LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A collaboration between a well-known horse racing company and the Ed Brown Company is breaking down barriers for African-American students to enter the equine industry.
“I really appreciate the initiative that the Ed Brown Company and First are taking with this program. I think it has the potential to influence and have a real impact on the industry,” said Deja Robinson, l one of the selected trainees.
The Ed Brown Company was started by Thoroughbred owners Ray Daniels and Greg Harbut, who are highly respected in the equine industry, to create opportunities for young people of color to gain exposure in the industry.
“We found a pathway to really merge and use our voice owners in this business, to access and build relationships and be a connector,” Daniels said.
Two students, Deja Robinson and Charles Churchill received the first internships at a Florida racetrack through a collaboration between horse racing company The Stronach Group 1/ST.
“I’m looking forward to the broad exposure we’ll have to many different aspects of the industry,” said Robinson, a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in equine science.
Robinson is interested in the veterinary side of the industry. A region, she hasn’t seen many people who look like her.
“I’ve always loved animals. I was the kid who brought home stray cats and forced my uncle to bring a horse to my birthday party. And ever since, I knew I loved animals. horses. Especially through riding, they were able to teach a lot about myself as a person and just being patient and understanding,” Robinson said.
Robinson says she fell in love with horse culture and the power they have to bring all types of people together.
Churchill is also a senior at the University of Kentucky. His goal is to work on the business side of horse racing.
“My main goal is to show a bit more representation among the high-ranking officials who run the day-to-day operations of horse racing,” Churchill said. “Being from Louisville, I’ve always had exposure to the Kentucky Derby, so horses were a part of me from birth. But as I got older, I started to realize that I wanted to focus more.”
Both students are grateful to the Ed Brown Society for opening the door to this opportunity.
“I’m such an advocate for the Ed Brown Society and I was so happy to be a part of it because they artificially bring that to the students to artificially bring that passion for horse racing that they wouldn’t experience in any other scenario. “, said Churchill.
Co-founders Harbut and Daniels were co-owners of former Kentucky Derby participant Necker Island. Their goal is to continue to advance African Americans in the industry.
“It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and in fact, in the early days of horse racing, African Americans really dominated the sport and the industry at every level,” Harbut said. “I think it was in the days of Plessy versus Ferguson, we really see a concerted effort to weed out African Americans on all levels. And unfortunately since that time we’ve never been able to get the numbers and being at the same level of success or ability to prominence from an executive perspective is something we really want to change.
Stronach Group, doing business as 1/ST, has committed $150,000 over several years to cover all costs so that some students can complete a paid internship in the horse racing industry. Other students of color will be selected from other universities.