Juddmonte Farms generously made Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) the beneficiary of the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday, October 8th. Keeneland graciously matched their donation. Thank you Juddmonte Farms and Keeneland for your continued support!
Leslie Janecka, Coordinator of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI), was recently awarded the prestigious Thoroughbred Industry Community Award. Presented by Godolphin, the program is a partnership with the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) and The Jockey Club to highlight those working in horseracing and breeding who are the backbone of the industry; each nominee plays an invaluable role in caring for the equine athletes and in racing.
While nominees for the Community Award need not be employed by the racing industry, they contribute to the greater good of the sport. With winners determined by a prestigious judging panel, Janecka will receive $10,000 and an additional $5,000 to go toward the charity of her choice. She also will receive a commemorative trophy.
Additional Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards include:
- Leadership Award Farm
- Leadership Award Racing
- Dedication to Breeding Award
- Dedication to Racing Award
- Thoroughbred Industry Community Award
Janecka will be recognized at the Awards ceremony luncheon on Oct. 13 at Keeneland.
For more information, visit the Godolphin website here.
Thoroughbred Racehorse Trainer Jordan Blair
A Family Affair
Born in the Bluegrass, Jordan Blair has been a Thoroughbred racing fan practically since birth. Well versed in all facets of the industry, Jordan attended his first Breeders’ Cup in 1988 at Churchill Downs. His mother, Debbie, worked for the organization as the Vice President of Customer and Event Services. Because of her role with Breeders’ Cup, Blair was very aware that there were many ways to work in the racing industry and that not all of them were hands-on with the horses.
But hands-on is what Jorden preferred: To earn spending money as a teenager, he worked for the Keeneland sales for consignors like Taylor Made, as well as for Bluegrass Thoroughbreds and Pin Oak Stud. Jordan also worked for Gainsborough Farm and Dromoland Farm throughout high school and college.
After graduating from Tates Creek High School in Lexington in 1999, Jordan attended the University of Kentucky (UK), where he studied Agricultural Economics and Horticulture Science; he chose the Big Blue Nation for multiple reasons, including in-state tuition, the easy transition to college from home, its top-notch ag college and the fact that “I’ve always been a huge UK sports fan!” says Jordan.
A Lucky Find
After graduating from UK, Jordan went to Mississippi State to get a Master’s Degree in Agribusiness Management. It was while he was in grad school that Jordan stumbled upon the Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) program.
Required to complete an internship to finish his MBA, Blair found the KEMI program online and was immediately intrigued: “I was sold [on it] as it was in my hometown and I was anxious to graduate!” he explains. Jordan applied and, once accepted into the program, was placed on Pin Oak Stud in Versailles.
Home to a stallion roster that includes Broken Vow and Alternation, Pin Oak encompasses over 1,300 acres and cares for broodmares and foals in addition to its stallions. The farm is owned by Josephine Abercromie, a staunch supporter of both the racing industry and the local community—both of which Jordan was, and continues to be, passionate about.
“I learned many things at Pin Oak, including the ins-and-outs of operating a breeding farm, organizing broodmares and their cycles, weaning babies and handling stallions,” Jordan says. “General Manager Clifford Barry also taught me how to work smarter and to pay close attention to details. He was a strong mentor of mine.”
Making His Own Way
While Jordan received vast amounts of hands-on experience while working at Pin Oak, he also enjoyed the classroom and lecture portions of KEMI. He greatly appreciated the ability to be exposed to great professionals who worked in every facet of the Thoroughbred industry.
Once graduated from KEMI in 2006, Blair worked some additional sales, then got a full-time position in the front office of Ben-D Farm in Walton, Ky., where he worked for 2 years as office manager, taking care of accounts, booking mares to stallions, working with sales companies and consignments. He was also hands-on with delivering foals and prepping yearlings. After his time at Ben-D, Blair changed gears and became an assistant trainer, working under such notables as Mike Maker, Michael Ewing and Kenny McPeek. After eight years, he struck out on his own.
