Winter 2019


Betsy Riley

Triple Crown Vet Takes Races in Stride

By Becca Nadler

"I've been really surprised by the level of creativity that the role affords," says associate director Betsy Riley, who has worked on more than 20 Triple Crown horse races. "It's easy to view it as a mechanical or analytical position, but the creative decisions, the editorial decisions, they guide you," she says.

During the Belmont Stakes this past season, Riley and director Drew Esocoff had the opportunity to decide precisely when fans would see Triple Crown contender Justify for the first time. "We really thought long and hard about where we wanted the horse to be appearing to the grandstand for the first time," explains Riley. "My goal was to hit the end of the song 'New York, New York' when Justify was revealed, when the fans had the opportunity to see this horse. That was a timing puzzle—to think about how to move pieces around to maximize that moment."

Dealing with horses adds another layer of difficulty to the puzzle, says Riley. "You can't tell a 3-year-old Kentucky Derby horse to speed it up or slow down. They don't speak our language. There's definitely an added layer of unpredictability to it, which makes it a unique and fun challenge."

(Photo: Tom Wolff)

At Work With

Short profiles of Guild members in all categories sharing their experiences at work.

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