Erin McElwee is the Facilities Administrative Manager at the Maryland Jockey Club, home of the 143rd Preakness Stakes! She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about what she does!
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
100%. I am based at Laurel Park in Laurel, Maryland and we offer live racing three days a week and simulcast all week long. Our sister properties in Maryland include Pimlico, Rosecroft, and five Off -Track Betting locations.
What is it exactly that you do?
This is a great question because I am approaching my third month in this position. Every day is a new adventure and I am continually discovering new aspects of my job. My main responsibility is to assist Rick Allen, Vice President of Facilities and Backside Operations for the Maryland Jockey Club and the divisions he oversees.
I supply the administrative backing for capital projects, assist with preparations concerning our department for the Preakness Stakes, procurement, and fiscal reports. I supply logistical support for the building, turf, track, mechanics, and backside crews regarding projects and renovations.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning livable income?
Absolutely. I am very blessed to work for the Maryland Jockey Club owned by the Stronach Group who have an incredible commitment to this industry and all of their employees. They recognize the passion and hard work it takes to run operations this big and their support exceeds industry standards.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
This is the entertainment industry and there are an incredible amount of moving parts. Having a passion and understanding for the thoroughbred horse racing industry is definitely a plus. When you do something you love it always works out one way or another. I landed here with a little bit of luck and a lot of love for these horses.
Favorite horse memory?
When I first started owning racehorses in 2009 I was very lucky to be supported by my family. As a 29 year old this was a gigantic financial commitment and risk. To save on hauling costs, I bought a truck and trailer for when they would run at tracks other than Penn National. I had a stallion named Special Union who was on the smaller side but had a big heart. I would load him on the trailer after training and take him to my grandmother’s house. He would stand in the front yard eating grass and all the neighbors would come visit with him. It made me so proud to see the joy he brought my grandmother and the children.
Professionally: I recently moved from Pennsylvania where I was born to follow my dreams here in Maryland. Since I was a young girl I have had a one track mind to make a substantial contribution, improve, and market the various aspects of horse racing. I work one day at a time preparing myself to hopefully be a President or CEO at a racetrack in the future.
Personally: I dream about owning a horse that has the opportunity to run in a Stake Race. I came close but this is something I keep my fingers crossed for every time I claim.