A Solid Foundation
Jordan’s time in KEMI helped prepare him for what real life in the Thoroughbred industry is like. He strongly recommends that anyone looking to work in the Thoroughbred world complete the program; he notes that KEMI helped him understand that “there aren’t many ‘jobs’ in the equine industry–it’s more of a lifestyle: [There are] Not many days off.”
So what pieces of advice does Jordan offer potential incoming KEMI students? “Understand that you’ll start at the bottom, learn and work your way up. Be prepared to work hard and keep your ears open. You won’t see the benefit of mucking stalls and raking shedrows until you’re in charge of that sort of thing. Pick up as much knowledge as possible in the short time you have there. Go above and beyond what is expected–that is what sets you apart from others.”
And what was the hardest part of KEMI? Learning how to balance work and course work, Jordan says. Now married with a child of his own, KEMI helped Jordan learn how to balance multiple important priorities, as well as the importance of networking, and keeping close contacts inside and out of the industry.
Jordan still keeps in touch with other KEMI grads and he even does business with a few. He believes very strongly that KEMI provides a valuable service for the industry: “It provides good people for the farms during and after their internships; it also provides an ‘in’ for these students [those passionate about Thoroughbreds] who wouldn’t know any other way of going about entering this business.”
The Secret to His Success
So, is there one key to Jordan’s success? Not really. “It’s all been based on very hard (and smart) work, and the contacts I’ve made and kept over the years. I am always learning and always open to new ideas,” he says. “There is so much more to running a business than knowing how to deal with horses, and I’ve learned many lessons by making mistakes. I’ve had some very hard times, but by persevering and not giving up, I’ve been able to grow my stable.”
Now married to business partner Jordan Springer, Jordan focuses on racing client horses at Turfway, Ellis Park, Churchill Downs, Indiana Grand and Kentucky Downs. Jordan has trained stakes-placed Silver Magnolia and allowance horses including Craving Carats, Patrick’s Day, Oatfield and Gift Receipt.
The Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) is now accepting applications for our Spring of 2018 session. Dates for Spring 2018 are January 8 – June 1, 2018. Applications are located on this website. The deadline for applications is October 31, 2017. Any questions can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) has been awarded a grant from Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA). KEMI would like to thank TCA and all of the farms who designated KEMI as the beneficiary in the TCA Stallion Season Auction. TCA’s mission is to provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. To find out more about TCA and their mission please visit tca.org. Thank you, TCA, for your continued support of the KEMI program!
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) announced today an exciting collaboration with XBTV to present the XBTV Aftercare Film Festival. The Film Festival will launch July 1st as part of an ongoing industry effort to highlight the importance of horse aftercare as part of the ecosystem of Thoroughbred racing.
Themed “The Importance of Thoroughbred Aftercare and Accreditation to the Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Industries,” the Film Festival will be open exclusively to students taking part in the Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI), University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP), or Godolphin Flying Start (GFS). Students are being challenged to create unique video content of no more than three minutes that will bring to life the importance of Thoroughbred aftercare for the next generation of horsemen and horsewomen.
Submissions will be reviewed and judged by a panel of media professionals. The submissions will be available to the public to watch at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/XBTV, XBTV and various social media channels at the conclusion of the Film Festival.
As a subsidiary of The Stronach Group, XBTV delivers superior racing and industry content to viewers around the world. As sponsor of the XBTV Aftercare Film Festival, XBTV aims to engage millennial audiences while raising awareness for the issue of thoroughbred aftercare.
“The Stronach Group is an industry leader in world-class racing and is passionately committed to horse care and horse aftercare,” said Nicole Stronach Walker, TAA Advisory Board Member. “All of those that are involved in the industry, be it breeder, owner or track operator, have a responsibility to the horse to ensure a lifetime of happiness on and off the track. The XBTV Aftercare Film Festival initiative is a great way for younger horse racing enthusiasts to raise awareness and lead the way for future growth in aftercare.”
“The Film Festival is an exciting initiative by the TAA and it was very generous of them to extend an invitation to participate to Godolphin Flying Start trainees” said Clodagh Kavanagh, General Manager of the Godolphin Flying Start program. “There are a number of trainees that have shown an interest in entering the competition and I wish them and the other competitors the best of luck with their submissions.”
