Op-Ed | The thoroughbred horse industry helped me achieve my dreams

Interviewing within the fall of 2018 for a place within the Info Expertise Division of the New York Racing Affiliation (NYRA), I keep in mind being struck by one thing I had by no means thought of earlier than.

My interview that day was in an space that faces the 1½-mile filth oval at Belmont Park, providing me a view – and part of the observe – I’d by no means seen or visited.

That’s as a result of I used to be extra accustomed to the observe’s backstretch, the expansive barn space past the observe the place my dad and mom labored with the horses – my dad as a groom and my mother as a scorching walker. Though I grew up in Elmont, a stone’s throw from Belmont Park, working for NYRA on the “frontside” of the enterprise as I do now could be in a way a good distance from the a part of the observe that I knew.

The racetrack has been part of my world for so long as I can keep in mind. As children, my older sister, Jessica, and I beloved accompanying our dad to work. From watching my dad and mom depart most days at 5 a.m., I discovered to understand their sacrifice, particularly all these mornings when our dad would lower away from the observe to drive me to highschool. Quite a lot of my associates are the little children of backstretch employees; and for a number of summers as youngsters, Jessica and I labored as white caps or ushers at historic Saratoga Race Course.

Due to the help of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Affiliation (NYTHA) Scholarship program, I used to be lucky to be supplied with monetary support. In reality, my sister and I each graduated from schools inside the Metropolis College of New York (CUNY) system due to our reference to horse racing.

Some might imagine that horse racing is a sport for the elite or privileged few. From my expertise, that depiction couldn’t be farther from the reality. The coronary heart and soul of our sport are the hard-working individuals on the backstretch who make racing doable all through New York and throughout the nation. They’re individuals like my mother and pop, for whom racing is a livelihood and has given my sister and me the chance to go to school. 

These job alternatives went to date past my quick circle, and in actuality, the game of horse racing gives 1000’s of good-paying jobs to households identical to mine.

I’m residing proof that thoroughbred racing is as a lot concerning the individuals who work within the industry to boost their households as it’s concerning the lovely racehorses we’re so proud to care for each single day.

David Berrios is a member of the NYRA Info Expertise crew.

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