By Carly Silver
A daughter of jockey-turned-trainer Tom Albertrani and his wife, former exercise rider Fonda, 23-year-old Teal Albertrani belies her years with her extensive experience in the Thoroughbred industry. She currently is the director of partner relations for West Point Thoroughbreds. Teal, who currently splits her time between Florida in the winter, Belmont Park in the spring and fall, and Saratoga in the summer, got equine experience from a young age.
“It was definitely always horses from the beginning. I guess I was just born into the industry,” she said.
A former assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Tom Albertrani was recruited to become an assistant trainer for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Godolphin Stable in the United Arab Emirates.
“We moved to Dubai when I was two years old,” Teal recalled. “From that point, my life was different because we were always traveling.”
Splitting her childhood between Dubai and England, Teal noted that watching her father work alongside Godolphin's head conditioner Saeed bin Suroor was a formative experience.
“Being able to experience that was incredible, so I wouldn't change it for anything,” she said.
Back in America, the excitement surrounding her dad's 2006
GI Preakness S. win with Bernardini pushed her to get involved.
“I guess I learned a lot from being around the barn and being home together, too. My dad's my best friend,” she added.
An avid rider since the age of five, Teal observed her father's work ethic and applied it to her own passion. In particular, she and her younger sister Noelle watched “how the industry works in a business sense, because growing up, I just saw what happened around the barn.”
For six years, during her high school and college summer breaks, she interned for the New York Racing Association's Horsemen's Relations department. After graduating from the State University of New York in Albany with a degree in communications, she completed internships in marketing and events at Darley and events and catering at Gulfstream Park.
About a year ago, Teal joined the West Point team, which currently has about 60 runners. Today, she helps keep the many partners engaged with their horses, helping with communications and event planning.
“There's never a dull moment,” she said.
Throughout the year, West Point puts on events for its near 500 partners, meaning Teal is always busy. Whether that means organizing visits to the sales to see how the West Point team works or coordinating visits to the track on race day, her goal is to “make it really fun and enjoyable, so partners can see behind the scenes.” She added that she strives to make sure the partners feel welcome, to keep them informed, and to explain all the equine goings-on to them. That might also mean filming horses' breezes or helping to plan barn tours during Triple Crown season.
In addition to bringing partners together at the track, West Point places great emphasis on Thoroughbred aftercare. Its Congie Black and Gold Fund–named for former West Point runner King Congie (Badge of Silver)–was established to help give retired West Point horses proper care, new homes, and even second careers.
“We ask and really want people to donate to that fund to make sure that our horses have a nice life when they're retired and they're safe, comfortable and happy,” said Teal.
Teal said that sharing the excitement of race day with the partners was particularly gratifying. This spring has been particularly exciting, as West Point and Siena Farm bought a minority interest in GI Xpressbet.com Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister)and then watched as that colt charged to victory in the GI Kentucky Derby.
No doubt all the partners were cheering him home. Even if certain partners don't own a piece of a given horse, Teal said that they still root for their West Point brethren, adding with enthusiasm, “I think West Point does a really good job of making everyone feel welcome and involved.”