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Meet Jackie Savoye, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Friday at Laurel Park

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Meet Jackie Savoye, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Friday at Laurel Park

Posted on 21 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 3 in my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. If you have already read “Part 1”, feel free to skip down to “Now let’s meet…”. If not, read on. The candidates are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each has one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. On Friday (Mar. 22nd), Jackie Savoye will put her personal handicapping touch on display as will Gabby Gaudet on Saturday (Mar. 23rd). Ryan Fogelsonger and Dylan Smith completed their on-air “audition” on Wednesday (Mar. 20th) and Thursday (Mar. 21st), respectively.

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new on-air racing analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just food for thought.

Now let’s meet…  jACKIE sAVOYE

Jackie Savoye, currently an assistant trainer for Dale Capuano. The 25-year-old South River High School graduate did on-air work a couple years ago at Gulfstream Park with Alyssa Ali and Caton Bredar. She followed that by teaming up with TVG’s Paul Lo Duca and Christina Oliveras (now with HRTV with last name of Blacker via marriage) at Monmouth Park during their Million Dollar Meet, conducting off-camera interviews.

Horses have been a big part of Jackie’s life for as long as she can remember, “I started riding at a young age at pony camps then got involved in the Annapolis pony club and took up foxhunting almost full time. That’s such a fun event. At 18, I went to work for Jason Cole in southern Maryland breaking babies. That provided such a great foundation of learning the racehorses and bringing them up. Jason sent me to Bowie (race track training center) to learn to gallop and from there I worked for Gary Capuano and the Gaudet’s (Eddie and Linda). I was hired by Dale in the spring of 2008 and he sent me all over the east coast with strings for him”. 

The handicapping aspect of the job does not intimidate her in the least, “I can apply my knowledge of horse racing and what I have learned in the claiming game to handicapping. I work for a top claiming trainer and one of the best horseman and businessman I know in this business. I see a lot of different horses come in and out of the barn, so I’ve learned how to train and understand why and where Dale enters them”.

Savoye isn’t shy when it comes to expressing her thoughts on how to attract her peers to the Sport of Kings, pointing out, ”Being young and involved in thoroughbred racing is such a great opportunity for anybody. It’s a fun sport and the young crowd doesn’t realize it, which is where one of us comes in. I can relate to college kids who want to come out and enjoy a day at the races. Show them maybe a small bet and why they would pick that horse. We need fun things at the track to attract a younger group. Things like live bands, contests, and let’s face it… beer drinking!”.

The horse racing community is filled with hard working individuals and families whose work day begins long before the sun comes up and ends long after it sets. For ”Gen Y” individuals like these four (4) applicants, that means not much of a social life outside of their horse racing family. There also seems to be a special bond among them, as they are all “in the same boat’, but enjoying every minute of it.

“It’s a very exciting job opportunity and I do hope I get it”, Jackie said with guarded optimism, then revealed, “Gabby (Gaudet) is actually my roommate. She’s a great person and very smart. So if she got the job I would be very happy for her”. Talk about being in a tough situation, well that’s only half of it, as she continued, “My other roommate is my best friend, Lacey, who happens to be Gabby’s big sister”.

Jackie Savoye

To describe Jackie Savoye in one word, it would be Poise. Seeing her ability to handle her equine “children” in the paddock and immediately refocus her attention to the anxious owner, indicates to me that the lights and camera will not test her nerves, but rather make her shine.

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Meet Dylan Smith, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Thursday at Laurel Park

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Meet Dylan Smith, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Thursday at Laurel Park

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 2 of my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. If you’ve already read “Part 1”, feel free to skip down to “Now let’s meet…”. If not, on read. The candidates are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each have one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. On Thursday, Dylan Smith gets her chance to wooo Maryland horseplayers with her handicapping prowess. Then on Friday (Mar. 22nd) it’s Jackie Savoye’s turn and Gabby Gaudet completes the on-air superfecta on Saturday (Mar. 23rd). Ryan Fogelsonger completed his “audition” on Wednesday (Mar. 20th).

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new Racing Analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just some food for thought.    

Dylan SmithNow let’s meet…

Dylan Smith, 24, has been working as an assistant for trainer Dickie Small since graduating from Kennedy High School in the Washington D.C. suburbs in 2006.

