Mary Frances Dale, right, side stage at the DEV concert, Austin City Limits 2012.
Growing up in Middle Tennessee in a family of horse enthusiasts, I was never far from the track. My parents took me to the Iroquois Steeplechase practically every spring, which is where I first caught the horseracing bug. Like most horse racing fans, my family and I enjoyed the races more when each person had some money riding with a horse. This is a problem in a state that doesn't allow gambling, but like most of our fellow box holders we found a way to enjoy the races properly. We weren't running a "prohibitionesque" enterprise, just each guest putting down a dollar on a horse, winner take all. Somewhere between the excitement of rooting for a horse to the thrill of winning some of my parent’s money, I was hooked. Attending the races at Keeneland with my friends from college proved to be an even better time, and I was officially addicted to the energy and excitement of horse racing.
I grew up taking care of my mom’s three horses on my grandfather’s farm and developed a deep appreciation for these beautiful creatures. I began riding the minute I was old enough to jump on a horse and was soon reading any equestrian books I could find.
Here is Roger, a handsome thoroughbred gelding from my home in Columbia, Tenn.
While in college at Sewanee, I became an Art History and Classical Languages double major (nerdy, I know) and I was happy to find that throughout history I’m not the only one who has been fascinated by horses.
Cave Painting, Lascaux, France. Paleolithic period, roughly 17,300 years old
After graduating from Sewanee in May of 2012, I began working for an independent record label in Austin, Texas. As marketing intern for the label, I managed the social media and promotion of five artists, including the Grammy-award winning Los Lonely Boys and soon became an avid tweeter, blogger, pinner, and Wikipedia aficionado. While promoting British folk-rock group, The Dunwells, on their US summer tour, I was able to travel around the country, from the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival in Lyons, Colorado, to the Americana Festival in Nashville, Tennessee and soon I was as addicted to the energy and vibrancy of music festivals as I was to large-scale thoroughbred racing events.
With my friend Rachel, hanging backstage at Austin City Limits with The Dunwells and Kevin Wommack, owner of Playing In Traffic Records
While attending Austin City Limits and getting to hang backstage with my artist pass (yeah, it was awesome) I couldn’t help but feel that horse racing could also channel the energy of a music festival into their own sport without losing their distinct vibe. I want to show the same people who are fighting for tickets to music festivals like ACL or Coachella that thoroughbred racing is cool, and arguably a lot “cooler” since it requires very little interaction with sweaty mosh pits.
I’m proud to be a brand ambassador for America’s Best Racing and thrilled to work in the thoroughbred horse racing industry. I feel like the best is yet to come for the sport of kings.
With the legendary A.P. Indy, sire of sires, at Lane’s End Farm