“KEMI is thrilled to be part of this exciting contest,” said Leslie Janecka, KEMI’s coordinator. “As part of their curriculum within the program, our interns learn not only about the production, care and management of Thoroughbreds, but also the importance of a secondary career for those athletes after their racing careers are over. The aftercare of Thoroughbreds is very important, and we are happy to help educate the public about these horses and the many aftercare options available.”
The winners of the XBTV Aftercare Film Festival will be announced this December as part of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming, which has been held annually since 1974. Winners will receive a monetary award. 1st place will receive $3,000, 2nd place will receive $1,000 and 3rd place will be awarded $500. A Fan Favorite Award Winner will be awarded $500.
“Giving students, who are tomorrow’s leaders of racing, the opportunity to really dive into the topic will certainly increase their knowledge and passion about aftercare,” said Wendy Davis, the Director of the RTIP. “But just as important, their videos will provide a vehicle for the industry to use for education that can reach far beyond racing’s own circle and create the opportunity to exponentially expand awareness of the care given to our horses.”
“It’s a true honor to have the Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming selected as the venue to not only share the top videos but to name the winner. Attendees from around North America and the globe will be the first to see the productions and take the messages back to their home jurisdictions.”
Follow the work of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at thoroughbredaftercare.org, on Facebook here or @tbaftercare on Twitter and Instagram.
About the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance
Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the non-profit Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. Along with continued funding from its original partners Breeders’ Cup Ltd., The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association Inc., the TAA is supported by owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, aftercare professionals and other industry groups. To date, 64 aftercare organizations supporting more than 180 facilities across the U.S. and Canada have been granted accreditation and received funding from the TAA. To learn more about the TAA, visit thoroughbredaftercare.org.
XBTV is a new digital Ultra HD Horse Racing network providing insight and analysis to give horseplayers a competitive advantage. XBTV is the ultimate online destination for bettors to get insider interviews, morning works, insights, analysis and expert picks from the country’s top handicappers. XBTV features Millie Ball, Jeff Siegel, Aaron Vercruysse, Zoe Cadman and John ‘Johnny D’ DeSantis. XBTV is available free online at XBTV.com on any compatible computer, laptop, tablet, mobile device or smart TV. Viewers can watch video on demand as well as scheduled live racing coverage every weekend. XBTV is owned and operated by The Stronach Group and headquartered at historic Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
About The Stronach Group
The Stronach Group (TSG) is an industry leader in world-class horse racing, entertainment and pari-mutuel wagering technology. Within our portfolio of racing and gaming businesses, the Company holds some of the greatest brands in the industry including; Santa Anita Park, “The Great Race Place”; Pimlico Race Course, home of the legendary Preakness Stakes; Gulfstream Park, one of Florida’s newest entertainment destination centers, and home to the $16-million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the world’s richest thoroughbred horse race; Laurel Park; Golden Gate Fields; Portland Meadows; and Rosecroft Raceway. TSG is an industry leader in pari-mutuel technology through its subsidiaries AmTote and Xpressbet and is a major distributor of horse racing content to a global audience through Monarch Content Management. The award winning Adena Springs is the breeding and training facility of The Stronach Group with stables in Kentucky, Florida and Ontario. For more on The Stronach Group, visit www.stronachgroup.com.
Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) welcomed fifteen interns to its program this week. Please join us in welcoming these new interns.
Rebecca Bannan – Michigan State University
Kristen Berg – North Carolina State University
Shannel Cacho – Middle Tennessee State University
Paige Gilster – Iowa State University
Alexis Golub – Virginia Tech University
Alana Hamann – University of Maryland
Rachel Miller – Oregon State University
Katie Ott – University of California, Davis
Autumn Petreszyn – University of Maine
Carli Pisano – Sul Ross State University
Sarah Prentice – University of Findlay
Erika Rodriguez Martinez – University of Arizona
Jennie Sites – Oregon State University
Kayci Sperry – Kansas State University
Brianna Wolfe – Delaware Valley University
Welcome new interns!
