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.
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
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