PariBet Racetrack Industry Student Experience: Learning In And Out Of Class

This is part of a series profiling participants of the PariBet Racetrack Industry Student Experience (PRISE), a program that allows students at the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program the chance to work in paid positions in key roles at Rillito Park.

For Mitch Gerson, all it took to fall in love with horse racing was a trip to Saratoga.

“When I was 13 years old, my father Jon and my uncle Seth took me to Saratoga Race Course for a day,” Gerson said. “After that experience, I started going to the local OTB with them on weekends, and my love for the sport and athlete blossomed from there.”

After graduating from high school, Gerson approached his friend, trainer and RTIP graduate Chuck Simon, about the possibility of working for him. Gerson worked for Simon for two summers, and it was Simon who convinced Gerson to transfer into the Race Track Industry Program.

When the opportunity to work at Rillito Park arose, Gerson saw not only an enjoyable means of earning money while going to school but also the chance to get an education outside of the classroom.

“First-hand experience can never be overvalued,” said Gerson. “I get to experience many facets of the industry by working at Rillito that would be impossible to mimic in a lecture.”

The 2017 race meet marks Gerson's second season working for Rillito as a student in the RTIP. Last year, he operated the photo finish camera. This year, his time at the OTB as a kid is paying off, for he is one of two on-site track handicappers. In this role, he educates the public about his selections in each race via a daily handicapping seminar and live coverage in the paddock before each race.

In hearing Gerson describe his favorite parts of Rillito, one could easily think he is describing Saratoga, the track that first piqued his interest in racing almost 10 years ago.

“I love the environment at Rillito,” Gerson said. “The small facility produces a family-like aura where everyone is interested in racing and having a good time.”

A junior in the RTIP, Gerson hopes to work his way up to becoming a Thoroughbred trainer after graduation. In addition to his time with Chuck Simon, Gerson was fortunate to intern for RTIP graduate Todd Pletcher at Saratoga last summer.

To gain even more experience, Gerson has brought his talents to the Rillito backstretch, where he is volunteering as a groom for trainers Tim Abraham and Travis Wheeler. No matter what area of the racing industry an RTIP student is interested in, the Rillito experience can provide a launching pad to future success.

Learn more about the University of Arizona's Race Track Industry Program.

The post PariBet Racetrack Industry Student Experience: Learning In And Out Of Class appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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