Now a prominent fixture in the Thoroughbred industry, Carrie Gilbert grew up a track rat in Fairport, N.Y., before moving to the Horse Capital of the World and immersing herself in all things equine.
Starting ‘Em Off Right
Having grown up riding hunter/jumpers and showing on the Arabian show circuit, Carrie Gilbert was immersed in the show world as a child. However, she got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing at the tender age of 6, when her great-aunt brought her to Saratoga Race Course for the first time. Carrie knew then and there that she was wanted to work horses—and not just horse: racehorses.
Carrie went to the track every summer after that, spending days on the backside and going to the races. Her aunt worked part-time as a betting window teller on weekends, so she would take Carrie with her and drop her off on the backside, where she would spend the entire morning. From there, Carrie would walk to the Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and then head back to the track for the afternoon races.
Right Where She’s Meant to Be
The time spent on the track solidified Carrie’s conviction that she was meant to live in Kentucky, so immediately upon graduating from high school, she accepted a groom position at Lane’s End Oak Tree division. She jumped in head first, learning how to groom and the ropes of how a first-class Thoroughbred farm operated.
Carrie first became aware of the KEMI program after only two weeks in the Bluegrass, when students came to Lane’s End Oak Tree for their short course, which is a series of orientation activities KEMI members take part in as a group. The short course is designed to help students get acquainted with the expectations of the KEMI program, learn about job opportunities for graduates and get a general overview of the components of the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry.
The KEMI students happened to be at Lane’s End to hear lectures from farm employees on how they manage their operations and to see the farm in action. Once the tour had left, Carrie’s manager, Callan Strouss, encouraged her to apply for a spot in the highly competitive program even though the deadline for acceptance had passed by just a few days. “The rest is history!” Carrie laughs.
Immersion In the Industry
As she was brand-new to the Bluegrass, it would have been understandable if Carrie was plagued by a nerves before entering the KEMI program. But when asked if she was anxious, Carrie said she wasn’t at all—she was simply excited. “This [program] allowed me to meet people my own age working in similar positions who also had a passion for all things equine. The opportunities to learn, grow and network appeared endless!”
When asked what her favorite part of the KEMI program was, Carrie couldn’t narrow it down to just one thing. “Honestly, I really enjoyed everything about it. I thrived on the lectures and guest speakers; I was thrilled to be able to attend clinics, symposiums and the monthly Farm Managers Club meetings.”
While it might seem like the last thing KEMI students might be interested in doing after working long hour on the farm is go to class, Carrie related that the weekly lectures are actually very well received. “They give you an opportunity to catch up with the other interns in the program; to swap stories and hang out, which I think is important as farm life can get busy and rather tiring–having friends in the same situation is good to have.”
As the goal of KEMI is to completely immerse students in the program, Carrie also go to see firsthand the ins and outs of an industry she knew she had always wanted to be involved in. “To be able to handle, care for and help raise some of the best equine athletes in the world was priceless,” she explains. “You form relationship with the management and staff on the farm along with the veterinarians, farriers and so many more key figures who can you can easily call upon in the future for just about anything.”
Carrie has a long list of key people who were mentors during her time in KEMI, all of whom she still considers mentors and friends today. When asked who had an influence on her and whom she still keeps in touch with, Carrie elaborated: “I would have to start off with Callan Strouss and Curt Ramsey [manager and assistant manager at Oak Tree] both of whom I worked for as a KEMI student and still work with daily today. My mentors included Garrett O’ Rourke, Jackie Smith [both at Juddmonte], Sandy Hatfield, Tom Evans, Mike Owens, Bill Wofford, Kim Ramsey [now the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club executive assistant] and Shannon White, the KEMI director when I was a student.” Dr. Kevin Pfeister, farrier Duane Raglin and Oak Tree foreman Jo Josey and Terry Frymen are additional people whom Carrie was able to meet and learn from during her time enrolled in the KEMI program—and people she still considers friends today.
