Inaugural Equestricon Aims to Connect Horse Racing Fans with Industry Leaders

(Photo via

(Photo via

When fans attend the first-ever Equestricon next August in Saratoga Springs, New York, they can expect to find themselves face-to-face with industry leaders such as owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and racing journalists — as well as “other high-profile distinguished guests, including legendary racing personalities.”

Scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 13, through Tuesday, Aug. 15, the three-day convention for racing fans who want to get up-close and personal with “racing royalty” and other like-minded patrons is the ultimate in networking opportunities for those both inside and those that are new to the racing industry.

Billed as a “premier horse racing lifestyle event designed to celebrate the sport of racing with its fans,” the convention will be mostly held at the Saratoga City Center.

With Saratoga Race Course in the midst of its illustrious meet and the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearlings sale coinciding with the convention dates, there is no better time or place for the first convention of its kind.

There will be meet-and-greets, as well as breakout sessions for discussions covering a myriad of issues concerning the many distinct aspects of horse racing. Scheduled discussions include but are not limited to: a handicapping seminar, equine photography, racing syndicates, breeding and entry-level positions in horse racing.

The brainchild of Dan Tjordman (, America’s Best Racing) and Kathryn Sharp and Justin Nicholson of Ninety North Racing, the idea of Equestricon was the result of an innocuous phone conversation nearly two years ago.

“I think Dan had a kernel of an idea in his head, and floated it to us, probably thinking we’d tell him he was nuts. Instead, within about an hour or two, Katie was already putting together a concrete list of things we’d need to do to try to get the event off the ground. We spent a good deal of time over the year or so following that moment trying to flesh out how the event could work,” said Nicholson regarding the genesis of the convention.

While admitting that the goal is for the large-scale event to be a fun and informative affair, Nicholson stated that the main goal is that “whatever an attendee’s interest or level of engagement is in racing when they arrive, [we hope] they leave feeling even more connected to the sport.”

Although Tordjman, Sharp, and Nicholson spearheaded the organization of Equestricon, the event could not have asked for a better advisory board to help get the convention off the ground. Included on the board are Maryland racing analyst Gabby Gaudet, handicapper Matt Bernier (NBC), West Point Thoroughbreds founder and President Terry Finley, trainer Graham Motion and retired  jockey Ramon Dominguez, among others.

The convention has received very positive feedback from prospective attendees, which should only increase as the program schedule, exhibitors list, and “special guest” list fills in early 2017.

For those who have never been to Saratoga, or for those who’d like to say that they were at the first Equestricon, making reservations sooner rather than later will probably be the best bet.

Ryan Dickey
Ryan Dickey is a full-time firefighter in Dearborn, MI, and a life-long horse racing fan. He is a handicapper and contributor to prominent horse racing Websites as well as a freelance sportswriter/photojournalist. He covers local high school sports and community events for multiple outlets, including bi-weekly newspapers and has over 200 works published to date.

Once again the owner of a race horse, Ryan is president (and currently sole member!) of Firehouse Racing Stables, LLC. This year @FirehouseRacing plans to send its first thoroughbred, That Is So Right (a 4 year old chestnut gelding), to run at tracks in Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and, possibly, Indiana.

Having lived in Las Vegas for six years and working in the sports gaming industry, Ryan knows sports handicapping from “both sides of the counter.” Feel free to contact him on Twitter (@rdickey249) for questions, comments, criticisms, or critiques.

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