Published Saturday, July 18th, 2015   ( 6 years ago )

From Far and Near
Del Mar Welcomes Its 2015 Interns

From left to right: Andrew Taggart, Clare Allen, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President Joe Harper, Hannah Bloom and Clem Witherall. Not pictured: Cole Holmlund and Kyle Murphy.
 
By HANK WESCH
 
They arrive from as far away as Ireland and as near as 10 minutes from the track. They’re the happy half-dozen Class of 2015 in a Del Mar summer intern program now in its 38th year.
 
Here they are in brief introductions, in alphabetical order:
 
Clare Allen, 21, is a student in Equine Science at the University of Limerick in Ireland. Allen’s work experience over the past three years includes sales person and receptionist for her family-owned engineering firm Allenweld Ltd., life guard, first aid assistant with the Red Cross and, possibly most importantly, Yard Assistant at Millicks Bridge Riding Centre.
 
At Millicks, Allen was involved in all aspects of taking care of horses and riders.
 
“Coming from Ireland where horse racing is very strong, I have a keen interest it. We never had horses ourselves, but our neighbors did and I would travel over and see about riding them.”
 
Her first racetrack experience came at the nearby Cork Racecourse Mallow. “Typical Ireland, it rained a lot,” she said.
 
She learned about the Del Mar internship program from alum Decklan Ryan and realized it would fit nicely in her plans to both travel and remain in the equine industry.
 
“I heard about it from Decklan and I said, ‘I’m there,’” Allen said.
 
Hannah Bloom, 19, returns to Del Mar in the intern program two years after working a summer meeting as the press box steward. A 2014 graduate of El Camino High School, Bloom was an honors student while also participating in cheerleading, swimming and cross country. She is a sophomore to be with a journalism major and communication minor at the University of Arizona.
 
She is the daughter of horse owner and syndicate head Jeff Bloom, who has experienced success with multiple horses, including stakes winner Majestic City.
 
“I’m excited to be back. It’s a comfortable environment and I look forward to learning about a lot of things, especially marketing and public relations.”
 
Cole Holmlund, 20, is a Rancho Santa Fe resident and graduate of Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach where he was valedictorian of the class of 2012. He will begin his junior year in the fall at the Marshall School of Business at USC.
 
“I live 10 minutes away from Del Mar and I’ve been coming to the racetrack for several years. It started pretty casually, but it’s more interesting when you get into it a little deeper.
 
“I like sports in general and I’m looking forward to learning about all aspects of the marketing and business side of racing.”
 
Kyle Murphy, 21, spent the summer of 2014, the bridge between his junior and senior years at San Diego State, as the assistant campaign manager for victorious San Clemente City Councilwoman Lori Donchak.
 
But Murphy, a communications major with a minor in political science, has been involved in a number of campus leadership organizations. He is trading in a political race for the horse races, and the business that surrounds them, this summer.
 
“I spent at least one day a year here every season with my grandparents and it’s kind of nostalgic to be here again,” Murphy said. “I’d like to learn as much about sports and business as I can this summer. And have a good time.”
 
Andrew C. Taggart, 18, a recent graduate of Pacific Ridge High School in Carlsbad, worked the 2014 summer meeting as a hotwalker for trainer Doug O’Neill. At Pacific Ridge, Taggart lettered in golf, volleyball and soccer and was the captain on varsity teams that won CIF championships in 2012 and 2013.
 
Taggart will be a business major at the University of San Diego in the fall. Taggart’s family has participated in dressage competition but, “I always found horse racing a little bit more interesting,” he said.
 
“I hope to gain experience in the business side of a major sports venue,” he said of the Del Mar internship.
 
Clement Witherall, 19, from South Pasadena, is about to enter his sophomore year at UCLA majoring in Business Economics. He describes himself as a longtime fan of Thoroughbred racing and comes to Del Mar with entry-level experience, from working as a groom and hotwalker for John Sadler at Santa Anita, as well as additional insight from his family’s five-year involvement in a racing partnership.
 
While working on the South Pasadena High School newspaper, Witherall became acquainted with Associated Press turf writer Beth Harris, and assisted her on Gold Cup Day at Hollywood Park in 2013.
 
“Game On Dude won and I actually got to interview Bob Baffert afterward,” Witherall said. “This summer I hope to gain more experience in the racing department and soak it all in.”