Meet Alexa Jaramillo, a senior at the University of Kentucky who moved from California to Kentucky to pursue her dreams of working in the racing industry.
Although Alexa always loved horses and grew up riding, it took her until she was nearly a teenager to fall in love with racing. Like many others, her interest in racing started by watching the Kentucky Derby. In 2012, Doug O’Neill trainee “I’ll Have Another” won the prestigious race and she became hooked. Her parents said that they had never seen her take an interest in something so quickly, even given her pre-existing love for horses.
Alexa is completing her final year at the University of Kentucky, majoring in Equine Science & Management. Growing up in Southern California, she dropped nearly everything to move to Kentucky to go to college.
Her first job in the industry was at the University of Kentucky’s Maine Chance Farm. Alexa highly recommends that students who are trying to get a taste for the industry start working at Maine Chance. It was here that she learned proper mare and foal care, yearling prep, and assisted with foaling out her first few mares.
She has now graduated to working for Godolphin. She started working for Johnny Burke on Rice Road at Keeneland and has since transitioned to Stonerside Farm working under Gerry Duffy. Her experiences at both divisions are truly next to none, and she is grateful to always be afforded an opportunity to learn and try something new.
If Alexa were to introduce a new fan to the industry, she would start the day on the backside watching morning workouts and the daily routines of the people that are the backbone of the racing industry. Afterward, she would show them around the various farms that are responsible for raising and caring for the future champions of the sport. Finally, she would take them back to the track in the afternoon to watch the races so they could share in the pride of the backstretch workers when a horse in their care reaches the pinnacle of the sport and is successful on race day.
As a young fan of the industry, something that she would like to see change is the book of mares stallions receive. Alexa believes that so many of these horses, unfortunately, don’t make it to the track for one reason or another, and believes that capping stallions book would help the health of the industry.
Her favorite part of the industry is seeing the hard work from the farm staff and backstretch payoff when a horse is successful, especially at the graded stakes level. “There really is nothing like watching a horse you foaled out and helped raise and prep go on to be successful.”
Alexa enjoys the different opportunities Nexus provides members. She has had direct access to the industry and it has opened a lot of doors for her. Although it is always up to the individual, she believes that providing a platform is vital for getting the younger generation involved in racing, especially if they did not grow up in the industry.