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The Notebook July 31, 2014


Out of the Gate with ... Gabby Gaudet

Gabby Gaudet joined the Arlington International broadcasting team in Chicago in 2014 and has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park racing analyst since 2013. The 24-year-old daughter of longtime trainers Eddie and Linda Gaudet graduated from Towson University with a double major in mass communications and graphic design. She has worked with the Saratoga Special as well as HRTV.

Name: Gabby Gaudet

What I do for a living: Racing analyst at Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: Roughly around the same time I was born. Give or take a few days. My dad, Eddie Gaudet, was a trainer for 50-plus years, mostly in the Mid-Atlantic circuit. My mom has been his right-hand (wo)man for 30 of those 50-plus years.

My favorite racetrack: Saratoga. It’s not just about the racetrack, it’s the feeling that the racetrack gives you and memories associated with it.

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: It’s a tie I have to support the home team by saying the Preakness. It’s always such a fun week. We get the Kentucky Derby winner, everyone is still high on the hopes of a Triple Crown, and there is always so much going on. The other is the Breeders’ Cup. I love the Breeders’ Cup. I am always glued to HRTV the week prior watching the workouts with some pens and highlighters scoping out my handicapping prospects. 

Other sports/teams I follow: Well, if you’re American and a sports fan it’s kind of mandatory that you have a favorite football team; but in my family it’s not that easy. My dad is from New England, so he’s big Patriots fan. My uncle used to scout for the [Denver] Broncos, so that brings in some tension. All things considered, I’d have to say the Broncos primarily because I’m a big fan of Peyton Manning. 

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: The most common thing to say would be “the younger generation,” and I agree with that, but I don't think it’s the first problem the industry needs to tackle. Many of the racetracks’ facilities haven’t been updated for years. I’d like to see more being done to fix the overall appearance, yet still leave the integrity and history of the racetrack. Fix the racetrack, don’t just lump a casino onto the racetrack and call it a day. 

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: Negative publicity for those both affiliated with the industry and those outside the industry. Many times I see people within the industry criticizing others within the industry, which is fine. Everyone has the right to verbalize their own opinions … as long as they are valid arguments. Don’t just criticize to criticize. Media outlets outside of racing love to promote negativity on this sport. Of course, it does happen, but most trainers take better care of their horses than they do themselves. Why not talk about the good?

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Past, present and future

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Laurel Park most likely. Before Laurel’s apron was renovated there was this little spot where my parents and I used to sit. All I remember is AstroTurf and tables. I’d say that was a pretty long time ago.

Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: His name is Grantor. I know it may seem silly because he was far from a Triple Crown winner – he was just your average Thoroughbred – but he was my favorite. I used to gallop him every day and take an extra long time getting back to the barn. After he left our barn, he went on to win a race over hurdles at Saratoga. Now, he’s happily retired as a show horse.

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: The 2012 Travers. I’d never been to Saratoga before, but that summer I went up there during the beginning of the meet to work for the newspaper The Saratoga Special. The dead heat, the commotion, the two canoes in the infield pond, it was a great memory.

Best racetrack food can be found at: Vanilla milkshake and french fries at the Shake Shack at Saratoga. Delicious. 

My favorite jockey: Ramon Dominguez. He had a unique style and embraced it. He also had this unbelievable way of getting horses to relax and has a level of professionalism that speaks for itself. 

My favorite trainer: It’s impossible to narrow it down to one - Graham Motion, Jonathan Sheppard, Bill Mott, Aidan O’Brien, Bobby Frankel, King Leatherbury … the list goes on and on.

My heroes: My family. I learn something new from them every single day. It’s rare when you find people who can give you advice, positive or negative, and you know they have your best interest at heart.

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with: Eddie Arcaro

My philosophy on life: Think, but don’t overthink. Do, but don’t overdo. 

Favorite quote or motto: A few years ago in college there was a guest speaker at one of my classes. He said, “If you’re ever having a bad day, confused, no direction, just pick up a children’s book and read it. Honestly. Pick up Dr. Seuss or your favorite childhood book and reread it. You’ll be amazed at how it applies to adult life. At the very least, it’ll put a smile on your face.” 

Favorite animal other than a horse: I’m a big dog lover.

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: I went to a boxing match a few years ago. That was pretty cool. I’d like to go see one of the big ones with Floyd Mayweather.

Favorite food: Pizza and Mexican food. Obviously not together! But I can honestly say I’m never not in the mood for either.

Favorite vacation spot: I went to Aruba a few years ago and went scuba diving in an abandoned shipwreck. That was a chart topper.

Favorite city: Venice, Italy. I studied abroad in Europe for six weeks and spent some time there. No cars. Just people, bicycles and boats. It felt like I was on another planet.

Favorite musician/band: I don’t really have a favorite, but I can give you a few on my recent playlist: Lana Del Rey, Bastille, Luke Bryan, Ben Howard, John Mayer, Jason Aldean, Avicii, Matchbox 20.

Favorite all-time movie(s): “Bridesmaids,” “Pretty Woman,” “Stepmom” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” are all ones I could watch once a week.

Favorite television show: “Homeland”

Favorite hotel: Weird question. Not really sure. 

Websites I visit daily: Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Brisnet, Twitter, Instagram, and Google.

What I drive: A maroon Scion TC. Her name’s Ruby. 

Pet peeve: Constant negativity. 

Favorite movie about horse racing: “National Velvet” 

Which actor would play me in a movie: Someone told me last week that slightly resembled Hayden Panettiere. Maybe her?

Alma mater: Towson University

Favorite radio shows/channels: I listen to the Kane Show on my way to work. Always entertaining.

Best book I recently read: Right now I’m reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s pretty interesting.

Favorite memento: A stuffed animal I’ve had since I was born. Rocky the raccoon.

Favorite dessert: Creme Brûlée

Favorite drink: I do love wine. Mostly red, either Cabernet or Malbec.

Favorite scent: I can’t explain it, but Christmas always has a certain scent. That’s my favorite. 

What I like about my job: Watching young horses develop in the afternoon, interviewing excited trainers and owners after stakes races, but mostly getting to learn something new everyday. 

Favorite tech gadget: my UP band by Jawbone. You wear it throughout the day and night, then plug it into your iPhone. It tells you how many hours you slept, including deep sleep and if you woke up.

Twitter handle: @Gabby_Gaudet_ 

People I follow on Twitter: 350 people. Probably 98% of racing people plus Ellen DeGeneres. I think she’s great.

No. 1 bucket-list item: Make a difference. 

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