The Program: Initial EQCon Schedule Released!
Those concerned that Equestricon may not have anything of interest to them will have the opposite reaction when they see the preliminary program schedule for the inaugural convention, which was released on Monday by Equestricon's organizers. With over 45 events taking place over three days in August of 2017 - from tours to panels to social gatherings and networking opportunities - everyone from retired racehorse fans to those wondering how owners feel after a big win will find something for them.
Festivities kick off on Sunday (August 13) with a host of off-site activities away from Equestricon's main hub at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Initial details were released on an anticipated series of tours available for convention attendees to visit a local horse farm or to stop in at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame for a guided tour with legendary New York racing announcer Tom Durkin.
Also scheduled on the first morning of Equestricon is a tour of the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds. With the convention taking place during the New York Bred Yearlings sale, visitors will be able to see the sale-day process yearlings go through before entering the ring. With horses such as champion Dayatthespa having sold at this sale, it’s possible those on the tour will also see a future stakes winner.
A variety of racing seminars and story-telling sessions are at the heart of Equestricon's programming. Among the scheduled panels is one in which owners of some of the biggest horses in racing talk about how exciting the horses' racing careers were. Included on that panel is Justin Zayat of Zayat Stables, who campaigned American Pharoah, talking about the career of the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.
Speaking of Triple Crown winners, Monday's programming includes the team behind 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Jockey Ron Turcotte, exercise rider Charlie Davis and Secretariat biographer Bill Nack will be available for autographs in the "Legends of Racing" hub on the main convention floor. On Tuesday, Turcotte will join fellow Triple Crown-winning jockeys Jean Cruguet (Seattle Slew, 1977) and Steve Cauthen (Affirmed, 1978) for a question-and-answer session with fans, to be followed by autograph signings.
For those who want to take a deeper dive into the world of horse betting, Equestricon has that covered with “Stories: Big Scores on Big Days” talking about how gamblers have felt when walking to the IRS window after scoring huge wins at the track. Equestricon-goers can also get some tips on how to hit those big payoffs earlier in the Monday (August 14) program with the “Tournament Handicap Workshop,” hosted by some of the most recognizable names in tournament handicapping, like 2015 NHC Tour champion Jonathan Kinchen and 2012 NHC winner Michael Beychok.
Curious about racing media and the daily news and photos seen all over the internet? Equestricon has an answer for that with back-to-back panels on photography and journalism. Some of the best photographers in racing will talk about their most famous photos and how they captured them in “Stories: Racing Photography”. Following that will be “Racing Media: Past, Present, and Future” where HRRN’s Mike Penna moderates a talk with journalists including TVG’s Caton Bredar and the Saratoga Special’s Joe Clancy about how media in racing has evolved over time and where it may go in future years.
Throughout Equestricon, fans and horsemen can also learn more about Thoroughbred aftercare through discussions like one hosted by Gulfstream Park's Acacia Courtney about retraining and rehoming racehorses. Another panel will focus on "OTTB Success Stories".
The aftercare programming will be presented by Equestricon's official charity partner, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
With this being just a small sampling of the tours, panels, and social events taking place throughout Equestricon, the biggest worry racing fans may have is trying to figure out how to attend all the exciting events going on in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 13 – 15.