SANDY HATFIELD, STALLION MANAGER, THREE CHIMNEYS
What was the experience that made you fall in love with horse racing?
I’m originally from Oklahoma. My family raised Quarter Horses, so I was familiar with the track in many ways. I was going to college at Oklahoma State University when the equine department at Murray State University was just getting started. They offered me a scholastic scholarship to join their program, so I moved to Kentucky as a junior in college.
Between my junior and senior years of college, I had a friend ask me to join him in Lexington for the summer to work the sales at Keeneland. I had never been around Thoroughbreds. My only association with the industry was watching the Kentucky Derby every year. While I was there for the sale, I fell in love with the horses and the people. After I graduated, I came back to Lexington and started taking care of yearlings and moved my way up from there.
The Thoroughbred industry was a whole different world from what I was used to with Quarter Horses. To see a horse get to make his move and to get to learn the strategies involved with Thoroughbred racing was fascinating to me.
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?
The breeding side of the industry is what people who just watch racing on television don’t know anything about and don’t get to understand. While tracks like Keeneland would always be a great place to take a new fan, going to a farm and seeing the babies and the stallions and how they are loved and taken care of would be the first place I would take a potential racing fan. I would want them to see the whole process from matings to foaling to training, so that they could understand how much we love what we do and how much we love these horses.