For the second consecutive year, Bluegrass Community & Technical College’s North American Racing Academy (BCTC-NARA) has been invited to participate in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, which is held in conjunction with a meeting of the European Association of Racing Schools (EARS). Both will take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Nov. 6 – 11.
Again this year a BCTC-NARA graduate apprentice jockey has been invited to ride in an EARS International Apprentice Jockey Race that will be run during the festival. BCTC-NARA selected Natalie Turner, who began her riding career in 2011. To date the 23-year-old Burlington, Ky., native, who is still benefitting from a five pound apprentice allowance, has 24 wins (11 so far in 2013), 35 seconds and 48 third place finishes from 463 mounts. Horses she has ridden have earned more than $340,000.
"I am beyond excited and honored to participate in this year’s racing festival and conference,” Turner said. “I look forward to experiencing the thrill of racing from around the world as I represent the USA and BCTC-NARA."
Also during the festival, BCTC-NARA Executive Director Remi Bellocq will take part in the racing conference as a panelist addressing: “Continued Professional Development and Support for Jockeys and Trainers Seeking Second Career Opportunities.” Bellocq will provide the U.S. perspective alongside speakers representing racing schools from throughout the world.
“We very much appreciate being invited back this year, and our thanks go out to His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” Bellocq said. “This will be a unique opportunity for us to showcase BCTC-NARA and to provide one of our deserving graduates a great opportunity to compete against the top young riders in the world.”
The conference and race are hosted under the directives of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak EARS Apprentice Jockeys race for both male and female jockeys will be run Nov. 10.
“By staging the conference in Abu Dhabi it will be a great opportunity to those aspiring to gain a foothold in flat racing and also for those who are already in the sport,” said Lara Sawaya, director of the festival.
For more information about the event, visit http://www.sheikhmansoorfestival.com/en-us/festival.aspx
Since its launch in 2006 NARA has seen 51 of its 82 students receive their licenses and join the equine industry workforce after preparing for careers tailored to the care, training and riding of racehorses. Twenty are currently active as professional jockeys competing at tracks across North America.
Originally launched by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, NARA is now part of BCTC and remains the most successful accredited career and training program offering one-year certificates and two-year associates degrees in support of the horse racing and breeding industries.