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Jockey School: Racing for a diploma

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In our fourth installment, the North American Racing Academy (NARA) graduated eight members of it’s inaugural class with a race against each other at the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday, May 18.

In September 2006, 11 students began the inaugural class of Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy at the Kentucky Horse Park. On Sunday, during the High Hope Steeplechase fund-raiser, eight members of that class competed in a graduation race — the first real test of their skills and the last step before they begin their careers.

“Not even two years ago, I hadn’t even seen a horse before, and now here I am, riding in my first race and it’s just a really good feeling,” said graduate Corey Mongan.

The winner was Lexington native Jessica Oldham Stith, who has a long line of jockeys in her blood, including her mother, father and grandfather, whose colors she wore on her silks.

Third installment, Dec. 23, 2007: Jockey school students begin their search for work

Follow the progress of the young jockeys in the third installment of the students of the North American Racing Academy.

Second installment, April 22, 2007: The need for speed – the pace picks up.

First installment, Jan. 6, 2007: Class begins

Hear how the racing academy began and see how the young jockeys deal with the hard knocks of getting fit and learning to ride.

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33 Responses to “Jockey School: Racing for a diploma”
  1. Kelly mack says:

    nice pieces although i would have like the third piece to have had some audio.

  2. Gail Beaumier says:

    Wow! I am speechless!! I’ve been around the SoCal tracks since I was 5 years old and grew up watching Chris McCarron’s career. Two of my all-time favorite racehorses from years past are directly linked to Chris: John Henry and Alysheba. I had always respected McCarron as a rider, a true horseman, and admired his dedication to horse racing…from his huge successes to several broken bones. And here I am today, in awe of Chris McCarron’s latest accomplishment…the North American Racing Academy. I’ve watched McCarron’s vision turn into reality, changing the lives of his students for the past two years and forever, and to see his inaugural class graduate on May 18th has to be his biggest victory ever! It’s been exciting for me to see this class come full circle. I can never express how much I appreciate the creation of an academy like this. I only wish that McCarron had done this a long time ago because I would have jumped at the opportunity to have had this experience. That’s okay, Chris… you had many more races and horses waiting for you. I want to congratulate the inaugural class of the NARA on their graduation, for all of their hard work and dedication these past two years, and I wish all of you the best of luck…in the racing industry and in life.

  3. ann thompson says:

    I was a student of this till the beginning of the spring semester I never thought I would get a chance to work and learn around a racetrack I grew uo 30 min. from Churchhill Downs. I have wanted to learn about everything it takes to get ready for any graded stakes race and now I know and want to continue to learn about the industry so now that I am getting my ducks in a row I will apply for the school again . Congratulations everyone I can’t wait to see you all at the tracks.

  4. Jessica Oldham Stith says:

    First of all, David Stephenson, you did a wonderful job on this as well as all of your other work that you’ve done with – actually I should say FOR NARA. My mother wants to treat you to dinner! Thanks for being a part of our team and helping to get our names out there into the world. You do amazing work and I always look forward to seeing your next production. I will admit though, I was praying that you would leave out me mistakingly saying Gomez’s name rather than Desormeaux when I referred to looking behind me in the race! BUT, that’s candid and that’s the excitement getting to me! It all makes for a better story! I LOVED this video and I hope you continue to document NARA in the future as well as the riding careers of those that stick around Kentucky. You’re awesome!

    Chris McCarron and the NARA staff…. Thanks for putting up with us. Boy, boy, boy did you all have your work cut out for you. But you pulled it all together and you pulled US all together. We all feel like family in our class. We truly do. Thank you so much for being such determined teachers for us. Chris, you have been a mentor and a friend to each of us. You have taken on so much more than I’m sure you had ever dreamt of. I hope that we have and will continue to do you proud. Someday we will repay you! I’ve already told you the plan that Kevin and I have.

    To the racing world…… Get tied on! We’re out of the gate!

  5. Becky Otten says:

    Congrats NARA!! Those were great videos and I would like to congratulate the first ever class of North American Riding Academy!! I worked as intern at NARA last summer and it is great to see how far you guys have come! I wish so much that I could have come to your guys graduation last weekend and watched you race. I wish you all the best and keep up the hard work; I know you all will go far.

    To Chris McCarron and NARA staff- You guys have done a terrific job teaching and leading the students, it was a privilege to work with you all.

    NARA Class of 2008 – YOU DID IT! I hope you all will keep me updated on your racing careers. Take care.

  6. Caitlyn Mongan says:

    I just wanted to say Congrats to everyone. Especially to my big brother Corey Mongan. :) I am VERY proud of you, and I love you!!! Again, congratulations NARA!!!!

  7. The Kronawetter/Reed Family says:

    Congratulations to all the NARA Class of 2008 graduates! And an extra BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Corey Mongan. You are living your dream and your passion and determination will take you far and you will be very successful because of that. We are VERY Proud of you Corey!!!

    Most Sincerely
    Frank, Sharon, Travis (Reed), Joey & Andy Kronawetter

  8. Susan Hughes and Jeremy Springer says:

    Congrats to all the graduates of the NARA class of 2008. Congrats to Corey Mongan and know that you are in our prayers and also in the prayers of all of your Otterbein Family also. We miss you but we are so proud of you and know that you are following your dreams. Corey, Jeremy sends this message to you. YOU GO GUY AND YOU ROCK!!!!

  9. White Camry says:

    Why did McCarron wear the Glen Riddle silks at the graduation ceremony?

  10. victor says:

    mi peso es 150 lb y kiereo ser galopador yo kiero saber si puedi ser galopador

  11. Hi, my name is Abigail Ramos. I love racing horse because I want to be a jockey. I am 16 years old. How I go over there.

    Thank You,
    From:Abigail Ramos

  12. Shawn Spikes says:

    My name is Shawn Spikes. The NARA looks great. Ive been wanting to become a jockey since I was a baby. I go to golden gate fields alot. I know all the jockeys. My favorite one is Russell Baze. I am 13 years old,going to high school. I want to come attend the NARA. How do I get over there or apply? Good job Mr. Macrron.

  13. i would like to get more details on jockey school for my daughter it is her dream and we donot know wear to began

  14. declan says:

    he is the best coach in jockey school.i love him.

  15. james flores says:

    i want to go to your school let me know how to do it (956)778-0548

  16. FutureJockey says:

    Will there be any videos of the second class’s graduation today?

  17. Michaela Heair says:

    Hi everyone :) To whoever posted these vids I want to say thank you so much :) I am 15 and homeschooled. I am planning on graduating early and applying for this school when I graduate. These videos have made me look forward to the future even more, because flying down a race track on them glorious animals is a dream of mine that WILL come true :) NARA truly is an amazing school, haven’t heard anyone say any different!

  18. jessica says:

    where did the videos go? i wanted to show them off.

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  29. Jessica Stith says:

    What happened to the 2nd and 4th installments, that were videos? In particular the graduation race? I’d love a link to that. Been searching for it for a couple of years.


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