Racetrack Industry Program promotes opening weekend of racing with Awesome race horse

Marisa Favero | The Daily Wildcat Students feed ex-racehorse, I R Awesome, on Feb. 8, 2018. Rillito Racetrack had a tent on the mall to promote its opening weekend (Feb. 10 and 11).

A former race horse captured everyone’s attention Thursday afternoon as students from the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program took over the UA Mall in support of Rillito Park’s 75th Annual horse racing season starting Saturday, Feb. 10.

The retired horse, named Awesome, came to the UA from White Stallion Ranch as a way to garner publicity for the upcoming season, which features six back-to-back weekends of live horse racing. 

“We figured why not bring an ex-race horse onto campus to engage students and faculty? A lot of people don’t know that we have a local, historical track right in our backyard,” said Amy Euler, a student in the UA Race Track Industry Program.

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The UA Race Track Industry Program is collaborating with Dr. Edward Ackerley and his Advertising Management class to develop a marketing campaign for the Rillito Race Track, as an effort to attract more local and international students. 

Rillito Ractrack
Along with the ex-racehorse came a ranch dog who was enjoying all the attention on Feb. 8, 2018.

“We’ve been working to develop a campaign to raise student awareness for Rillito,” said advertising student, AJ Homayounfar. “In addition to today’s event, we’ve also developed a social media campaign to reach out to as many people as possible.”

As a student worker for Rillito Race Track, Euler said her interest in the program stems from her passion for horses.

“I’ve always loved horses and I kind of heard about the program and didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” said Euler. 

“My major advisor started talking about notable alumni, like Bob Baffert who just recently won the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015, and I got really excited about it. It’s not a typical path, especially for a woman, and I just thought I’d go for it.”

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By collaborating with an advertising class, Euler and other students in the program are able to reach out to the larger campus community and introduce them to a significant community landmark. Originally opened in 1943, the Rillito Race Track is a big part of Tucson’s history.

Rillito Racetrack
Rillito Racetrack had a tent on the mall on Feb. 8 to promote opening weekend, which is this weekend (Feb.10 and Feb. 11).


“The biggest thing for us, as students who are in the program, is that people are able to feel the atmosphere when they come out,” said Euler. “You’d think you were at the Kentucky Derby the way these families are cheering on the horses coming down the stretch, and to be a part of something that is really special.”

On Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, the Rillito Race Track will host “U of A Days,” providing free admissions to all UA students.  For more information, follow Rillito Park Race Track 2018 on Facebook.

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