Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Q & A with Melissa Bauer-Herzog

We have some incredible fans and industry experts around the nation that we had to hunt down for some personal insights. Check out the inside thoughts of talented writer and self-proclaimed horse obsessor, Melissa Bauer-Herzog!

How did you fall in love with horse racing?  

I grew up on a cattle farm and rode horses from a young age. It was probably destined that I become a fan however, as my grandma grew up in Kentucky and moved to Washington in her 20s.

I was at a friend’s house in 2000 and we were watching a live feed of Del Mar. Point Given broke his maiden that day and I fell in love with him. It was until the middle of 2001 that I really got into horse racing and joined all the horse racing email groups (Yahoo email groups were kind of the Twitter/Facebook of the era) and started learning more.

How many races do you go to in a typical year? 

Too many to count! One of my favorites isArlington Park. It's a kind of paradise inside a city (it’s right outside of Chicago). There is so much to see and do at the track. I’ve gone to the Arlington Million for four years and still don’t think I’ve seen every part of the grandstand. Every year I find somewhere I haven’t been before. The infield is also outstanding!

What’s your most memorable racing memory?

St. Nicholas Abbey. The things he did in his career were spectacular and he ran his heart out every single time. His win in the 2013 Dubai Sheema Classic after losing a heartbreaker to Cirrus Des Aigles is still one of my favorite memories (and the stretch drive is my ringtone).

Have you ever owned or trained a race horse? 

I just jumped into ownership this year. I own part of a 2-year-old Bullet Train gelding named South Upper, who hasn’t started yet.

What is your favorite aspect of the horse racing industry?
Watching horses live up to their potential. I love the bloodstock side of the industry because I can watch a horse that I foaled out or saw sell as a youngster bloom into a Grade 1 winner. The fun part is trying to figure out who is going to be really good and seeing if they live up to your expectations. The flip side of that is being frustrated when that horse decides he or she would rather do something other than race.

How have you seen the industry change over the years? 

Since joining the sport as a professional I’ve seen it become more open to people who want to get involved in the sport. I was warned when I first came into racing around 2009-2010 that it could be hard to find opportunities and that seemed to be a bit of the case when I moved to Kentucky in 2012. But I quickly learned that if you really want to get involved in it and people can see that, they’ll help you find positions and assist you in any way they can. 

Social media plays a huge part in that as well because now you can make connections fairly easy on Twitter and Facebook where even five years ago you were more at the mercy of cold calling or emailing someone when looking for a job. My biggest advice is to create a social presence and just chat with people on there. You’ll learn a lot and make connections and friends in the industry! A lot of us on Twitter are more than willing to give advice or even pass along job openings we know of if we think you are serious about horse racing.

Melissa loves taking Blaze on her many racing adventures! They have been known to watch races from the treetops and travel far and wide for world renown races!

Stay tuned for next week's Q & A segment featuring the next mystery racing guest!

Written by:
Krystal Nelson

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