#FanFriday: Get to Know Maggie Wolfendale

The Life
Maggie Wolfendale on air in the Saratoga paddock. (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

Maggie Wolfendale Morley works as a paddock analyst for the New York Racing Association. She is the daughter of Maryland-based trainer Howard Wolfendale and grew up entrenched in racing. She and husband, New York-based trainer Tom Morley, have a 10-month-old daughter Grace. Maggie also enjoys riding her off-track Thoroughbred (OTTB) Yeager and the company of their Jack Russell terrier named George. 

My introduction to horse racing occurred when ... 

I was born.

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

Saratoga: Horse racing heaven on earth.

Laurel Park: It's home.

Belmont Park: No other track compares to its enormity, yet it is utterly peaceful.

My big break came when:

After I sent out a tape and resume to every track in the country and NYRA were the ones to call me back.

What’s it like to work as a paddock reporter in New York: 

Extremely rewarding when fans and horsemen alike appreciate the hard work I put in.

Maggie and Haveyougoneaway after the Ballerina. (Susie Raisher/NYRA)

Favorite interview I’ve ever conducted:

Tough to narrow it down ... interviewing my husband after he won the Ballerina would top, but I also loved talking to the Army veteran and his wife who were selected to receive an all-expenses paid trip to Saratoga by Ron Paolucci.

Least favorite (most uncomfortable, perhaps) interview I’ve ever conducted:

Sal Governale (Sal the Turtle) but it certainly wasn't my least favorite, I was just scared he was going to say something really inappropriate. 

Favorite place at the racetrack to watch a race:

Doesn't matter as long as they win.

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

It should rotate but it doesn't have to be coast to coast. Always felt as though we should consider having it in other countries too. After all, it is called the "World Championships."

The most influential person in my career is

My mom

Best advice to someone considering ownership:

Remember, horses need to be cared for after their racing careers are over.

Accomplishment I am most proud of:

My career and my family

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: 

My entire life

What is your go-to or signature bet to make at the racetrack:

Exacta. Also, across the board on a horse that I really like in the paddock at odds of 10-1 or higher.

Favorite all-time racehorse: 

Cigar

Favorite racehorse currently competing:

Gun Runner

Favorite international racing event: 

That I've been to; Cheltenham festival.

Three ways to attract more fans to the sport:

Every track needs to be HD, continue to educate people on wagering, make it a prime time event (like NYRA has done with Saratoga/ Belmont Live)

Maggie interviews Manuel Franco after a race. (Joe Labozzetta/NYRA)

Other sports/teams I follow: 

Football: the Baltimore Ravens

Golf ... the Ryder Cup is a big event in our house.

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended:

US Open

My favorite athletes of all time: 

Cal Ripken

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read:

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “Finding Gobi”

Favorite magazines:

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred

Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: 

Riding my OTTB Yeager

Favorite foods:

Anything in New Orleans

Best racetrack food can be found at:

Saratoga

Favorite cocktail:

Vodka tonic

Favorite movies:

“Almost Famous,” “Casey's Shadow”

Favorite actor:

Johnny Depp

Favorite TV shows:

“This Is Us,” “Shameless,” “The Crown”

Favorite vacation spot:

Africa

Maggie reporting on horseback. (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

Favorite musician/band:

O.A.R, Mumford and Sons, Bob Marley

If you could pick walk-up music that would play when your horse(s) entered a winner’s circle, what song would you pick: 

"Street Fighting Man" by The Rolling Stones

Top websites I visit daily:

DRF, Bloodhorse

Twitter handle:

@maggiewolfndale

What apps are on your phone: 

The usual social media ones, Amazon, Uber

Favorite animal other than a horse:

Dog. Specifically Jack Russell terriers; well, George.

Favorite top three fashion brands you prefer to wear:

J Crew, Joules, Toms

Favorite month of the year:

August

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing:

Tom Durkin, Mike Smith, D. Wayne Lukas

My philosophy on life:

Work hard. Be kind. And laugh as much as possible. 

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