By Carly Silver
Passion for horses runs through the veins of many equestrian families, and the family of Fasig-Tipton’s recruiting and marketing manager, Evan Ferraro, is no exception. As such, it comes as no surprise that Evan followed down a similar career path to his parents in the racing industry.
The 35-year-old is the son of former trainer Stephen Ferraro and advertising agent Richmond, who raised him in Sierra Madre, California–not far from Santa Anita.
“My husband was a trainer at Santa Anita, so Evan spent a lot of time around the barn,” Richmond Ferraro said, adding that her son would wake up at 4:30 every morning to accompany his father to the backstretch.
Evan recalled, “Both sides of my family have been in racing a long time. My dad trained in Southern California for about 20 years. My mother’s been involved in the advertising aspects of the game for a long time.”
Evan’s parents met at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga sale, and the family spent summers at Del Mar during his childhood. Evan’s paternal grandmother was a racing commissioner in the 1980s, while his maternal grandmother managed historic Virginia nursery Llangollen Farm, then owned by Liz Whitney Tippett. Richmond worked in advertising at the Blood-Horse right out of college, then broke yearlings for John Bell and established Cromwell Advertising with Bell’s daughter, Benny Bell Williams.
“My parents were always talking about horses and the horse business,” Evan said. “I guess I never really stood a chance, to be honest with you.”
Eventually, Evan began tagging along with his dad to the sales, where he fell in love with the business. Despite clerking at a law firm and pursuing other career opportunities, he always came back to horses. While attending the University of Southern California, he was a production assistant for TVG, then went to work for Harris Farms in Coalinga. There, he became part of a seven-person team for an entire breeding season, helping with stallions such as Lucky Pulpit, sire of the famed California Chrome.
From teasing to yearling prep, vet work to consignment, Evan blossomed in this role, which covered every aspect of horsemanship.
“The racetrack’s one thing, but when you learn about horse’s habits…you work on the farm, get a whole picture of the animal,” Evan said, noting that Harris’s horse division manager David McGlothlin was particularly instrumental as a mentor.
In 2008, Evan headed cross-country, moving to Kentucky to start a sales and marketing internship at Fasig-Tipton. Nine years later, Evan–who also inspects and selects horses for sales–works closely with director of marketing Terence Collier to make Fasig-Tipton stand out to breeders and consignors.
“We naturally do traditional sale and graduate success advertising in the major dailies and print publications worldwide, on television and simulcast networks, and heavy use of social media–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube,” he said. “We’ve stepped up our social media considerably the last couple of years with the addition of [research and marketing associate] Rachael Zilboorg to our marketing team.”
Fasig-Tipton works to remain ahead of the curve, citing the advent of the enhanced catalogue for the 2011 November sale as an example of innovation at the sales company.
“It was the first of its kind in the Thoroughbred auction world,” Evan reflected. “It provides buyers with all the valuable information they need in one spot, and it’s a huge marketing tool for sellers, as well.”
Fasig-Tipton also places emphasis on providing high-definition footage to prospective buyers. In 2009, the auction house became the first of its kind to broadcast sales and 2-year-old under tack shows in HD.
Fasig-Tipton hosts 13 sales per year, which means the marketing team has to work to make each auction stand out to prospective buyers.
“We work hard to market each sale on its individual successes, while still within our overall brand,” Evan said. “And we are obviously strong believers in the ‘selected’ model…Our sales offer quality horses that achieve quality results, and getting that message out is a huge part of our marketing program. I think the important part of working for [a] sales company, and the fun part, is to be everybody’s friend.”
To that end, Ferraro added that his team members place a heavy emphasis on one-on-one contact with both buyers and sellers in order to foster better relationships with the key players at the sales. A major component of Ferraro’s work is recruitment for major auctions such as the November Sale.
Richmond is thrilled at her son’s success, noting, “It’s been very exciting and I’m very proud of him. Advertising is kind of a grind, and I think he probably knew that going in, but he jumped in and following in Terence Collier’s footsteps would be difficult because Terence is just tops.”
When asked about his mentor, Evan said, “Terence has seen it all–and as advertising mediums continue to evolve, those principles remain the same. I just wish my singing voice was as good as his.”
Fasig-Tipton employees mesh well together, leading a grateful Evan to conclude, “It’s really a wonderful place to work.”