We found this ambitious young woman with her own horse racing blog, super Twitter following by Horse Racing royalty and a job working for respected trainer Mark Casse and just had to know more about what made her tick. A definite role model for other young men and women looking to break into the Sport of Kings.
Veronica Gizuk courtesy of Gate to Wire
Q: You've said that a
trip to Woodbine with your mother is when you knew that you wanted to work in
horse racing. Describe the moment that inspired you that fateful day at
A: After watching my first race I was amazed by the horses and jockeys. I couldn't
believe how fast and fit these horses were. I was lucky & I didn't have a
job at the time and was in need of one, so it really worked out in my favour
meeting a trainer the same day.
Q: Your stepfather introduced you to a trainer friend of his, you asked the
trainer for a job that day and were working at the track the next day. Tell us
about your first day on the job.
A: It was interesting to say the least. The backstretch is really a completely
different world. It was an early start which I wasn't used to at all. I used to
be the type of person to sleep in until 1pm. So when I was told I had to be up
and ready before 5 , I was shocked lol. When I first arrived to the track the
trainer signed me in because I didn't have a license. When we got to the barn
he showed me around , I met his horses and employees. Then he took me out to
the training track to watch his horses and explain a little bit more about
racing to me. I literally knew nothing at all about racing.
Also something kind of funny not many people know about my journey with racing.
When I was younger I was in an accident at a horse show an was kicked pretty
bad. So since that I was scared of getting hurt again. So my first season spent
at the track I really didn't do much besides barn chores , mucking, cleaning
feed tubs, water buckets etc because I wasn't comfortable around the horses.
Now I'm usually the person who will take the "bad" horse from someone lol.
Q: There are a lot of young women and men that would love to get into the horse
racing business, would you recommend them doing it your way or would you
suggest something else?
A: Well if you're able to do it the way I did it I say go for it! I was lucky
enough that my step dad was friends with a trainer. If you don't know anyone in
the racing industry sometimes it can be a little tricky to find a way in
especially in Canada. In the US there is plenty of jobs in racing and you can
usually find postings online.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: My favourite part of my job is being surrounded by such talented horses &
very knowledgeable people within the industry. I'm always learning something
new everyday & I'm very fortunate to work for Mark Casse.
Q: What is your least favorite?
A: This is tough, I really enjoy my job. I will say we have some really long days
though, so it can be tough if you're at the track all day until late then back
early the next morning.
Q: You played Rugby in high school and college, it's a hard-hitting game. In an
interview you talked about falling off horses and how it hurt. Explain to
those who have never played rugby or fallen off a horse, what the pain is like
for both, and which hurts more?
A: Absolutely rugby is a tough game, but so is riding horses.
For both it just depends how bad the hit or fall was.
With rugby it's a person or a few people hitting you and taking you down. So
depending on that and the size of the person and if they land directly on top
of you it can be quite painful. I've been fortunate enough that my few falls
from a horses back haven't been bad. Just sore, nothing broke. It certainly
hurts hitting the ground coming off a horse especially if they're big.
Q: You are a part of the Nexus Racing Club. Their mission is to introduce people
from 18-30 years old to horse racing. I have nieces that are in your age group
and they are very concerned with animal welfare. As you know, horse racing
tends to get national attention when things go wrong. What would you tell my
nieces about horse racing, specifically how horses are cared for, to ease any
concerns about the treatment of racehorses?
A: I would tell them we look after these horses better than we do ourselves.
You know when the smallest thing is off with a horse the vet is called to make
sure they're 100%, if they need time off they'll sometimes be sent to the farm
for a "vacation". The horses go out & give us everything they got, we have
to do the same in return. I can't speak for everyone , there are bad &
good people in every equine discipline & it's always the bad people that
are in the media. There's more good people than bad in our sport.
Q: You are internet savvy with a large following on Twitter and a popular blog,
Gate to Wire. How would you suggest the horse racing industry use social media
to appeal to potential younger fans?
A: A big part of it is marketing, we need people posting engaging content and
advocating for our sport constantly in order for it to grow and attract more
Q: What is Gate to Wire's mission?
A: Gate To Wire's mission is grow our sport and get new fans involved young or
older. I try to tell people's stories and how they became involved in racing in
hopes to inspire others.
Q: Finally, horse racing is known for betting. Do you bet on the horses? If so,
how does your relationship with the horses influence your choices?
A: I don't bet often, it's never been something I've really been into.
But if I do bet I go off of how they were that day, how they've been doing, how
they're going into the race etc.
Thanks for your time Veronica and letting us into your life to learn more about you on a personal level. Everyone please check out Veronica's blog at https://www.gatetowire.ca and her Twitter feed at @VRonn_G.