Get to Know Santa Anita VIP Player Host Jeff Chapman

The Life
Clockwise from top left: Jeff Chapman with NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann; Chapman working on his radio show; and Chapman with 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Chapman)

Jeff “Chappy” Chapman is a VIP Player host at Santa Anita Park and hosts the Morning Line Sports Show every Saturday morning on Angels Radio AM830.net from 8 – 9 a.m. PT. You can also watch the radio show weekly on Facebook Live @tmlam830 or visit the website at tmlam830@gmail.com To reach him at Santa Anita Park email Jeff.Chapman@SantaAnita.com

What I do for a living: I am a VIP player host at Santa Anita Park and host the Morning Line Sports Show every Saturday morning from 8-9 a.m. PT on ESPN radio AM830.net

What I like about Thoroughbred racing: I love seeing the horses up close and personal. I also love to watch the pure joy of the owners and gamblers when they win a race. Of course, the handicapping aspect and rush I get from making a nice score isn’t so bad either.

If I wasn’t in my current job, I would be a: Relief pitcher for the [Chicago] Cubs. Well, if I was a little younger and had a nasty fastball. But I am a lefty and I could be a specialist out of the pen to get that one big out. At least in my warped mind, that’s what I would be.

Best advice to someone considering becoming a Thoroughbred owner: Do your homework before jumping in. I learned that the hard way when I was a little younger. You have to know what you’re getting into. It can be a tough game and can get very expensive. I think that’s why partnerships are such a great way to get started. You can be involved at a fraction of the cost and enjoy the thrills with a group of people. But once again, its important to not only have partners who you like and trust, but having a trainer who is accessible and keeps you involved is very important as well.

Chapman with Brent Musburger, center. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chapman)

Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home: That’s a tough one. I think moving it around gives great exposure to fans all across the country to see such a great event live, but keeping it in Southern California does have upside with the great weather and track conditions.

My top three favorite racetracks in order: Santa Anita, Del Mar, Arlington International Racecourse

Most influential person in my career: I certainly have someone in mind who has helped me tremendously over the last five years, but without my parents I wouldn’t have been exposed to the sport at such a young age. They have been such a big influence in every part of my life.

My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred racing: This isn’t exactly out of the box, but we have to get new blood to the track. It’s imperative to reach the young people. Our core audience is old, no question. Young people, college kids, they like to gamble. But they have very short attention spans. We need to attract them through social media, apps to bet on and learn how to bet the horses. Facebook.

There are people much smarter than me working on that every day here at Santa Anita to get them to this beautiful track and make few wagers and have a good time. Its also about creating big days that leave a lasting impression on them so they will fall in love with this sport that means so much to all of us! When our tech-savvy kids get them here, I can make sure they enjoy themselves — that, I’m good at. Just gotta keep ’em coming back!

Other sports/teams I follow: Top five would be the Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, Cubs, and Notre Dame football a distant fifth.

My favorite athletes of all time: Michael Jordan is hands down number one. As a young kid, I loved Leon Durham and Eric Dickerson, and now, it’s probably Javy Baez and Kyle Schwarber.

Jeff Chapman (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chapman)

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: I just started “South Bound,” by Jason Beem.

Favorite magazines: Does the Daily Racing Form count?

Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: I love going to the beach, hanging out with my friends to watch a good game at our local watering hole, or sitting at home with my cat, Wrigley, and watching the Cubs. She’s a big fan.

Favorite movies: “Saving Private Ryan,” “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Training Day”

Favorite TV shows I watch: “Billions,” “Succession,” “Ballers”

Favorite foods: Any kind of BBQ. I love some good tri-tip or brisket, and throw in some mashed potatoes and mac ’n cheese and I’m all good.

Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii

Favorite musician/band: Prince. And I’ve become a big Eagles fan the last few years

Favorite Actor: Robert DeNiro or Denzel Washington

Five websites I visit daily: Paulick Report, DRF, Twitter, Instagram (is that a website? HA!). That’s it on a daily basis

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing: Tom Ludt, James Henry, and Seminar Skip. We would have a lot of laughs, a few cocktails, and probably be firing on Los Al.

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people outside of racing: Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Joe Maddon

Best racetrack food can be found at: No clue. I am the wrong guy to ask about that — not a big foodie. Give me a bowl of chili in the dungeon at Santa Anita and I’m all good.

Chapman in the Santa Anita winner's circle. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chapman)

Accomplishment I am most proud of: I moved out to L.A. 21 years ago from Indiana so I could work in racing. I was making a lot less money, didn’t know a soul when I moved here, and had never been to Cali before. But I knew I would regret it if I didn’t give it a go and work in the sport I love. I told my parents, ‘If it doesn’t work out I can always move back.’ I think my mom is still waiting!

My philosophy on life: Enjoy life, don’t take things too seriously, smile, and most importantly, be nice to EVERYONE.

Things I collect: Losing tickets

Favorite charities: The Ronald McDonald House holds a very close spot in my heart. They did so much for my bro and my nephew when he was born. It was a scary time and they were unreal. My brother now sits on the board in Indiana and raises money for them. We will forever be grateful. … The PDJF is also a favorite of mine and very important

Favorite authors: William Murray

Favorite animal other than a horse: Cats, of course

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Every year, I love going back to Wrigley and I go down to San Diego every year when the Cubs come into to town as well. The most memorable game I attended was the National Championship when Texas beat USC in the Rose Bowl. Vince Young was a man amongst boys that day.

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Exhilarating, puzzling, people (the characters involved in the every day scheme of things)

Top-three fashion brands you prefer to wear: Wow, my friends will get a laugh out of this one. I would say a pair of shorts, a Cubs shirt, and my Sanuks (that’s a brand!) sandals are about it.

Chapman with Justify. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chapman)

Favorite month of the year: July. Our long meet is over at Santa Anita and I can enjoy some time at the beach and heading to Del Mar for a little fun.

What apps are on your phone: Instagram, ESPN, Twitter, StubHub, WhatsApp, Uber, TuneIn radio. That’s about it.

Favorite summer cocktail: Coors Light is pretty much my go to. If I had to have a cocktail, I guess I enjoy an Old Fashioned once in a blue moon.

Favorite winter cocktail: See above

Favorite all-time racehorse: Cigar and Zenyatta are 1 and 1A

Favorite racehorse currently competing: Whoever my next single is for a nice score. Honestly, at the moment there are none. I was very up close and watched Justify from the beginning and was a big fan … had a few others who also recently retired. I’m sure someone will catch my eye in the next couple months.

Favorite international racing event: Dubai World Cup

Three ways to attract more fans to the sport: Lower the takeout, lower beer prices, making the gambling aspect less intimidating through education.

What do you drive for a car? BMW Z4

What’s your favorite gym exercise? I actually like lifting weights now, although I need to get into a better routine.

Who will win the Super Bowl this year? Los Angeles Rams

Esports, yay or nay? Nay

Favorite restaurant: I don’t live at the beach anymore, but when I did I loved me some sushi at Chaya Venice.

Last TV series you binge-watched was: “I’m Dying Up Here”

College or Pro football: Pro, all day long

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