Tired of all the bad news? So were we. So, in our new series, we focus on the positive, asking people from non-horse racing families two questions: how they get hooked, and how they’ll hook someone else on horse racing this year.
KIARAN MCLAUGHLIN, TRAINER
What was the experience that made you fall in love with horse racing?
I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, in the horse capital of the world. At that time, everyone knew someone who had something to do with the Thoroughbred industry. For me, my best friend’s dad, Greg Burchell, owned and trained Thoroughbreds. So at 12 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a horse trainer when I grew up. So, now I’m living my dream.
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?
I remember that my first time at the track was a great experience. It was most fun you got to go in the winner’s circle and cash a ticket. I also remember going to the Keeneland sale as a kid and seeing the million-dollar yearlings. That always caught my attention. Once you have the passion and it’s in your blood, it’s hard to shake it. And I never did. I’ll always love this business.
If I were introducing a new fan to racing, I would definitely want to take them to Churchill on Derby weekend. The Breeders’ Cup is another great experience, especially with it being at Keeneland this year because it’s one of my favorite tracks. Going to Saratoga is always a wonderful time as well.