Anastasia Vialov was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and always had a passion for animals. She started riding at 8 years old for Betty McCue at EHM Stables, a hunter barn that specialized in the rehabilitation and retraining off-the-track thoroughbreds. Through Betty’s husband, Jim McCue, a track photographer for Maryland racetracks, Anastasia became familiar with several people in the racing industry. This, along with the various horses at EHM Stables that had come from the racetrack, increased Anastasia’s interest in the thoroughbred breed.
Because not each horse retrained at the farm was suited for the hunters, Anastasia had the chance to also dabble in show jumping, steeplechasing, foxhunting, trail riding, and eventing. Her senior year of high school, Anastasia acquired her first personal horse, Vow Of Honor (Broken Vow- Lady Rushmoore), from trainer Hugh McMahon. Anastasia competed with her in the 2015 Retired Racehorse Project, finishing in the top ten overall in the show hunters and second out of the juniors.
With her passion for horses, Anastasia decided she wanted to be in Lexington, Kentucky, so the University of Kentucky was an easy decision to make for her college of choice. Now a senior, she is pursuing a degree in equine science while in UK’s pre-veterinary medicine program.
During her time in Lexington, Anastasia became increasingly involved in the racing industry. In addition to being a member of Nexus Racing Club, Anastasia has worked at WinStar Farm and Indian Creek.
Anastasia’s simple advice for those trying to become involved in the industry would be, “Just start. Everyone always needs help; everyone has to start somewhere and that is usually at the bottom but if you are motivated, eager to learn, and hardworking then that will be seen and rewarded. The racing industry is always looking to grow, so professionals are always looking to invest in young people—all you have to do is ask.”
Anastasia considers herself very blessed to have had the chance to work at many elite operations in the industry: WinStar and Indian Creek. Anastasia worked at WinStar in the rehab program for six months and has been working for Indian Creek since her freshman year of college. She thanks the sales for teaching her more than she could imagine about horsemanship.
After Anastasia graduates from the University of Kentucky in December 2019, she plans on applying to vet school and the Godolphin Flying Start Program. Her goal is to pursue a career in veterinary medicine in the thoroughbred industry.
Through Nexus, she has found another way to become involved in the industry she has become so passionate about. Her favorite part about Nexus is the way it brings people together. Growing up knowing trainers and the track photographer, Anastasia had experienced being in win photos, and helping layup and rehab horses allowed her to already feel connections to racehorses. But it was more difficult for her to find other people her age who shared her passion for these animals and to connect with such people.