Meet Club Members



Chris Eldridge

What attracted you to the horseracing industry?

My initial experience with horse racing was about three years ago when I was a speaker at a conference held at Churchill Downs. I was there very early in the morning getting prepared, and American Pharoah was doing his morning workout. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I didn’t know anything about horse racing. I just knew that was the “horse from TV”, but we all know what happened a few weeks later when he won the Triple Crown. So, it was amazing for me to know that I saw American Pharoah at Churchill Downs only a few weeks prior to his win. Since then, I’ve enjoyed learning about the sport and experiencing the thrill of racing, whether as an owner or spectator. It’s entertaining to watch the horses race.

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Christie Lane Craven

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I was your typical horse-crazy little girl. We didn’t have a Thoroughbred track close to us, so I started by watching Standardbred Racing. I grew up in southern Maryland, where Rosecroft Raceway is located. My dad used to take me to the harness races. However, I got really annoyed because in Standardbred racing they don’t run. When they break pace, they have to go to the back until they regain their stride. So, I thought, ”This is fun, but why don’t you just let them run as fast as they can?” Now that I live more north, I’m about seven miles from Laurel Park, and it’s very nice. I can go there a lot to see the Thoroughbred races.

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Steve Messa

What attracted you to horse riding?

I had a friend who was a dressage rider. Dressage is basically an art form of horse riding. It’s almost like ballet on a horse. The goal is to train your horse to be as obedient and flexible as possible. The rider’s performance is judged on several criteria. When I saw my friend’s dressage performance, I was very fascinated. I visited the barn, and she had two horses there. One was her horse for dressage, and the other one was her older horse. The older horse was a mare named Rosie. I got to ride her and had a bunch of lessons. I rode Western-style, so I didn’t do dressage. Dressage traditionally involves more English and French riding styles, while Western-style riding is more for ranching.

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John Piassek

What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I go to college in Maryland, but I’m originally from Cranford, New Jersey. My dad is a big fan of horse racing and, when I was very young, he’d take me to Monmouth Park and Saratoga. I really liked it. As I got older, I would watch racing on TV. There was a Monmouth Park replay show in New Jersey that I watched every day. I actually recorded all the shows and watched them over and over again. I’ve been watching racing on TV and going to the track ever since.

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Gary Quill

Handicapper Gary Quill, Part 1

Gary is a fourth-generation handicapper. Currently, Gary’s handicapping prowess is on display as “The GQ Approach” at TheRacingBiz.com, providing selections & analysis for every race day at Maryland tracks. In the past, he’s been a guest handicapper at Laurel Park on Maryland Million Day and at Pimlico on Preakness Day in the Preakness Infield Corporate Village. During Preakness Week, he has conducted interviews with horsemen, jockeys, and others in the racing industry at Pimlico Stakes Barn, Alibi Breakfast, and Preakness Post Position Draw since 2008.

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Vanessa Kerr

What attracted you to the horseracing industry?

I’ve loved horses since I can remember, but when I was younger the only way I could participate was by watching horse races on television. That was my introduction to the industry.

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Tony LaGuardia

When did your interest in horse racing develop?

I’ve always loved horses. When I was a child, I had ponies and was around other horses quite a bit. My grandfather had an interest in horse racing, and we would go together to Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey from the 1970s and on into the 1980s.

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Asad Butt

Before you became interested in horse racing, what was your perception of the industry?

I really thought it was just rich people buying horses, training them over the course of a couple years, and then racing them. That’s that. But the Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club has shown me that it’s much more. Now I feel like I’ve gotten a crash course and my interest has increased.

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