Get to Know Racing Writer Gene Kershner

The Life
Gene Kershner, pictured at Charles Town at left, is an accountant, racing fan, and racing writer. (Courtesy Gene Kershner)

Longtime racing fan Gene Kershner made his hobby into a side gig – not only does he co-own an accounting firm, he also covers horse racing for The Buffalo News. Get to know the upstate New York native in the fun Q&A below.

What I do for a living:  By day I am a certified public accountant and co-own a 107-person firm in Buffalo, N.Y., named Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP. By night and by weekend I am the turf writer for The Buffalo News and cover the U.S. Triple Crown, the Canadian Triple Crown, Saratoga, and the Breeders’ Cup.

What I like about Thoroughbred racing: The puzzle that handicapping a race provides me intellectually and analytically. I enjoy picturing how the race will be run based on the numbers and figures in the past performances and the thrill of winning never disappoints.

If I wasn’t in my current job, I would be a: retired horseplayer.

Best advice to someone considering becoming a Thoroughbred owner: Join a partnership first and see if the sport is for you. Also, have a lot of disposable income.

Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home: I’m a fan of the rotation plan and have attended BCs at Monmouth, Churchill, Keeneland, Santa Anita, and Del Mar. I enjoy the different host tracks and bringing racing to different parts of the country. I’m a proponent of Laurel being awarded one in the future.

My top three favorite racetracks in order:  1. Saratoga; 2. Santa Anita; 3. Woodbine

Kershner talks with trainer Antonio Sano.
Kershner talks with trainer Antonio Sano. (Courtesy Gene Kershner)

Most influential person in my career: My father, his entrepreneurial spirit was passed down and he’s always been an inspiration to emulate. 

My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred racing: I’m not sure if this is out of the box, but I can’t understand why there’s not a filly Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. It falls off after the Kentucky Oaks and spreads thin. Possibly an Oaks – Acorn Alabama filly Triple Crown that culminated in Saratoga could be the way to go.

Other sports/teams I follow: Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, and Baltimore Orioles. As a native of Syracuse, N.Y., the Orange basketball and football squads are up there. I am a season ticket holder for University at Buffalo basketball/football also. 

My favorite athletes of all time: Brooks Robinson, Johnny Unitas, Arnold Palmer 

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive” by Patrick Lencioni. Currently reading “Big Game” by Mark Leibovich. 

Favorite magazines: The Florida Horse (full disclosure: I am a frequent contributor), Sports Illustrated 

Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: Watching my son and daughter participate in baseball, basketball, squash, dance, and band. 

Favorite movies: “The Natural,” “Hoosiers” 

Favorite TV shows I watch: “30 for 30” documentaries 

Favorite foods: Tacos, pizza 

Favorite vacation spot: California. Great vacations in Napa/San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Manhattan Beach 

Favorite musician/band: Tom Petty 

Favorite actor:  John Malkovich 

Five websites I visit daily: Twitter, Facebook, ESPN Fantasy, Accounting Today, and of course, The Buffalo News

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing: Sol Kumin, Mike Smith, and Eric Guillot 

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people outside of racing: Warren Buffet, Kid Rock, Larry David 

Best racetrack food can be found at: Lobster Hut at Saratoga (he’s a Buffalo guy, naturally) 

Accomplishment I am most proud of: Past president of Buffalo Renaissance Foundation 

My philosophy on life: Smile, be kind to people, and smell the roses 

Things I collect: Sports tickets (the digital age is now killing this)

Favorite charities: Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame (board member of each) 

Favorite authors: John Grisham (hands down) 

Favorite animal other than a horse: I have a cockapoo named Tanner Jones 

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: World Series to see Joe Carter’s walk-off home run. 

Three words that define what Thoroughbred Racing means to me: Best. Hobby. Ever. 

Top three fashion brands you prefer to wear: I’d have to google them. I mostly wear Ralph Lauren in my professional settings. 

Favorite month of the year: October 

What apps are on your phone: Equibase, Capital OTB, TwinSpires 

Favorite summer cocktail: Vodka with lemonade 

Favorite winter cocktail:  Bourbon mule 

Favorite all-time racehorse: Curlin 

Favorite race horse currently competing: Catholic Boy 

Favorite international racing event:  Queen’s Plate 

Three ways to attract more fans to the sport: Education, education, education (on how to bet, how to read program, how to gain access to information)  

What do you drive for a car?  Dodge Durango 

What’s your favorite gym exercise? Elliptical 

Who will win the Super Bowl this year? L.A. Rams  

Esports: Yay or nay? Indifferent 

Favorite restaurant: I have several restaurant clients in Buffalo that have terrific food (Creekview, SEAR, Oliver’s, and Giancarlo’s) 

Last TV series you binge-watched was: “Curb Your Enthusiasm” 

College or pro football: Pro, my wife is the marketing director for the Buffalo Bills

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