Vince (center) is one of the new America's Best Racing Brand Ambasadors
Hi, my name is Vince Mathews and I am excited to be the new America's Best Racing Brand Ambassador in South Florida.
I am 26 years old and was born in Memphis, Tenn. I also spent part of my childhood in upstate New York before I settled into my home of South Florida in 1999 at the age of 12. I was introduced to racing at an early age by my father during annual family vacations to Hot Springs, Ark. (Oaklawn Park) and Saratoga Springs, N.Y (Saratoga Race Course). However, my passion for the sport of Thoroughbred racing truly began to grow during my teenage years, where every weekend was spent at one of my hometown tracks: Calder Race Course or Gulfstream Park.
It was in these teenage years that I developed a true appreciation for all aspects of the game, particularly the handicapping and wagering sides.
VINCE (third from left) WITH FRIENDS
However, by becoming one of the "regulars" at the track at such an early age, I quickly learned that there was something more than just the simple chance to cash a ticket that kept people coming to the track day after day, week after week, year after year.
It was the connections and relationships made with daily racing fans in the box seat area at (old) Gulfstream. It was the ability to get so close to the horses before a race that you could smell the liniment dripping off them on a hot July day at Calder. But more than any other reason, my love for racing can be summed up in nine words that my father often repeated: "Every day at the track is a new day."
You simply never know who you're going to meet, what you're going to see, or how much money you're going to make, or lose, once you go through those turnstiles for a day at the races.
VINCE AT GULFSTREAM PARK
I chose to study Sports Administration at the University of North Carolina, knowing in the back of my mind that one day I would like to work in the racing industry.
In order to advance my knowledge of all aspects of Thoroughbred racing (both frontside and backside), I worked on the backstretch of Saratoga Race Course for trainer Seth Benzel during the summer of 2009. While I started in May as a hotwalker and had zero prior experience working with racehorses in any capacity, I acquired knowledge and skills as the summer progressed, and actually found myself as the daytime supervisor for the barn once the racing action shifted upstate in late July. I also came home with a few scattered scars after dealing with some tough 2-year-old colts on a daily basis, but without this time spent on the backside, I never would have known exactly how much hard work and effort (from the head trainer all the way down to the hotwalkers) is put into preparing these equine athletes for competition.
HANGING OUT AT THE ECLIPSE AWARDS
Since my 2010 graduation from UNC, I have been most recently employed by Premier Events, a secondary ticket outlet specializing in the large-scale acquisition of premium event tickets, located in Pompano Beach, Fla. However, I jumped at the opportunity to be a Brand Ambassador for America's Best Racing.
I now have the chance to share my passion for racing with others (particularly my peers). I believe the combination of my local South Florida knowledge with the national support I will receive from both my fellow Ambassadors and America's Best Racing as a whole will allow me to be successful in achieving the goal of increasing the interest and visibility of Thoroughbred racing in my home market of Miami.
TAILGATING WITH HIS MOM BEFORE A GAME