#FanFriday: Get to Know Jocelyn Brooks

The Life
Jocelyn Brooks with a yearling filly by Verrazano out of Naive Enough. (Courtesy of Jocelyn Brooks)

Jocelyn Brooks is the chief of staff at Sagamore Racing, one of the most prominent racing teams in the mid-Atlantic. Brooks is based at Sagamore Farm, located in Glyndon, Md., which is currently owned by Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank (and previously Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr.). Behind the scenes at the farm, Brooks is a fan of racing first and she talks about her passion for the sport and horses in this week’s edition of Fan Friday.

My introduction to horse racing occurred when ... Informally, growing up in Baltimore we always watched the Triple Crown races and of course the Preakness! Formally, when I began working at Sagamore in 2015. 

My top three favorite racetracks in order, and what I like about each one:

Saratoga – Great place to train horses, amazing race-day experience, and wonderful town to spend time in.

Keeneland – Absolutely beautiful, historic, a place where anyone will fall in love with racing.

Pimlico – My hometown track, Old Hilltop; lots of great Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Day memories. Getting to watch the Preakness horses train in Baltimore that week is always special! 

Favorite place at the racetrack to watch a race: At the wire, so my horses can hear me cheer them home and tell them how amazing they are! 

On horseback. (Courtesy of Jocelyn Brooks)

Working at a farm like Sagamore is ... a gift. I am grateful to be here every day. 

The best part of my job is: The team – people and horses included. We have an amazing, hardworking, happy team. 

One thing that most people don’t know about me is: I’m a New York-bred - I was born in Brooklyn. 

Advice I would give to anyone considering getting into racing as an owner: Start with a partnership, so you can learn the ins and outs of ownership with a fun group of people!

Favorite racehorse currently competing: He Hate Me 

Favorite all-time racehorse: Growing up I loved the fillies, Serena’s Song was my favorite because she was small but mighty! 

Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home: Rotate

Favorite international racing event: Royal Ascot 

Three ways to attract more fans to the sport: High-definition racing on TV, better storytelling, better fan experience 

What is your go-to or signature bet to make at the racetrack: I always bet the Sagamore horses to win.  

Best advice I could give to anyone who wants to learn about betting on the races: Follow Dan Tordjman’s articles on ABR’s website, start with some of the bigger race days where there is a lot of information to help you learn and make picks. Don’t get overwhelmed with all the exotic bets, just start small, it’s fun to make picks even if you don’t gamble!

Other sports/teams I follow: Baltimore Ravens 

Brooks and her OTTB. (Courtesy of Jocelyn Brooks)

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Baltimore Ravens home playoff game – we won! 

My favorite athletes of all-time: I like our hometown heroes – Cal Ripken Jr., Cigar, Native Dancer, Michael Phelps … few states may have as much pride as Maryland! 

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: I use Audible, so I listen to a new book every week, "The Goldfinch" was a good one! 

Favorite magazines: Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, of course 

Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram: Twitter 

Hobbies, other than Thoroughbred racing: Riding my Sagamore off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB), Perpetual Optimism. He’s only 5 but an aspiring jumper/eventer. 

Favorite foods: Pizza and candy 

Least favorite food: Olives 

Crab cakes or lobster rolls (answer carefully): Maryland CRAB CAKES! 

Favorite cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye

Favorite movies: Anything funny - "Wedding Crashers," "Old School," "Best In Show."

Twitter handle: @SagamoreRacing 

What apps are on your phone: iStable, TDN, DRF, TwinSpires, Instagram, Twitter, NBC Sports, Smartpak, Audible, Dunkin Donuts ;) 

Favorite animal other than a horse: Dogs! But I love every animal! 

Favorite top three fashion brands you prefer to wear: Under Armour x3 

Favorite month of the year: May 

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing: Sheikh Mohammed, Queen Elizabeth and Alfred G. Vanderbilt 

My philosophy on life: Be nice, work hard, have fun

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