5 Powerhouse Women Who Represent The Future Of The Thoroughbred Racing World

saratoga living asked five incredible female professionals in the horse racing industry how they feel about working in a predominantly male sport, and how it’s impacted their career. Here’s what they said.

Kathryn Sharp

Claim To Fame: Co-founder and director of marketing and strategic partnerships for horse racing’s first industry-wide convention and festival, Equestricon, and owner and breeder via AJ Suited Racing Stable.

Quote: “When our team was filling out our speaker roster for Equestricon, we were disappointed at how difficult it was to recruit enough women in executive roles who could represent major industry organizations. There are a number of incredible women in these posts, but not as many as I’d like to see. While this discrepancy isn’t unique to horse racing, and we can and should do better, I’m encouraged by the many remarkable women shaping the future of the sport every day.”

Abigail Adsit (Moran Photography)

Abigail Adsit

Claim To Fame: Thoroughbred trainer with more than 728 career starts, 90 wins, 77 places, 114 shows and $3,336,772 in earnings.

Quote: “Being a woman in this male-dominated sport has made me stronger as an individual. There have been many times that I’ve shaken my head at the fact that as a woman, I’ve had to jump through ten more hoops than my male colleagues. Over the years, I’ve learned that being a female in a predominantly male sport has required intelligence, integrity and expertise in my training, along with a good bit of humor.”

Alicia Hughes (Penelope Miller)

Alicia Hughes

Claim To Fame: Director of communications at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), who spent more than two decades as a horse racing journalist.

Quote: “On the whole, my career has been a very positive experience, as I feel my knowledge and work ethic has been recognized and respected by the majority of my peers. While there will always be those who think they can get away with belittling and/or objectifying women, I’m proud to work alongside many men who are suitably horrified by such behavior and many female colleagues who respond to such adversity by fighting back with their words and their ability.”

Nicole Russo (Molly McGill)

Nicole Russo

Claim To Fame: Journalist at The Daily Racing Form, with a decade of experience in horse racing journalism.

Quote: “I’ve been very lucky to have come behind some trailblazing women in general sports writing, who paved the way for women to be given fair access, even though those issues definitely still rear their heads, and to have also come behind some women who knocked down walls in turf writing, including Jennie Rees. I’m now conscious of trying to be a role model for upcoming female sports writers, and I hope to always show them that you can bring your authentic self to work.”

Penelope Miller (Molly McGill)

Penelope Miller

Claim To Fame: Senior manager of digital media for The Jockey Club’s digital platform, America’s Best Racing, who’s worked on breeding farms in Florida, Kentucky and Australia, as well as at Tampa Bay Downs.

Quote: “I think women still have a long way to go until they’re occupying the same amount of space as men in this sport; we’re still outnumbered in press boxes, shed rows and board rooms. However, I see more women working as professionals in the sport of racing as the years go by, and I hope these women will serve as role models to young women who want to make their careers in the Thoroughbred industry.”

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