Rillito Race Track Collaborates with U of A Racing Students

Rillito Park Racetrack at Sunset

Rillito Race Track will be extending its reach to the classroom through newly developed cooperation with the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program.

Interested students have the opportunity to learn about the industry first hand through working at the track and in the classroom with projects related to the local racetrack in Tucson.

Program director Douglas Reed said, “Students in the program already work with real life applied projects in the classroom and this is an extension and enhancement of that.”

Students have begun to work on social media, communications, group sales and handicapping as Rillito preps for the 2015 race meet. Additionally, two classes in the spring semester will include projects closely tied to race operations at Rillito.

Francesca LeDonne, a senior in the Race Track Industry Program, has worked on social media for Rillito through updating the Facebook page and creating a Twitter account.

LeDonne said, “I think it’s important for students who don’t have a lot of experience around horses or the track but love racing and want to work in the industry to have the experience before they make their final decision about pursuing a career in racing.”

The program has been given its own office at the track according to Rillito Park General Manager Michael Weiss.

Weiss said he is looking forward to working with faculty and students, adding that the hands-on experience while students are in college will prepare them for their careers in the industry.

Weiss said, “Students can see how much work really goes into a race meet. From a classroom standpoint they can see it all and from an individual standpoint, it’s what do you think you want to do at the racetrack?”

Students will also work on projects related to Rillito’s operations in the fall semester, but can look forward to live race action beginning February 7 when the track opens.

Written by Bridget Grobosky