How it all began - I was first introduced to the world of horse racing when my father took me to Santa Anita Park as a child, and I fell in love with it. My father had no connection to horse racing other than just being a fan, and I am glad he took me to the racetrack because, thanks to that introduction, I am a racing fan and a handicapper — for life.
As a child at the track, I loved the beauty of the horses and cheering my favorite jockey in every race. As time went by, I learned to understand the past performances, the different types of races, and all the many things that make horse racing a challenging and competitive game and sport. Once I understood all that, I fell in love with it even more. My horse racing “geekiness” is probably oozing through the screen right about now. Being born and raised in Southern California, yes I’m a Cal-bred, allowed me to enjoy and attend year-round racing at racetracks like Santa Anita, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Fairplex Park, and even Los Alamitos. All of those places are fun.
JOSE AND HIS WIFE, KARINA
Eventually, I became more focused on how I could become involved in horse racing and help the sport expand after I began to notice that during my visits at the track I wouldn’t see many people my own age. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why aren’t fans following horse racing like they follow the NBA, NFL or MLB? Is it the minimal television coverage? Is it not enough social media interaction with fans? Or perhaps is there is an intimidation factor with making bets or handicapping? Or is it something else?’
I believe it is a combination of all of these things and more.
I am very happy to say that I have introduced new people, who had no idea what horse racing was, to the sport and have made them into everyday fans of racing. I enjoy inviting new friends to the racetrack whenever I have an opportunity and teaching them how to read a program or Daily Racing Form and then, of course, getting them to play the races. All it takes is a great first impression and you’re off to the races, so to speak.
I have found that many of the people my age are easily interested in a new sport/trend/hobby as long as there is some type of fan-to-sport connection.
JOSE AND JOCKEY JOE TALAMO
Horse racing has many ways for fans to interact and connect with the sport. Fashion, dining, photography, competition, gambling and much more are all parts of this great sport. And, my favorite thing to let a new fan know about is pari-mutuel wagering—not everyone understands that pari-mutuel wagers are bets against every other person betting on that horse race. You’re not betting against “the house” at a casino; you’re betting against your friends. If this isn’t an opportunity for ultimate bragging rights, I don’t know what is.
I am so excited to be a part the ABRV tour this year because I will have the opportunity to help get thousands of new fans involved in all aspects of the sport. This year is really going to be amazing.
JOSE AT GULFSTREAM