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The Notebook August 15, 2013


Two-Minute Lick - Alyssa Ali

Arlington Park Racing Reporter and Marketing Manager Alyssa Ali grew up at the racetrack. The daughter of Chicago-based trainer Alnaz Ali, she started working in Arlington’s television department while still in high school, mentoring under longtime handicapper Christine Gabriel. Ali attended Augustana College, where she honed her broadcasting skills. Ali now works as an on-air commentator at Arlington Park, home of Saturday’s Arlington Million.

Name: Alyssa Ali

Birthplace: Des Plaines, Ill.

Most influential person in my career: I can’t pick just one! Christine Gabriel (former racing analyst at Arlington Park) allowed me the experience of an on-air/production internship, teaching me how to read the Form and how to be on-air; she is the main reason I am where I am today. Kevin Clarke (director of television and operations at Arlington Park) gave me my first on-air job and trusted even though I was young (21) – he believed I could do it!  Tony Petrillo (general manager at Arlington Park) capitalized on my marketing and horse racing background and made me the marketing supervisor at Arlington Park.

My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred racing: It’s not so out of the box but it works: beer, horse racing, and music – the perfect trifecta!! 

My favorite racetrack: Arlington Park

My fantasy job: host on "The Today Show"

What I like most about my job: It’s not a normal office job, it’s five months of non-stop action!

Other sports/teams I follow: Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls

My Heroes: My dad – he’s a local Thoroughbred trainer with a small stable, but his consistent love and passion for the sport, even through many ups and downs, has been influential in my goals and successes within the industry.

What about myself would surprise those who know me: I’m scared of chickens and pigeons

My favorite athletes of all time: Mike Ditka

Most treasured possession/memento: nothing material - my family and friends

A pet peeve: people who don’t understand that the left lane is for passing, not for driving under the speed limit

What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: "Water for Elephants"

Favorite magazines: Real Simple

Favorite websites I visit daily/weekly: Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube (I love to watch funny videos to brighten up my day)

Gadget I cannot live without: My iPhone … I would feel lost without it!

Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: fishing with my fiancé, crossing things off of my to-do list, spending time with friends

Last concert I attended: Brad Paisley concert at Wrigley Field … AMAZING!

Favorite foods: I’m so boring when it comes to food. My go-to order is always a salad and soup, but when I’m feeling in the mood I love some sushi!

What I drive: Honda CR-V (I named her Zenyatta)

If I could be a guest on any TV talk show it would be: "Chelsea Lately"

If I could appear on any television show it would be: "New Girl"

If I could be a guest on any talk radio show it would be: 103.5 Kiss FM Morning Show

If I could be on stage I would play what instrument: Well, don’t laugh but I can play the flute (I played for 8 years) but I would rather play the guitar (I have an acoustic and electric and used to take lessons, but the only song I can really play is “Brown Eyed Girl”).

Favorite musician/band: Dave Matthews Band

Favorite actor: Anne Hathaway

Newspaper I read daily:  I don’t read the newspaper. I occasionally check for news – otherwise I rely on Twitter

I’d like to have dinner with: the Queen of England

Best racetrack food can be found at: The Million Room at Arlington – crab cakes

Accomplishment I am most proud of: my WGN broadcast for the 30th running of the Arlington Million

My philosophy on life: coexist

Favorite quote or motto: Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never owned a dog.

Things I collect: shoes

Celebrity/prominent personality friends include: Joel Quenneville, Denis Savard, Eddie Olczyk, Dan Roan

Favorite authors: Laura Hillenbrand, Jodi Picoult

Favorite animal other than a horse: dog (I have a Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix named Wrigley and an Australian Shepherd Mix named Dempsey.)

What actor would play me in a movie: Definitely NOT Sarah Silverman (do I really look like her?!? I get that a lot.) I would go with Jamie Lynn-Sigler.

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: any Chicago Blackhawks game

What historical figure do you most identify with: Annie Oakley

What living person do you most admire: my Mom

Twitter Handle: @Alyssa_Ali

People I follow on Twitter: HRTV, John G Dooley, Jill Byrne, Real Housewives (guilty pleasure), and Cesar Millan

No. 1 Bucket List Item:  Visit every state (and racetrack) in the country

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Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to photographer Casey Phillips on winning this week's Fan Photo Contest!

From Casey: "I visited the barn of Carl O' Callaghan after it was announced that G1 winner Kinsale King was being retired to pursue a new job as pony horse and best friend of Carl. This is a "daguerrotype" photo of Kinsale King." Want in? E-mail a .jpg and brief cation to

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