Hooked On Horse Racing: Conor Foley

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Conor Foley | Fasig-Tipton

What was the experience that made you fall in love with horse racing?

My dad’s roommate in college was Tom Durkin, and he was still good friends with my parents when I was a kid. So when I was growing up, horse racing was something that was always on the television at my house and viewed as important. But the first instance I remember being mentally captured by the sport was when I was there for Alysheba winning the Kentucky Derby.

Would you commit to creating one new fan this year and, if so, what would be the experience you use to introduce them to the sport?

If I were to introduce a new fan to the sport, I would definitely take them to the backside of Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby week. Every year, I try to do that for anyone I know that wants to go. I think Derby week is the time when our sport is best shown off on multiple facets. I’ve never taken anyone who has never been and they had a bad time.

When I take people to the backside on Derby Week, I think they’re blown away by the sophistication of it all. Obviously, these are some of our best athletes, so I think that even if it’s someone who has never seen a racehorse, they can look at a horse that’s about to run in the Derby and know it’s something special.

We need to make it more clear that the portal to entry for our sport is not as difficult as some people think. People know how to buy a house or buy a car, but the process for buying a racehorse is not clear to a fan. I’d like to see it be a more friendly interaction for people that are interested in owning their first racehorse.

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