Born in upstate New York, Michael remembers making the annual pilgrimage to Saratoga every summer as a child and has been a fan of the sport ever since. Although not born in the sport, Michael and his dad shared a common love for the game through the intellectual puzzle of handicapping a race. Save 2020, Michael has been to at least one race day of Saratoga every year of his life.
A recent grad from Virginia Tech with a degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering, Michael has since moved to Richmond, Virginia where he works in marketplace analytics. With only weekends to focus on racing, it is near routine to listen to racing podcasts and the T.V. switched on to the racing channel.
Michael would like to see two changes to horse racing. First and foremost, he believes the barrier of entry in garnering interest in betting on the races is so high because the data needed to succeed is often behind a cost-prohibitive paywall. Democratizing data is one of the fastest ways to allow new fans to enter the sport. Although he suggest that racing should not give away proprietary information like speed figures, but the basics of horses' running lines should be made available to every person in a digestible format.
His second point is that racing is at a significant crossroads when it comes to competing for the public's wagering dollar. More and more states are legalizing sports gambling and that form of wagering is bolstered by lower average takeout, more mainstream publicity and better data availability. Enhancing the tote systems to allow for fixed odds wagering would be a great addition to the game. There's nothing worse than bringing a new person to the game, helping them find a 8-1 shot to bet on with 3 minutes to post and then after the initial excitement of having it cross the wire first, having to tell them they're only getting 7-2.
More widespread availability of fixed odds betting would increase competition with the parimutual pool and could potentially lead to lower overall takeout to be competitive with other gambling forms.
Michael enjoys being a part of Nexus because it gives a young person access to certain parts of the game that they never could otherwise because of the high price point of horse ownership. Through his membership he has been able to tour the backside of Saratoga, meet the trainers of some of the Nexus horses, and sit in a box at Churchill Downs and cheer on a Nexus entry on Breeders’ Cup weekend (even if it was on a rainy Thursday of BC weekend), all for less than the price of a Netflix subscription.
Nexus has provided Michael the ability to network with other young professionals with an interest in horse racing which could potentially lead to other opportunities in the industry or even an acquaintance to talk about the races with.
The leadership team at Nexus has continually provided opportunities to interact with established members across all sectors of the industry through conference calls which are always fun and informative.