Megan Devine, one of racing's emerging stars as an analyst, will be the paddock commentator for Ellis Park's 30-date meet that runs July 2-Sept. 5.
Devine, a 2014 honors graduate of the Equine Industry Program in the University of Louisville's College of Business, will provide pre-race selections and conduct post-race interviews to be aired on racetrack monitors and as part of Ellis' simulcasting signal, including through online wagering platforms. She also will conduct Saturday morning public handicapping shows with track announcer Jimmy McNerney.
“All the signs are in place for a gangbuster meet, judging from the outstanding response of horsemen and jockeys to our enhanced purses,” said racing secretary Dan Bork. “Ellis Park prides itself of being fan and bettor-friendly, and we wanted to add an analyst who knows not only handicapping but horses. Megan was an obvious choice with her equine and broadcasting experience, as well as her unparalleled enthusiasm. We are as excited as she is to see everything she winds up doing to not only help the handicappers but to promote Ellis Park and our Kentucky horses and horsemen.”
“It's going to be more than a paddock-analyst show – not just 20 minutes to post, give my picks and go back in my little hole,” said Devine, who in addition to her bachelor's degree in business administration has minors in marketing and communications. “I'd like to interact with the track more and the fans, get people excited about racing and the horses that are there. I'm a big proponent of social media, so I'm going to be pushing that. We have so many great horses there, as well as trainers and jockeys, and now with the purse increases, that will just get even better. So I'd like to involve them and do a lot of interviews that way.”
Devine also works for NBC Sports assisting the field producers for the network's racing broadcasts, a position she started in college. She works for the TVG racing network during Keeneland and was paddock analyst for Turfway Park's Spiral Day card.
“I'm so lucky to be working with these horses and trainers,” she said. “I'm very proud I've had those opportunities, that I'm not somebody coming from totally the outside. I live and breathe horse racing. I consider myself to be part of it, and I really like working hard for that. I respect everybody in the business and everybody who is a fan. I always try hard and put a smile on my face. I love what I do.”
While horse racing has become her passion, Devine grew up grooming, exercising, training and showing hunter-jumpers on her native Long Island. She galloped thoroughbreds at Blackwood Stables in Versailles, Ky., to learn up close “what goes into making race horses tick,” calling it “definitely the hardest thing I've ever done.”
Such knowledge of horses remains a hallmark of her analyst work, blended with traditional handicapping and pouring over horses' form.
“I do a combination of both,” said the former captain of the University of Louisville's equestrian team. “I certainly pick up on things that happen in the paddock, things that people need to know that I see. But then you back it up with the homework you've done.
“Being in Louisville, you can't not be involved in horse racing, with the community around you, Churchill and Keeneland and the sales. I started working for NBC and TVG and got to know the players first-hand.”
Devine was voted 2014 Miss University of Louisville in the Miss America qualifying competition, her first in a beauty pageant. “I believe people should constantly challenge themselves and get outside their comfort zone, and that was way outside my comfort zone,” she said with a laugh. “It actually was a fund-raiser for my sorority. I ended up winning and did not know that after that you had to go on to Miss Kentucky, and if you won that you went on to Miss America. I have a lot of respect for the women who do that. I'm glad I retired after my two pageants, but it was a great learning experience.”
Follow Devine at MissMeganDevine.com, Twitter @MissMeganDevine and facebook.com/MegHartDevine. Devine also is involved with Fashion at the Races, which promotes horse racing and fashion internationally.
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