Out of the Gate with ... Bailey Gallison
San Diego native Bailey Gallison can usually be found at the track with a Daily Racing Form in hand, ready to explain the hieroglyphics to a new racegoer or friend. Growing up in a horse racing family, she attended the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program and returned to California to support the breeding and racing industry there. She has raced and bred Thoroughbreds in partnership and worked at Vessels Stallion Farm in Bonsall, Calif. Gallison's interest in racing extends beyond her home state to across the Pacific Ocean; she has studied Japan's racing regulatory agencies, breeding program and speaks Japanese. She is always keen for a discussion on racing rules and procedures. Some of her favorite things are making new friends at the track and picking winners.
Name: Bailey Katherine Gallison
How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: My parents met at Del Mar. They both love horse racing, and I grew up going to the track every summer. I was a horse-crazy child obsessed with Thoroughbreds, and I was elated when my dad decided to get into ownership. I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and my grandmother would drive me to the track and drop me at the barn so I could see the horses work. I learned how to poultice and wrap legs from the grooms, learned their routines, and even got a ride from the pony horse every once in a while. I was only 12, but I was hooked.
My favorite racetrack: Where the turf meets the surf, Del Mar, of course! But I love visiting new tracks; last year it was Arlington Park for the Million, three years ago, I visited Churchill Downs for the first time ever at Breeders’ Cup. I love that each track is unique.
My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Breeders’ Cup. It’s one of the rare opportunities for me to see international superstars in person. Not to mention the hometown heroes, the celebrities, the fashion and the FOOD!
Other sports/teams I follow: San Diego Padres and Chargers. They’ve taught me how to handle disappointment *laugh*.
What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: Community outreach and involvement. A track should be a part of the community, holding events for local groups and providing entertainment for all ages. Keeneland is a good example of a track entwined in the local culture. I think Del Mar does a great job of this, too.
What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: There are always going to be highs and lows, but we need to stop letting outside groups define what racing is about. It’s similar to having a community plan - where does racing want to be in 50 years? We need to take control and decide these things for ourselves, not just play a wait-and-see approach.
Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Heart, class, power
Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: Zenyatta. She revived the public’s interest in horse racing beyond the Triple Crown. She’s like a superhero: you could always count on her to save the day, and even if she did lose a fight once, she was not defeated. She is still a hero.
My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: My first win as an owner. I bought into an all-female syndicate, and a lovely filly named Steppin Out Rose won first time starting in our silks. It was at Del Mar, and I was so proud of her. She was a hard-knocking mare that retired with over $350,000 in purses, earned mostly in lower claiming and allowance races. You have to love a horse with that much heart.
Best racetrack food can be found at: The Turf Club at Del Mar. I love a good steak. But I really miss the carved sandwiches I’d get with my brother in the Hollywood Park clubhouse.
My favorite jockey: Laffit Pincay Jr. Not only was he an amazing competitor, but a great role model.
My favorite trainer: There are many trainers I respect and root for, but Bob Hess Jr. is at the top of that list. He’s like family.
Favorite quote or motto: “Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. ” — W.C. Fields
Favorite animal other than a horse: My dog, Coco. Everyone else loves her, too.
Favorite food: Eggs Benedict. I make a mean hollandaise sauce.
Favorite vacation spot: Pismo Beach, Calif. I am always relaxed and stress-free when I am there.
Favorite city: San Francisco, because my mom lives there. We always have a great time when I visit, and they have Golden Gate Fields!
Favorite musician/band: Right now, Iggy Azalea. I’ve seen her interviews and I think she’s a remarkably smart and thoughtful artist. I like a lot of different types of music, especially older classics like Billie Holiday and James Brown.
Favorite TV show: “Arrested Development.” I love watching it again and again with friends and always getting a good laugh from the characters.
Favorite hotel: Harrah’s SoCal Resort, because it’s close to my house and the lazy river is wonderful. But when I travel I like to stay at bed and breakfast-type places and also use AirBNB a lot.
Favorite movie about horse racing: “Secretariat”
Alma Mater: University of Arizona
Favorite memento: Mostly memories, but a winning ticket from each of Zenyatta’s last three races in California (Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Santa Anita) are very special to me.
Favorite dessert: Creme Brulee (another thing I make well).
Favorite drink: Vodka soda with lime, just like my grandpa.
Favorite tech gadget: My iPhone, it keeps me connected when I’m at the track.
Twitter Handle: @starting_gate
People I follow on Twitter: Anyone connected or interested in horse racing. @FranJurga runs @HoofcareJournal and I always learn new things from her articles. Twitter also helps keep me informed on international racing - I follow @KeibaKate, @AndrewNJHawkins and @DubaiRaceNight for insight from Americans abroad.
No. 1 Bucket-List item: To work in Japan. I admire and envy their racing system. To be a part of it is a dream of mine.