by Chris Lomon
Alexis Schwartz’s life in horse racing has been, at every stop along the way, a perfect fit.
A fourth-generation horsewoman who grew up in the industry, the 22-year-old native of Court House, OH has spent time working in both the standardbred and thoroughbred industries, taking on numerous roles in each.
Currently, Schwartz is working for the United States Trotting Association (USTA) in Westerville, OH.
“Right now, I have multiple jobs,” started Schwartz. “I’m working at the USTA – I was hired in January after I graduated the University of Kentucky [majoring in Equine Science and Management] – in the members’ services department. I do all of the paperwork for the members. My dad [owner/trainer Bret] also has a racing stable of his own – we have 20 horses, give or take. With COVID, now that I’m working at home, I go into the barn at six every morning, and clean out stalls. I come back home at eight and then start my work with USTA and finish around 4:30. After that, I go to the track and paddock, or go to the barn and finish up what I started in the morning.”
Schwartz has also worked in the thoroughbred world, including as a BETologist at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, KY.
Fans, usually those new to betting or race-goers seeking expert picks for the day, can book a BETologist through the track’s website.
“I worked at Keeneland, on and off for the four years I was at the University of Kentucky. I was a BETologist and it was really awesome to be able to interact with people at the racetrack. It was unique in that you got to meet so many people – some who aren’t even from the U.S. I helped break some language barriers, and helped teach them some new things. Seeing their excitement during the races was something I’ll never forget.”
Schwartz also won’t soon forget another job she had at the racetrack.
She was happy to dress for the part.
“There was also a kids’ club I was involved at in Keeneland,” said Schwartz, who worked in client relations [helping at yearling sales, etc.] in her last year at the racetrack. “Believe it or not, I was their mascot, Buckles. I got to be in a mascot uniform from time-to-time. It’s something I want to do eventually in the standardbred world, to make a kids’ club / youth club, to get younger people involved in the sport.”
Schwartz is grateful what her standardbred and thoroughbred experiences taught her.
“All of what I’ve done has been so helpful and educational. I worked in the barns for thoroughbreds and in the office as well. I’ve had my hand in a lot of different things. I was nervous to work with thoroughbreds because you hear that they are so high-strung compared to standardbreds. But, honestly, when I was interning and working at a farm, there really wasn’t much difference in the horses’ nature. The way they’re prepped is different than standardbreds, but I didn’t see that many differences.
“I took care of the broodmare strands and foaled a lot of mares out. I even got to take those mares to the breeding farm to get bred, and I was able to see American Pharoah [the 12thTriple Crown winner in U.S. thoroughbred history] and Justify [the 13thTriple Crown champion], both of whom were in the breeding shed. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I have to say I’ve been really blessed to do everything that I’ve done in racing.”
Being around horses has been a big part of her life for as long as he can remember.
One look at her family tree provides the foundation behind her love of all things equine.
Her great-grandfather purchased his first horse, Zip And Zap, with her grandfather and father. The son of Ohio-bred pacer Nobleland Sam won his first start with them at the Coshocton County Fair on Oct. 2, 2006.
It was Zip And Zap that kick-started a harness racing love affair for the family, a bond to the sport that remains strong to this day.
“I owned my first horse when I was five,” said Schwartz. “Her name was Spongebob Alexis. My dad, when I was little, he let me rename all the horses. There was Lexis Cruiser, Lexis Dreamer… what can I say? Dad let me have that job when I was little.”
As it turns out, Schwartz was no one-trick pony.
More than 15 years after her horse-naming exploits, it wouldn’t be that far-fetched to say Schwartz, whoalso helps her grandfather Dr. Robert Schwartz, a veterinarian with Midland Acres, on his farm calls,seemingly works nearly 24/7.
In fact, it would be quite appropriate for the woman whose career goal is to become an equine pharmaceutical sales representative.
But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“In high school, I had other priorities, things I was heavily involved in, so that took away from more time spent with the horses. I was playing basketball and softball year-round, but I still managed to sneak out to the fairs when dad was racing, helping him out any way I could. What can I say? The horses have always been a huge part of my life. They still are and I know they always will be.”
It’s why she agrees, accompanied by a laugh, that a majority of free time outside of horses and horse racing is dedicated to just what one would expect: horses and horse racing.
A certain flair for fashion is a prime example.
“Recently, I’ve started this little side business of making shirts. Of course, it comes back to horse racing. I’m making stable shirts for people. In high school, I was really big into my art classes and I really enjoyed printing. Since the whole thing with COVID started, I’ve had a little bit of down time during the day, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to splurge and buy the stuff to make some shirts.’ It would be cheaper to do it on my own, so I could make gear for our barn. When I first did it, I didn’t anticipate selling a bunch. I thought it would be for our own personal use. But people saw what I put on Facebook and it just took off.”
One more reason as to why horse racing continues to suit Alexis Schwartz to a tee.