• La Coronel (5-1) leads them all the way in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.Posted 3 days ago
  • Rubilinda (6-5) finds the wire just in time to take the Pebbles Stakes.Posted 3 days ago
  • Engage (1-2) rolls home from last to win the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes.Posted 3 days ago
  • Bolt d'Oro is the 12-1 favorite in the current Las Vegas line for Kentucky Derby 2018.Posted 6 days ago
  • Romantic Vision (6-1) takes the sloppy Spinster (G1) at Keeneland.Posted 9 days ago
  • Unique Bella (1-5) returns with a clear victory in the L. A. Woman (G3) at Santa Anita.Posted 9 days ago
  • Flameaway (5-1) wins a three-horse photo finish in the Dixiana Bourbon (G3) at a wet Keeneland.Posted 9 days ago
  • War Flag (9-1) wins the stretch battle in Belmont's Flower Bowl (G1).Posted 9 days ago
  • Separationofpowers (9-5) impresses in the Frizette at Belmont Park.Posted 9 days ago
  • Roy H (4-5) lives up to favoritism in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.Posted 10 days ago
Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Past the Grandstand

Racing's Future: Carly Kaiser

Carly Kaiser 1
Photo: Lauren Lilly

“Racing’s Future” is a new Q&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 Carly Kaiser

Carly Kaiser, 22, is a racing fan from Washington who will soon graduate from the University of Louisville. A racing enthusiast for ten years now, she has worked as a tour guide at the Kentucky Derby Museum while attending college. She plans to move to Lexington after graduating. Be sure to follow her on Twitter, @carlykaiser.

How did you become interested in horse racing?

My racing fandom started in 2004 when I was 12 when the Arkansas Derby was on TV. Always a fan of horses, I decided to watch and Smarty Jones won. My dad told me to watch the Kentucky Derby a few weeks later, reminded me to watch, and when Smarty won yet again I was hooked. To this day his Belmont loss is one of the most heartbreaking things for me to watch, even if I hadn’t totally grasped the significance of the Triple Crown yet.

My dad continued to encourage this new passion I had and took me to the closest racetrack, Emerald Downs, all the time until I got my own driver’s license. I was lucky enough to have my parents plan a trip to Santa Anita not once, but twice, for the 2007 Santa Anita Derby and the 2008 Breeders’ Cup! Definitely a surreal experience.

What do you love about horse racing?

I adore the history of the game, especially of the Triple Crown. It absolutely fascinates me and I eat up anything I can find on the topic. For me, it is unlike anything else out there.

Who are some of the people you admire in the industry and why?

There are two “people” who come to mind.

One is not a specific person, or specific that I know of, but tracks that try hard for the fans. There are some that exist just to exist, but there are some tracks that really try. Santa Anita, Saratoga, Keeneland, etc. all seem to really want to produce a good product that appeals to people. Emerald Downs (biased, I know) also tries to get the fan’s side of things.

For an individual person it would have to be Gary Stevens for me. His comeback speaks for itself, but getting into the sport, knowing that he was a Pacific Northwest guy like myself who is successful was great, and his role in Seabiscuit helped with that image as well. I’ve always been a huge fan and have always admired him a lot. He favorites my tweets to him too; what a guy.

What aspects of horse racing do you wish you knew more about?

I wish I knew more about international racing. My knowledge is definitely limited to the USA, but when it comes to England I know some, but the rest of Europe, Australia, and especially Asia I know next to nothing about it.

What racetracks have you been to?

Emerald Downs, Portland Meadows, Hastings Park, Golden Gate Fields, Bay Meadows (RIP), Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, Keeneland, Turf Paradise, Saratoga, and Oaklawn. I also have been to the ruins of Longacres Park; does that count?

What is your favorite racetrack? Why?

I have two. Emerald Downs because that’s where it all started; it’s home. For me there is not another track like it: a beautiful small facility with a wonderful view of Mt. Rainier in the distance. Nothing compares.

Next is Santa Anita. The track is next to perfect in almost every single way, especially now that it is back to dirt. Beautiful facility, well maintained, and quality racing year round.

Of the racetracks you have not been to, which one do you want to visit most?

While no longer a Thoroughbred track, Hialeah is one I am itching to get to. Belmont as well.

What are your favorite moments in your "horse racing life" thus far?

My freshman and sophomore year at college I was in the University of Louisville marching band, and in 2011 attended my first Kentucky Derby and was able to play “My Old Kentucky Home.” It was an amazing experience, and I got to do it again the next year. Words cannot describe how much this experience meant to me. Growing up in Washington, the lyric “my old Kentucky home, far away” always spoke to me. To be honest, I was only able to play a few notes the first time I did it because I was just soaking it all in.

If you could change something about the industry, what would you change?

I wish the sport wasn’t so gambling-dependent. To me the sport should focus more on the human stories of the jockeys and trainers rather than how much the Pick 4 paid.

What do you think is preventing horse racing from being a more popular sport?

Bad image. People look at it as another form of blackjack to win money on, as well as animal abuse. That is a hard image to overcome.

What do you think is the most common misconception about horse racing?

That whole animal abuse stigma.

How would you convince someone who is not an avid follower of horse racing to begin following the sport?

I just take them to the track with me. Particularly Keeneland — gorgeous place that is just fun to be. I tell them stories about the horses running, their sire or dam, or the people connected to the horse. I teach them basic bets (WPS, ex-trifecta, etc) but mostly try to give them good stories.

Last Keeneland meet I drove 
a joke into the ground; every time Joel Rosario won (which was a lot that day) I said, “Joel Rosario—he’s so hot right now.” When he went on to win the Derby, those people I went with were pretty excited to recognize the name.

What career do you plan to pursue in the horse racing industry?

At this point, anything to help it get popular and loved like it was in the past.

How are you currently contributing to the horse racing industry?

My job as a tour guide at the Derby museum is a lot of fun. I work with people who do and do not have backgrounds in racing. It is fun to see the differences, and I think the guests also enjoy our enthusiasm for it. There is also my old YouTube channel. It’s still up, but I don’t have time to mash up corny videos anymore.

What is one thing you aspire to personally accomplish someday in the horse racing industry?

I want to make a change for the better. I don’t know what that change is, but right now there haven’t been many good changes, and I want that to be different.


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Older Comments about Racing's Future: Carly Kaiser...

Carly, Best wishes as you complete your degree at the University of Louisville. It's most interesting to "meet" the person behind all those high quality equine videos on youtube as well.
Good luck with your career after graduation Carly...you have already prepared yourself to have a real impact in the sport!
her youtube channel its amazing, i would love that she had the time to upload new videos
Carly already has a pretty impressive list of racetracks that she has attended.

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About Mary Cage


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Mary Cage, a 21-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle. She has also had photos published with Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Daily News. In addition, she works as one of the social media coordinators for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and has interned at WinStar Farm with a marketing focus - with projects involving photography, videography, giving tours, data entry, etc. 

In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. She has also worked as a hotwalker and groom.

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer/photographer and marketing/communications specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in marketing. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan and transport you to some of racing's biggest events through her photos and words.

University of Louisville College of Business Equine Program

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