Horse Racing

Keeneland launches college opportunity program

Keeneland, this spring, will launch the College Opportunity Program, providing students with a diverse curriculum that provides a great opportunity to learn about Keeneland and the Thoroughbred industry. The program is designed to foster strong, well-rounded candidates professionally and create lifelong fans of Thoroughbred racing.

The opportunity exposes students to a variety of fields at Keeneland and allows them to explore career paths in the equine industry. Students can choose to become a School Ambassador or an Intern, both paid positions at Keeneland, based on their level of interest and area of ​​focus.

“Keeneland is proud of the success of our Ambassadors and College Interns, and coordinating these two programs under the auspices of the College Opportunity Program allows us to strengthen our curriculum. teach in exciting new ways,” said Shannon Arvin, president and CEO of Keeneland. “We hope to introduce the college demographic to everything Keeneland encompasses and create the perception that many careers in our industry require no equine background or expertise, such as finance. , marketing, public relations, operations and technology Our goal is to attract young people to the equine industry and help them find ways to get involved, whether it’s a career or a fan grave for life.”

Applications for Ambassadors and Interns are now being accepted online at

“Keeneland and horse racing are part of the culture of Central Kentucky, and we want to share this great sport with future generations,” said Keeneland Kara senior director of operations and community relations. Heissenbuttel said. “Towards that end, we’ve ramped up our outreach efforts through social media and digital as well as face-to-face while we continue to grow our relationships with our contacts at Keeneland has also partnered with the Ed Brown Society to create opportunities for young people of color and we support the Kentucky Sports Industry Conference, a University student-led organization Kentucky College of Education aims to create a system for students interested in careers in sports. These programs are educating people about the great opportunities in the race.”

Registration for

University Ambassador Program presented by Lane’s End introduces Keeneland and horse racing

The University Ambassador Program presented by Lane’s End introduces Keeneland and the Thoroughbred industry. As part of the curriculum, students provide hands-on support to the Keeneland team during spring and fall meetings and annual horse auctions, support Keeneland-related community events, and participate in many educational, interactive and professional experiences throughout the program. year.

College Ambassador classes are small and selective, typically admitting 16-18 students annually, to ensure quality participation and face-to-face interaction.

“Having Lane’s End as an existing sponsor of the University Ambassador Program has allowed us to offer a more substantive curriculum,” said Keeneland Patron Experience Manager Katherine Hutchinson. “Lane’s End, Keeneland, and the students who become our Ambassadors feel incredibly proud of the program, and that’s what makes it so successful. It provides an opportunity for students to connect, network, and connect. Connect with everyone in the race and witness firsthand the care and commitment of riders and -women to their horses.If we create the desire to work in the horse industry and develop a fan throughout. life, we’ve achieved our goal.”

Bill Farish of Lane’s End, who is also a current sponsor of the Keeneland College Scholarship Day, said: “Those of us fortunate to be involved in the equine industry love to share our passion for the sport with us. the others”. “The University Ambassador Program at Keeneland will open the door for young people to learn about racing and hopefully build future generations of fans.”

The University Ambassador Program typically begins with an online orientation in July and an on-site orientation in August. After going through Keeneland’s annual September Sale, Ambassadors follow up departments various Keeneland races and support race-related promotions and events during the October race meet. In partnership with Amplify Horse Racing, at the November Livestock Sale they will be participating. Participate in behind-the-scenes sessions with depositors to learn about Thoroughbred breeding and auctions. The year ends with reviews and ideas for 2024.

The first months of the new year feature group discussions and networking with Thoroughbred-related organizations and a visit to Lane’s End to see mares and ponies. In April, the group continued to race to meet responsibilities before ending the school year with a group dinner.

“My time as an Ambassador has been amazing,” said Sheyla Resendiz, a graduate of Bluegrass Community & Technical College and a former Keeneland University Ambassador who now works in the aspiration department at WinStar Farm. “I love being one of the many Ambassadors who have contributed new ideas to improve this great program; and it has been rewarding to watch the program grow. I love all the events. behind the scenes we’re in. The highlight is connecting with the co-founders of Amplify Horse Racing; this connection has been very helpful and beneficial in my career.”

