The program, which was piloted this past summer at Del Mar, is the brainchild of Orange County-based dentist Troy Racki, who is also a licensed horse owner. Under his direction, the program’s goal is to offer participants a unique and interactive experience in the stable area and on the front-side of the race track.
Racki will oversee a tour group of 20 people, who will spend time before the races on the Oak Tree backstretch. Participants will have the opportunity to visit the barn of trainer Sanford Shulman, who will be available to answer questions and provide insight into the sport and the equine athletes that make it happen. To ensure safety, these groups will be accompanied by experienced horsemen provided by Oak Tree.
Ambassador Program participants will also be able to interact with blacksmiths, grooms and other backstretch personnel and will also be encouraged to take photographs.
After their tour of the backstretch, participants will attend a newcomer’s handicapping seminar that will help to explain the process and verbiage involved in placing a wager as they receive race selections from a handicapping professional.
After watching the first race from a private box seat, participants will continue their owner/fan experience by going to Santa Anita’s Walking Ring prior to the next race. It is there that they will be able to meet with and to see and hear trainers and jockeys discussing last minute strategy prior to the call of “Riders Up!”
The Oak Tree/NTRA Ambassador Program is free of charge and will be offered every Thursday and Sunday (excepting Oct. 5) from Sept. 28 through Oct. 19. Admission and box seat are included.
Participants will also be able to join, free of charge, Santa Anita’s Thoroughbreds Club, which offers all members discounted admission.
Those interested are encouraged to contact the Marketing Department at Santa Anita at (626) 574-6384.