Sunday, April 14, 2013

Penelope Miller, America's Best Racing

A Tampa Bay Downs insider’s opinions, observations and reflections about their favorite sport

Penelope Miller is thriving in the big city, but she’ll always be a small-town horsewoman at heart. A resident of New York City, the former Tampa Bay Downs Publicity Assistant and Horseman’s Liaison is now the Senior Manager of Digital Media for America’s Best Racing, a fan development platform begun by the Jockey Club. Miller was promoted to her current post less than a year after being hired by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as its first Social Media Manager. With mainstream media coverage of Thoroughbred racing on the decline and more and more fans interacting through such platforms as Facebook and Twitter, the outgoing, horse-savvy Miller was a natural choice to spearhead the NTRA and Jockey Club’s modern media initiative. The America’s Best Racing program features a fan-centric website (, television coverage of major Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands prep races, a redesigned social media presence (including a Pinterest page), online and social games and more. “My job is to introduce as many people as possible to the great sport of horse racing through our website and our various social media channels,” said Miller, a graduate of Georgetown University. Immersed in racing from her childhood, Miller believes younger people will gravitate to horse racing when they learn about the excitement of a driving photo finish, the pageantry of the post parade before a major stakes and the wonder of a foal taking its first wobbly steps after birth. While the Triple Crown watch is a major focus of her job, Miller is also introducing new fans to the tradition and history of racing, the ins and outs of wagering and what to wear to that Kentucky Derby party. Previously an assistant at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, a sales assistant for a Florida breeding farm and a groom and exercise rider, Miller returns to Tampa Bay Downs at least once a season. It’s a chance to renew friendships and take her pal Mouse the Miniature Horse on a refreshing stroll through the Backyard Picnic Area. While she is missed here, track officials know she is the type of representative needed to help restore racing to its former luster.



HOMETOWN: Fairfield, Fla.


BEST HORSE I’VE EVER SEEN: Oooh, tough one! Probably the best horse I’ve ever seen run in person is the amazing Holy Bull. I was just a little girl, and he captivated me.


HOW I GOT STARTED IN RACING: I was lucky enough to grow up on a Thoroughbred farm near Ocala, so you could say that I drank the horse racing Kool-Aid pretty much from birth.


MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND INFLUENCE: My parents. They taught me to work hard, to always try my best in everything I do, and to never lose my sense of humor.


ONE CHANGE I WOULD MAKE TO RACING: I would like to see less negativity in the sport. There is so much to love about horse racing, and so much potential in the next few years to develop a whole new fan base. It would be great to see established racing enthusiasts share their positive experiences in the game with new and potential fans.


MY FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: My parents’ racing stable! If that doesn’t count, my favorite team is definitely the Florida Gators. My neighbors in New York pretty much have to wear earplugs during every Florida football game, since I have the tendency to share encouragement and advice to the players on my TV at extreme volumes.


NO. 1 ON MY BUCKET LIST OF THINGS TO DO: I’d love to go to the Dubai World Cup or the races in Hong Kong. Either of those experiences would be amazing.


FAVORITE TV SHOW/MOVIE: Community is my favorite TV show and The House of Yes is my favorite movie. They are both hysterically funny.


WHAT ELSE I’D BE DOING IF. … I hate to even think about a life outside of racing! But I guess I would probably have ended up in the horse-show world. Once these animals get into your blood, you love them for life.


FAVORITE THING ABOUT TAMPA BAY DOWNS: Everything! Tampa Bay Downs is my home track; I worked here from 2006 until I began working for America’s Best Racing, so I know that there is a lot to love. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say this is the friendliest racetrack I’ve been to. Everyone from the cleaning staff to the management greets visitors with a smile and takes time out to talk to customers. It’s wonderful.


ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING IN RACING: Have fun! This sport has something for everyone, from young families to college students to retirees. Racing is a great way to spend time outside, watch some amazing athletes and even leave with a little more money than you came with. No matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find something to love at the track. So kick back, relax and have yourself a good time.



1 comment:

  1. Most of the news coverage was focused on the tragedy involving the horses. Fortunately, according to reports, the jockey and exercise rider involved was not seriously injured. For getting best Todays Horse Racing Results must visit the link.