Keeneland Internship Available

Keeneland also offers a variety of internships during the school year in areas such as Accounting and Finance, Communications, Horsemen’s Hospitality, Library Science, Marketing, Patron Experience, Ticketing, Special Events, Catering and Hotel and Facilities. These engaging opportunities are designed to provide major-focused students with unique access and mentorship from highly skilled industry leaders.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Keeneland and their incredible team for giving me the opportunity to introduce and explore the purebred racing industry by allowing me to support thought-provoking projects and missions. meaningful service,” said University of Kentucky graduate student Charles Churchill and Track Maintenance Intern, currently the Racing Operations Project Manager for 1/ST Racing and Gaming. “Whether spending time with some of the brightest minds in the industry, engaging in interesting conversations, or embracing the rich history of Kentucky Thoroughbred racing, I never seem to have enough. By providing me with a space to ask questions and express my views with extreme excitement, Keeneland has really opened my eyes to the promising future of our beloved sport. me.”

The Evolution of Keeneland’s College Opportunity Program

Keeneland’s University Ambassadors and Internships programs have evolved from their grassroots beginnings more than a decade ago into a structured and substantive curriculum that propels alumni into careers. interesting in Keeneland and in the horse industry.

“In the beginning, when social media was in its infancy, the University Ambassador Program was like guerrilla marketing,” said Keeneland Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Christa Marrillia, a former Keeneland intern. , remember. “Thereafter, the Ambassadors helped raise awareness about Keeneland and horse racing by posting posters around the university campus and networking among their peers. It was exciting to witness. This initiative has grown over the years to become the respected program it is today.”

Two current Keeneland employees—Sarah Fink and Lauren Sparrow—see the University Ambassador and Internship programs as turning points in their careers.

When Sarah Fink first applied to Keeneland, she envisioned the opportunity to gain more experience in her area of ​​interest: recreational sports. Instead, she found a career. After serving as the university’s Ambassador, she promoted to Internship with the Keeneland Marketing team, leading to her current position as Patron Experience and Events Manager of the Keeneland Marketing team. racetrack.

“From the moment I started working here, I was completely captivated,” says Fink. “Now I can’t think I’m anywhere else.”

Keeneland Outreach Director Lauren Sparrow became a school Ambassador as a senior at Transylvania University, then interned at the track’s Advertising department. Her professional journey has come to an end; Sparrow now calls on her previous experience as an Ambassador and Intern to help shape the future of these programs at Keeneland.

“I had never been to Keeneland until college,” says Sparrow, “and I knew very little about Thoroughbreds. “I saw a Keeneland Instagram post about the opportunity to become a College Ambassador. At the time, I had just majored in Business Administration with a major in Hospitality and thought it might be an option. I remember telling myself to just apply for it and even if I didn’t like it, it would help me narrow down my job search.

“During my first semester as an Ambassador, I took every opportunity to learn more about Keeneland and the horse industry, and at the same time I loved the sport and all that goes on,” she said. accompanying it. “After graduating from Transylvania, I was eager to work full-time at Keeneland; however, there were no vacancies at the time. I worked for several months as a Lead Client Concierge at various locations. Horse Country tour and continue to develop my knowledge of the equine industry Then a position has opened and I am here today building the program for the Ambassador Program. I’m excited to introduce an industry that I love and share all that it has to offer with other students.”

University of Keeneland Scholarship Award Date presented by Lane’s End offers continuous accessibility in races

College Scholarship Awards Day organized by Lane’s End is another important outreach and educational component of Keeneland’s College Opportunity Program.

Every spring and fall, Keeneland welcomes college students to enjoy a racing day, win scholarships and prizes from local businesses, and participate in a behind-the-scenes racing experience.

Registration is now open for the Spring 2023 Meetup at

Students who register for the event have a chance to win one of ten $2,000 scholarships offered by Keeneland and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Society. Students who attend Keeneland in person on College Scholarship Day are eligible to win one of two $10,000 scholarships offered by Lane’s End Farm.

More than $500,000 in scholarships have been awarded and more than 30,000 undergraduate students have attended College Scholarship Day at Keeneland since its inception in 2002.

This press release has not been edited by BloodHorse. If you have any questions, please contact the organization that produced the release.


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