NYTB, SUNY Cobleskill launch Thoroughbred industry course

Friday, December 16th, 2022

NYTB logoThe New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc., and the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill will team up to offer an accredited course for upper-class students in the Animal Science program to experience all aspects of the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry.

The pilot program will be offered to 15-20 junior undergraduate students that have met prerequisites. The course, which runs from late August to early December, falls in line with the NYTB’s goals to make outreach with upper-level science students majoring in equine studies and finding the next generation of the industry’s workforce and leaders in racing and breeding.

NYTB President Tom Gallo and SUNY Cobleskill Associate Professor in Animal Science Raymond Whelihan collaborated to develop the program.

“I’ve been doing lectures there for years, probably going back 15 years and I’ve always wanted to do something for the students that really have an interest in the industry and get credit,” Gallo said. “It’s one of the goals I’ve had as president, and being on the NYTB board for a long time, to do something meaningful with a lasting benefit for the program, for the state and for the New York breeding industry. With this level of students, they’ve already made up their mind and they’ve invested three years of school. Now we’re going to give them a taste of every aspect of the industry.”

“The NYTB as an organization and many individual members have greatly assisted our students for literally the last three plus decades,” Whelihan said. “Members have opened up their farms to visits, have served on our academic advisory committee, welcomed our students for hands on experiences at sales and have travelled to the college to guest lecture. The Bachelor of Technology in Animal Science degree requires a full semester internship the final semester, and New York Thoroughbred farms and trainers have provided many internship opportunities over the years.”

The program’s goals are to introduce students to every aspect of the Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry via a consistent schedule of Zoom session and on-site visits.

The course’s tentative schedule:

  • August: Introduction to the racetrack and visits to the New York Racing Association administration offices and the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs;
  • October: Breeding and sales – via Zoom and attendance at NYTB’s October seminar and Fasig-Tipton Saratoga October mixed sale;
  • September: Racetrack in-depth backstretch visit at Saratoga Race Course and equine health visit via Zoom and at Rood & Riddle in Saratoga Springs;
  • November: Breeding farm visit in person and via Zoom.

“The program is essential to our industry because it allows our breeder membership organization and experienced members to work directly with students already interested in pursuing a career in the equine field,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of the NYTB. “Giving them direct access and exposure to the multitude of jobs and careers in our industry. We are thankful to start this pilot program working with Ray Whelihan and SUNY Cobleskill. It has unlimited potential going forward in partnering with more schools in the future to help ensure a knowledgeable and dedicated workforce for the immediate future of Thoroughbred breeding and racing.”

“We’re looking forward to working with the NYTB next fall and would like to thank the NYTB and its members for continually reaching out and providing meaningful immersion experiences for our students,” Whelihan said. “I have to thank Tom Gallo as the driving force in connecting the industry to our academic program. Tom has visited the college many times over the years to guest lecture and offered his experience and encouragement, bringing a positive message to students. This initiative will serve to encourage students to pursue careers working in the New York Thoroughbred industry, energize a younger fan base and provide that crucial link, bridging academics and industry.”

Leave a Reply