the horse racing bug, I would go out to their
farm to help and just to look at the horses! He has since convinced my dad to
own part of two harness horses and now has to put up with even more of my
questions! They are such nice people that love their horses and take pride in
their well-being. I will be forever grateful for their help and friendship.
Frank Mitchell: Mr. Mitchell was one
of the first people I reached out to in the industry, simply asking questions
about the sport. He responded immediately and to this day always finds the time
to answer my never ending questions about breeding and pedigrees. He has also
allowed me to follow him at sales and always is willing to introduce me to
others. Mr. Mitchell is truly dedicated to the sport and has been a huge mentor
to me in my journey.
Anna Seitz Ciannello and Evan Ciannello: Two of the nicest and most connected
people I know! They were the main reason I had the opportunity to work at
Brookdale and they remain role models to me. They have such passion for the
game and have gotten many new owners/fans involved.
Brookdale Farm: The people at
Brookdale Farm are truly top notch. Everything at the farm is done with pride and
through honest hard work. This comes from the great team involved. Mr. Seitz,
Joe and Freddy Seitz, Victor, Julie, Codie, and Eddie, as well as all the barn
workers, taught me so much and they remain an inspiration for me. The summer I
spent there was an amazing experience and cemented my belief that this is a
great sport with great people.
As you can tell, I believe the people in this sport are beyond admirable. I could
go on with many others but time wouldn’t allow! I would like to end with my
family, though, as they have supported me throughout the whole process and
encourage me to reach for my dreams!
What aspects of horse racing do you wish
you knew more about?
would like to continue to learn about conformation and gain a better “eye” for
good horses. I didn’t grow up around horses so I am trying to play catch-up!
Also, I would be interested in learning more about the day-to-day care of
horses at the track.
What racetracks have you been to?
Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Beulah Park (no longer exists!), Hoosier Park, and a
few harness tracks
What is your favorite racetrack? Why?
This is where it all started for me and I try to go at least once a year. I
have a lot of great memories with my family and friends. The atmosphere,
beauty, and the level of competition there is hard to beat!
Of the racetracks you have not been to,
which one do you want to visit most?
Anita has such a history and looks beautiful. I have also heard that Arlington
Park does a really great job so I hope to visit soon.
What are your favorite moments in your
“horse racing life” thus far?
at Brookdale was an amazing experience and is something I will never forget! I
am looking forward to following the careers of horses I worked with. Getting my
picture taken in the winner’s circle at Keeneland on my birthday was awesome as
well! Dale Romans and Tammy Fox (I went to UD with their daughter Bailey) let
me sit in an owner’s box and then go to the winners circle when Grey Oak won!
However, the best would be from earlier this year when the two harness horses
my dad owns in partnerships both won their 3 year old debuts! I was so excited,
and seeing the joy on his face was priceless!
Who are your favorite racehorses of your
lifetime? Before your lifetime?
is tough! Point Given was the first horse I really rooted for and followed.
Smarty Jones and Funny Cide also are favorites. Zenyatta was so fun to watch and
proved that horses really do have fun running and love to compete. Native
Dancer, Seabiscuit, and Black Gold are horses from before my lifetime that I
admire. I love reading and those three are some of the firsts I read about.
If you could change something about the
industry, what would you change?
wish that the industry as a whole would work together in a more effective way.
It seems like each jurisdiction has their own rules and doesn’t always try to
work with other aspects of the industry. Everyone needs to work together to
provide the best product we can while taking care of those involved. I would
also encourage steeper penalties for those who break rules and put the health
of the horses in jeopardy. It is critical that we work towards eliminating
those who don’t put the needs and welfare of the horse before everything else.
Finally, I would continue to take a proactive approach with creating positive
media attention. I think programs such as America’s Best Racing are a great
step towards sharing the great aspects of the sport while educating and
creating new fans.
What do you think is preventing horse
racing from being a more popular sport?
think a big part of racing not being a more popular sport is simply lack of
awareness. Most people know about the Kentucky Derby but unless you grow up in
an area known for horse racing or have family members involved, you don’t hear
much about it! Racing doesn’t look as good on TV as some of the other major
sports and it doesn’t have the constant action most people look for but that is
a tough fix. The negative media coverage certainly doesn’t help but I think
this can be overcome. The constant access to media nowadays is making it easier
for people to stay home instead of going out to the races or other sporting events
for that matter. We must be creative and consistent in finding ways to engage
fans both new and old.
What do you think is the most common
misconception about horse racing?
think most people think that it is an industry reserved for the elite, and “normal”
people aren’t welcome. I have found it to be the opposite! So many people in
the industry are happy to bring new fans into the game regardless of age or
socio-economic status. If you are interested in the industry or have questions,
reach out to people!
Also, I believe that many believe the horses are treated in a cruel manner.
Once again I have found this to be the opposite! The people who care for these
horses have a passion for the animal regardless of their successes on the track,
and treat them with the finest care available.
How would you convince someone who is
not an avid follower of horse racing to begin following the sport?
them to the track or out to a farm. If that isn’t available, simply share your
passion with them! Answer questions and tell them about all the different
facets of the industry. Most people I talk to are surprised about the
intricacies of the sport and show a genuine interest in learning more. If
anything, put them in a good environment, make them feel welcome, and let them
see the beauty of the horses themselves.
What career do you plan to pursue in the
horse racing industry?
am still trying to figure out what I want to do as a “grown up” but I
definitely want to be a part of the industry somehow. I have a lot of interest
in doing marketing for a racetrack, farm, partnership group or sales agency.
I love the idea of horse racing partnership groups and have thought about one
day starting my own! I also plan on getting into the breeding side of the
industry and owning a few broodmares eventually!
How are you currently contributing to
the horse racing industry?
am contributing by being a fan! I love the sport and am constantly trying to
pass this along to others. I am hoping to get involved on the ownership side in
the near future.
What is one thing you aspire to
personally accomplish someday in the horse racing industry?
My hope is that I make a difference in the industry. This
could be through breeding the next Triple Crown winner or by bringing new fans
into the industry. No matter what my role is in the industry, I hope to pass
along the passion and pride so many feel for the sport. Work hard, work
together, be positive, do what is right by the horse, and the industry will
survive and thrive!