This year's Equestricon brought racing fans together in Louisville, Ky., for Breeders' Cup week. In addition to panels, booths, and meet-and-greets with racing's greats, several prizes were given away including a trip to Australia for The Championships in April. Grand prize winner Bob Kasinow shares his 2018 Equestricon experience below.
I attended the first Equestricon in 2017 in downtown Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with my wife Rita and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Especially encouraging was the engagement of younger generations of fans and those directly involved in the Thoroughbred industry. Initially I was undecided if we would attend Equestricon 2018. Then, as has occurred way too often in years past, a family member or close family friend decides to get married on Breeders’ Cup weekend. This year we had a wedding in South Carolina. I liken this to planning a wedding at 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, but for those not passionate about horse racing, these things happen.
Once the calendar was set for the wedding, I saw that this year’s Equestricon was being held in Louisville, Ky., so not all that far of a drive to South Carolina. That is when I knew we had to go to Equestricon this year! I expected that year two of Equestricon would be bigger, better and a means to feel the Breeders’ Cup spirit even if not attending the races in person. That set the stage for the unknown sequence of exciting events.
The first day of Equestricon in Louisville we pick up our passes at the Convention Center and look for the kiosk to register our IDs for entry to win various prizes. I go first. I enter all of my pertinent information. The last step in the registration process is a “scratch off” screen where you rub the screen to see what you may have won. My winning prize is a set of four Breeders’ Cup glasses and I am extremely happy to have won something. Next in line is Rita. She enters her information and begins her scratch off. Gradually her winning prize begins to appear. We both quickly finish revealing the words, “GRAND PRIZE”! Our first reaction was that this must be a qualifying entry to another drawing to potentially win a bigger prize. The prize volunteer at the exhibit for Equestricon sees the screen and immediately says, “I need to tell the organizers and get your information as you are the grand prize winners!” Immediately we go to the large sign near the kiosks and read more details on the prize:
GRAND PRIZE – WIN A TRIP TO AUSTRALIA FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Prize includes: Roundtrip airfare for two to Sydney, Australia
Five nights at Sydney’s Bondi Beach resort
Private transfers to Royal Randwick
Premium hospitality package at THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Slowly the reality of winning the really big Equestricon grand prize sinks in. A local Louisville news station, WAVE 3 News is nearby and captures the first reaction interview. Later we meet James Ross, General Manager of the Australian Turf Club, and join in another interview with Ren Caruthers for Equestricon social media. Then sharing the news with family and friends was unforgettable.
Rita and I are very much anticipating the April 2019 Championships at Royal Randwick and are excited to be attending a great international racing event at a world-class venue. Traveling to Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we are looking forward to it! As a passionate lifelong Thoroughbred racing fan that began many years ago working with horses at Monmouth Park and continuing as an avid handicapper and co-owner, seeing Australian racing firsthand will be an awesome treat, including up-close clockwise turf racing. Our time in Australia will go amazingly fast, and with that I am interested to learn what I can on different training methods and horse care with behind the scenes access. We may also see the great Winx run only adding to this special trip. Of course we will have to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible to experience fabulous and unique Australia firsthand.
Thank you to Equestricon and the Australian Turf Club. We will be sharing notes and pictures along the way!