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The Notebook February 07, 2013

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Two-Minute Lick - Victoria Garofalo

One of six ABRV Brand Ambassadors, Victoria Garofalo, 22, has loved Thoroughbred racing from the start. Originally from New York, she graduated from Georgia College State University with a degree in Public Relations, Broadcast and Electronic Media. Her professional experience includes working as a cast member at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and serving as a production assistant intern at “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly”.

Name: Victoria Lauren Garofalo

Hometown: Peachtree City, Ga. by way of Elmont, N.Y. (the ‘by way of’ is an ongoing joke with the ABRV team).

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing:When I was three months old my ‘Grampy’ would bring me to the backstretch at Belmont every week to see all of the horses and see if he could get a tip … we also usually ended up at an OTB at least once a week.

My favorite racetrack: Saratoga

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Opening weekend at Saratoga.

Other sports/teams I follow: New York Knicks

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: I would love to see more consistent nationwide coverage on major networks year round to get people excited about the stories, not just on the biggest days. I would also love to see a greater variety of ages attending - young people around my age creating a critical mass of excitement out at the tracks enjoying the races.

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: The pessimism and bias from some public media figures who tend to focus on one small, minute aspect and thus miss the gestalt of it all. 

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: History, tradition and excitement.

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Belmont Park.

Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: Funny Cide

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing: My most recent 
$186-winning daily double this past summer at Saratoga thanks to The Party's Here (a 24-1 hunch bet I made strictly because of the horse’s name).

Best racetrack food can be found at: Siro’s (right outside the back gate of Saratoga). I’m addicted to their soft shell crab tortillas!

My favorite jockey: Johnny Velazquez.

My favorite trainer: Rudy Rodriguez.

My heroes: My parents - they’re the two most supportive, loving, eclectic people I know.

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with: Penny Chenery

Favorite animal other than a horse: Dolphins

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: 1996 Olympics

Favorite musician/band: John Mayer. I went to a concert of his by myself at Jones Beach one summer … that’s dedication.

Favorite TV show: "Revenge" and "White Collar" (it’s a dead heat).

Websites I visit daily: Perezhilton.com – I’m shamelessly addicted to celebrity gossip. Also, I religiously check PostSecret.com on Sundays.

Favorite movie about horse racing: Secretariat

What I like about my job: I love knowing that the road(s) ahead will never have two days in a row the same. I’m blessed that I am working to promote a sport, the Greatest Game, with a long, glorious, storied history so that it can continue to thrive, flourish and spread wide and far for years to come. (Not to mention, I work with some pretty cool peeps… and get to meet a spectrum of fascinating people).

Favorite tech gadget: My MacbookPro.

Twitter handle: @itsmevictoriag

People I follow on Twitter: Celebrities, family and friends.

Funniest fellow Brand Ambassador: I honestly can’t choose. Surprisingly, everyone’s pretty funny. I think time will tell who the FUNNIEST is—we’re already constantly laughing at something or another.

Race event you are most excited to see this year on the ABRV Tour: Kentucky Derby - I’ve always wanted to go and I’ve never been!

What are three must-haves you’ll be taking with you on the ABRV Tour? Music, my camera and hair products to tame my mane.

What are some qualities you are looking for in a bus driver? An experienced driver with a sunny disposition, great sense of direction and preferably a British accent like my TomTom.

Which celebrity would be the seventh Brand Ambassador? Ellen DeGeneres - she makes everything fun.

We hear you’re an amazing cook. What is your favorite thing to make? I especially love trying new things. One of my favorite things to repeat is ‘homemade pizza dough’ pizza on the grill with lots of fresh toppings.

What's the most money you ever won at a track? Somewhere around $300 a couple of years ago.

Favorite horse racing digital game? I don’t play any digital games.

Where do you want to be in five years and what will you be doing? I would love to be working for NYRA (so I can be back in N.Y. ... are you listening Mitch Levites?), preferably in the production/communication field ideally as an executive producer or even an on-air talent. I’m confident that I want to be able to interact with all types of people (and horses!!) and allow them to see the wondrous, wacky world of racing through my eyes and become infectiously passionate about it.

Favorite expression overheard at a racetrack? “Let it ride.”

Why should younger generations be attracted to Thoroughbred racing? The vibe, the energy, the social scene. Because in this sport there’s definitely something in it for everyone. It’s a thrill, a rush. It’s filled with electric energy.  There’s nothing better than when the horses break from the starting gate and the horse you bet on becomes YOUR horse, and they cross that finish line in a blanket finish with your horse on top. And lastly, because there’s always a chance to see history unfold in real time (and it’s never bad to possibly cash big!).

Do the other Brand Ambassadors have a nickname for you? Yes, they call me Vicky G.

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Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to photographer Jeffrey Doyle, winner of this week's Fan Photo contest!

From Jeffrey: "There was an open house at Northview Stallions in Pennsylvania where I took this photo of Smarty Jones." Want in? E-mail a .jpg and brief caption to photos@NTRA.com.

Photos of the week

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