HRN Original Blog:
Past the Grandstand

Racing's Future: Chris Crestik

Chris Crestik
Photo: Danielle Murphy



"Racing’s Future” is a 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 Chris Crestik


From San Diego, California comes 16-year-old Chris Crestik, a lifelong racing fan. He is now a photographer for a Spanish horse racing website called elpotroroberto.com . In addition to his involvement with horse racing, he is a two-sport athlete, playing varsity football and throwing shot put/discus for his school's varsity track and field team. He is also a top student pursuing a full IB diploma. Follow him on Twitter, @chriscrestik, and Instagram, @riders.up, for his pictures and handicapping selections.
 
How did you become interested in horse racing?

I became interested in horse racing thanks to my family. Mostly, my father Allen, my grandfather Frank, my cousin Jason, my uncle David, and a close family friend Bill; they have taught me everything I know about the sport they love and now, thanks to them, the sport I love. 

What do you love about horse racing?

I love the diversity in the sport. One race a horse can leave the world sad, and in the horse's very next race, they can bring joy to people around the world. 
 
Who are some of the people you admire in the industry and why?

I admire handicappers/TV personalities Paul Lo Duca and Les Onaka on TVG! They both know so much of their respect breeds, with Les knowing everything and anything about Quarter Horses and Paul knowing thoroughbreds inside and out. Paul also inspires me because not only does he handicap for a living but he also played professional baseball for 11 years. With me also being an athlete, that would be a perfect road for my life. They are also both so nice to the fans.

Speaking of being nice to the fans, another person who I admire is Matt Dinerman. Matt goes out of his way to respond to any fan on Twitter on any day at any time. He has now gained the announcing job at Emerald Downs, making him one of the youngest announcers in the country, and that's a real confidence boost to younger generation.  
 
What aspects of horse racing do you wish you knew more about?

I wish I knew more about the breeding/pedigrees of horses. I know the basics but I really want to get in-depth to the point where I know which sire and dam combos are best for certain types of horses. 
 
What racetracks have you been to?

I have been to so many tracks but the most mainstream ones are Santa Anita, Del Mar, Gulfstream, Los Alamitos and Golden Gate.
 
What is your favorite racetrack? Why?

My favorite racetrack is Del Mar! It is the most beautiful sporting venue I have ever been to, and I've been to some great football stadiums and basketball arenas but nothing can compare to good ol' Del Mar!
 
Of the racetracks you have not been to, which one do you want to visit most?

Meydan and Sha Tin  
 
What are your favorite moments in your “horse racing life” thus far?

Being media credentialed is the best thing ever! Every day I can be on track or in the paddock for a major stakes race, which are my favorite moments - the best being recently in the San Pasqual when California Chrome came back to win easily. Once he crossed the finish line, the winner's circle went berserk - media hugging other media connections hugging, connections hugging connections, and everyone giving each other high fives! 
 
Who are your favorite racehorses of your lifetime? Before your lifetime?

Bayern, Curlin, Game On Dude and Zenyatta are my favorite horses of my lifetime. And Sunday Silence, Cigar, A.P. Indy and Thunder Gulch for before my lifetime.  

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

I would want to see tracks focus more on weekend racing. Like Sha Tin only races one, maybe two days a week. I'm not saying for tracks to go to that extreme but maybe only race on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  
 
What do you think is preventing horse racing from being a more popular sport?

Not enough national attention. More races should be shown from around the country on a national stage, not just the Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup and some races in between. 

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

"Doesn't the whip hurt the horse?" 
 
How would you convince someone who is not an avid follower of horse racing to begin following the sport?

The thrill of horse racing is unlike anything in the world. No matter what your position is in the sport, the thrill is real if you are a horse owner, trainer, jockey, handicapper, or even a person sitting at home watching, you will all have the same thrill of rooting your horse on! 

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

A trainer is at the top of my list, but I would also love to be a handicapper/TV analyst in the Sport of Kings. 
 
How are you currently contributing to the horse racing industry?

Currently I'm a photographer for elpotroroberto.com, and I'm trying to push for a horse racing club at my school that would be run and created by me, but right now I do anything I can to talk about racing with any one I meet.
 
What is one thing you aspire to personally accomplish someday in the horse racing industry?

Become a Breeders' Cup/Kentucky Derby-winning trainer, or pull a Eddie Olczyk and hit a $500,000 Pick 6. 

 

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About Mary Cage

 

Mary with champion Classic Empire

Mary Cage 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 is an intern at WinStar Farm with a client relations and marketing focus, as well as some bloodstock duties.


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 racing manager or client relations 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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