“(I’m) definitely a track-oholic and horse-oholic”, Smith proudly declared. “I am at the races all day, every race day. I gallop in the morning, then shower in the girl’s jocks room where I then get scratches, study, and make my final picks for the day. Next I listen to Talking Horses in NYRA then watch Dave (Rodman) & Keith (Feustle) at Laurel and jot down their opinions. I’m at the races for the full card. Afterwards I go home where I watch more races from across the country until I fall asleep”.

When asked at what age did she catch the horse racing bug, Dylan reflected, “I learned when I was very young, couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7, how to read a program and (Daily Racing) Form from my Dad. He started bringing me to the track when I was little…and I was obsessed even then. My Dad really gets the credit for bringing me to the track and getting me hooked. He always answered questions and just watching what he looked at on paper and how he bet taught me so much”.

Not only does Smith understand horses physically and the art of handicapping, but she also has strong opinions on what horseplayers want from a track handicapper. With The Form tucked under her arm, the slender blonde explained, “I hang around and learn from the people that bet a lot of money. I see firsthand where they like to put their dollars and what they look for when making their selections. I think it is a huge advantage to know how to bet because the ultimate goal for the track handicapper is to get money into the bettor’s pockets (giving them the ability to play more races, which increases the tracks handle). I can dig up useful information that I know a lot of people would be interested in hearing when putting together a ticket. People don’t want a repeat of what you can see in The Form. They want you to go the extra mile to find what they can’t see”.

Though she’s short on media experience, Dylan has certainly done her homework in preparation for Thursday’s on-air debut. “I watch Frank (Carulli) very closely and have been working with him for months trying to pick up on everything he does. He’s very good at morning line odds, and he really takes a lot of time and does lots of research when making his picks”. Smith sought assistance outside of Maryland, adding, “I also got to spend a day with NYRA’s Andy Serling who was great. He is just fantastic and does all his homework. He’s prepared every day and gave me some good pointers”.

Dylan Smith breezing

To describe Dylan Smith in one word, it would be Horse-oholic. By her own admission, “It’s a little obsessive, but I literally watch all tracks and all types of horses (Harness and Quarter, too). I don’t like to miss any action at any track in the country. I have a non-existent social life outside of the track because I am so wrapped up in the racing world. It may sound pitiful, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way”. Not so pitiful from my point of view because she seems to be a terrific asset to the Maryland horse racing community.

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Meet Ryan Fogelsonger, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Wednesday at Laurel Park

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Meet Ryan Fogelsonger, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Wednesday at Laurel Park

Posted on 19 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 1 in my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. They are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each will have one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. First up on Wednesday (Mar. 20th) is Ryan Fogelsonger. Dylan Smith will tackle the Thursday (Mar. 21st) card, Jackie Savoye will be on-air Friday (Mar. 22nd) and Gabby Gaudet gets a crack at the Saturday (Mar. 23rd) card.

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new on-air racing analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just food for thought.

Now let’s meet…  

Ryan FogelsongerRyan Fogelsonger, 31, currently a journeyman jockey, winner of 1,303 races in his career, captured eight (8) riding titles at the Maryland tracks, and was the 2002 Eclipse Award winning apprentice. He has not ridden since early November when he suffered a concussion during a spill. But this gig does not require riding skills, and Ryan is thankful for that, as he views this opportunity as his chance to start a second career.

“Let’s face it. I’m 31, I don’t have a college degree and this (horses) is all I know.”, Fogelsonger stated with a boyish grin.

Well no sheepskin can compare to the energy level and love he has for horses, which didn’t start until age 18. Ryan explained, “I was a track star in high school. One day a buddy of mine said, “You’re the perfect size to be a jockey. I know a trainer… maybe you should talk to him…”. So he agreed and added, “What was supposed to be a 15 minute talk turned into two (2) hours… and the rest is history”. The trainer who met with him that day was Dale Capuano.

When asked what his favorite riding memory is, Ryan took a few moments to search into his memory bank, shook his head and stated, “Just riding horses who loved to run and being a part of it”.

Ok, so we know he can ride and loves horses. So do the other three (Dylan, Jackie and Gabby). But can he command the attention of the horseplayer, looking for “short-term investment” (aka wagering) advice? The answer: No doubt! His confidence borders on cockiness, and he expressed his fondness for being in the spotlight, something he’s ready to tackle on Wednesday as the on-air guest handicapper at Laurel Park.

          Ryan Fogelsonger winning

To describe Ryan Fogelsonger in one word, it would be Confident. After all, when first asked about this opportunity to showcase his on-air and handicapping talent, he exclaimed, “I’m going to kill it”!

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