You Get What You Give
Like most life experiences, students have to be fully invested to get the most out of the program that they can. “This is a program that the more you put into it, the more rewarding it is,” explains Carrie. It’s also a program that “even if you decide that the Thoroughbred industry isn’t for you, you’ve gained so much knowledge and firsthand experience, which can be taken and applied to any breed, anywhere!”
Carrie knew that, for her, remaining in the Thoroughbred industry was non-negotiable. Once she graduated from the KEMI program in the spring of 2001, she enrolled full-time at the University of Kentucky to obtain her Equine Business degree. At the same time, she began working for Flaxman Holdings part-time (30 hours a week) as an office administrator, managed a polo barn for a local Lexington polo player, and worked all of the major sales in both Kentucky and New York (we said she was driven!).
“Once I completed school, I began working for Flaxman Holdings full-time and also took many side jobs and volunteer opportunities, and I accepted board positions in varying associations, clubs, and organizations in all facets of the Thoroughbred and equine world. My husband and I opened and ran a boarding/breaking farm with part of the focus on rehabbing, retraining and selling off-the-track Thoroughbreds, which we thoroughly enjoyed.”
After 5 years of intense careers and passions, Carrie and husband Randy decided to reprioritize where they spent their time and began a family. Today, Carrie has been with Flaxman for 16 years and her job has evolved into the role of Racing, Sales and Stallion Coordinator. “The job is a smorgasbord of duties, including some of my favorite aspect of farm photographer and traveling,” she explains.
Never Stop Learning
While Carrie’s background is vast and varied through her own dedication to deepening her experiences in the Thoroughbred industry, she feels very strongly that her time in KEMI placed her on the path to success. “The exposure to top management, veterinarians, farriers and specialty fields broadened my education and my network within Kentucky, the U.S. and abroad. Just being exposed to Thoroughbred lingo, pedigrees, veterinary terms, conformation exams, radiographs, racing and technology … prepared me by increasing my knowledge base and hands-on experience.”
While Carrie recommends applying for KEMI without hesitation, she offers students—or anyone interested in the equine industry—one key piece of advice:
“Nearly everyone you will meet in the industry started off as a groom on the racetrack or a farm. It’s a ladder you must climb–and you must start at the bottom. This industry is one where it’s vital to learn as you grow. Ask any manager in Central Kentucky, and they will all say they are still learning, and they see new things every day. You learn by working, seeing and doing … you must put in the time, effort, dedication and open-mindedness–that will get you furthest in the industry. Don’t expect after a 6-month internship that you’ll be at the top of any ladder. The more time you put in, the more marketable you become.”
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club (KTFMC) awards one Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) intern a Management Award each session. This award recognizes an intern for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication to the industry. The award includes a cash prize as well as an opportunity to shadow an industry professional of the intern’s choosing for the week following their internship. Holly Hersey was recently announced as the KTFMC scholarship winner for the Spring of 2017. Congratulations, Holly!
Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) was honored to receive the William T. Young Humanitarian Award at the annual Kentucky-Bred Champions Awards Luncheon. The Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders established this award to recognize people and organizations within the industry for their humanitarian efforts.
KEMI is dedicated to improving the opportunities for young people seeking careers in the Thoroughbred industry. The internship program places college students or recent graduates on some of the most prestigious Thoroughbred farms in Central Kentucky, where they live and work for five to six months and gain hands-on experience working with some of the finest Thoroughbreds in the world. KEMI also exposes the interns to lectures, seminars, and industry events to meet and learn from industry professionals. KEMI has had the honor of serving the Thoroughbred industry in the Bluegrass for over sixteen years and has offered internships to nearly 1,000 young people from all 50 states and 19 foreign countries. Many of our interns choose to stay in Central Kentucky and pursue careers in the Thoroughbred industry, becoming the next generation to continue the tradition of world-class Thoroughbred nurseries and racing in the Bluegrass.
The KEMI program would like to thank KTOB for this honor. We would also like to thank all of the farms, industry professionals, and collegiate equine programs that support our efforts.