Do you have a son or daughter who enjoys harness racing as much as you do? Or perhaps you have the horse racing bug and would love to consider a career in the industry? Then look no further than the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program (RTIP).
Established in 1974, this Bachelor of Science degree program offers two different paths of study. One prepares students for the business side of the industry, which includes careers in track management, regulation and pari-mutuel operations.
The other path is designed for students interested in working more directly with the horses and prepares them for careers in racing, training and bloodstock enterprises.
The RTIP focuses both paths on quality education, emphasizing integrity and professionalism; the program offers personal mentoring and professional development opportunities and utilizes its deep ties to alumni working in the industry.
While at the program, students gain invaluable hands-on experience through internships and create a network of industry professionals through their interaction with speakers brought to campus during each semester to lecture in the classroom. The most recent “guest professor” was Rachel Ryan, the Meadowlands’ head of public relations.
The “who’s who” of the racing business who gather in Tucson each December for the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming (hosted by the RTIP) are also a great resource for the students. One of the most important industry gatherings in the racing industry, the Symposium attracts experts and officials from throughout the world, bringing them right to the student’s doorstep.
What is most impressive is the list of graduates who have gone on to great positions working in the harness racing industry including Peter Koch, race secretary at the Meadowlands; Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah’s Philadelphia and Heather Belmonte, executive assistant at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park.
And on faculty at the RTIP is none other than Hall of Famer Dean Hoffman, former head of Hoof Beats at the USTA!
Graduates from the Thoroughbred side of the roster include top trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher; Martin Panza, senior VP of racing operations at New York Racing Association; Thomas Ventura, president, Ocala Breeders' Sales Company; Peter Rotondo, VP – television, Breeders' Cup Limited and Jim Kostas, president, Daily Racing Form.
The school’s rate for job placement within the industry is nearly flawless. This reporter can vouch for that having hired a graduate during my racetrack management days and working with numerous graduates over the years.
Check out their website as it is full of information about the program, alumni, special services, grants, scholarships and more. The site is at http://ua-rtip.org/.
By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com