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Horse Racing Journalist

General Horse Articles - I'm a Racing Journalist
Young Rider finds out what it’s like to write for a national Thoroughbred racing magazine.

Fact File
Name: Tom Law
Age: 29
Job Title: Racing Journalist
Works for: Thoroughbred Times, KY
Education: State University of New York College at Cortland. Bachelor of Arts in Communications, concentration in journalism.

Q: How did you get your job?

A: I met two of the Thoroughbred Times editors while working as a sportswriter at The Saratogian, a newspaper in Saratoga Springs, New York. I spent more than four years as a sports writer there, covering just about everything sports-related, including horse racing, high school football, college basketball, ice hockey, golf, baseball, and equine sports.

Tom at work before a race.

Q: What do you do?

A: My current position is staff writer, which means I basically write about all kinds of horse racing related events. The majority of the time I cover the breeding end of the business, along with major races throughout the country at different times of the year. I also cover various news items and write stories for the magazine’s Internet site.

Q: What’s a typical day for you?

That depends on what time of year it is. During the winter, when the breeding season is going on, things slow down a bit and I’ll work from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When racing is going on at Keeneland or Churchill Downs, I’ll also work some weekends. Some days will be spent at farms talking to the people that take care of the horses, while other days are spent in the office, basically locked to my desk and computer.

Q: What are the best parts of the job?

A: Two things: the travel and the interaction with the people associated with the horses. I’ve been fortunate to travel to some of the world’s best racetracks to see some of the greatest horses, jockeys, and trainers perform at the highest level.
I’ll never forget the first time I wrote about the Kentucky Derby or the Breeders’ Cup when I was actually at the site of competition, and it still gives me the same feeling even though I’ve done it several times since. As for the interaction with the horsemen and women, in my opinion, horse racing is equal to no other sport in terms of stories. The horsemen and women I’ve spoken with and written about have some of the best stories and experiences. And everyone has a different story.

Q: What are the worst parts of the job?

A: Sometimes it gets tough because horse racing isn’t like other sports which have an "official” beginning to the season and an end. Horse racing goes year round and the seasons seem to flow together.

Q: Have you met any horsey celebrities (equine or human)?

A: When I worked as a sports writer in New York I was lucky enough to write several stories on Cigar, who won 16 straight races from 1994 to 1996.
Some of the other top horses I’ve seen during morning training or afternoon racing are Skip Away, Real Quiet, Silver Charm, Silverbulletday, Favorite Trick, Coronado’s Quest, and Fusaichi Pegasus. There have been a lot of people, too, including several top trainers and jockeys. Some of the trainers are D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert, Shug McGaughey, and Nick Zito, along with jockeys Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Chris McCarron, Kent Desormeaux, and Julie Krone.

Q: If a kid wants to be a racing journalist, what should he or she do?

A: Most importantly, they should really start to know their subject of interest. I started following horse racing when I was young and tried as hard as I could to know as many horses as I could.
I would also recommend making an effort to work on your writing skills. Try to participate if your school has a student newspaper or newsletter and write about things that interest you.

Check out Tom’s work at: www.thoroughbredtimes.com

 

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