“Allison would not describe herself as a ‘feminist’ nor a ‘pioneer for women,’ yet she was one of the first female racing secretaries in the world. The position of Racing Secretary is the chief executive of the racing office. Some of the most important tasks include writing races that attract full fields while also enticing bettors in order to generate handle. The needs and desires of trainers who need certain conditions must also be met. The racing secretary must also work with track management to preserve the surfaces for the benefit of the racing product. While juggling all those balls, Allison is unequivocally ethical, calm and pleasant.
In the predominantly male corporate structure of the racing industry, Allison’s contemporaries treat her as an equal. She has earned their respect through her consistently thoughtful condition books, exceptional team management, and class. Dues paid…check.
Allison began her career after graduating from the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona. She has worked in various capacities in Arizona, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Virginia. Where does she keep all those track licenses!? She has a son, a graduate of the University of Kentucky; she definitely did something right there! Some of her career highlights, so far, include landing her first racing secretary position at Sportsman’s Park in 1987 and serving as the assistant secretary at Churchill for ten years. She is currently the racing secretary for Tampa Bay Downs and Colonial Downs.
She has been a mentor and role model for many, lots being her subordinates, and me.”
Leigh Delacour – Arnaud Delacour Stables
“Allison has an extensive background with in-depth knowledge of all facets of the horse racing industry. She has immense respect from her colleagues and the horse men and women that support Thoroughbred racing.”
Jill Byrne – Vice President of Racing Operations at Colonial Downs
“Allison is an asset for Tampa Bay Downs. She has a broad knowledge of the Thoroughbred racing industry and is ethical in all she does.”
Arnaud Delacour – Trainer
“I started working with Allison when I first ran horses in Kentucky. She was my go-to for information and help as a rather green trainer trying to feel his way into the business. She always treated me with the utmost dignity and respect, and it is hardly a surprise to see her rise to the top of an industry that is predominantly run by males in a job where it is next to impossible to please everyone. Proud to see she has been chosen as a SheHero. She clearly fits the mold.”
Graham Motion – Trainer
“Allison and I have been friends for over thirty years. In the early 1980s, she was a very young Racing Secretary at Sportsman’s Park. I was at home with a baby and a toddler. She offered me my first racing office job. Thirty-plus years later, she is still encouraging me and many others who enter the racing officials world.
Allison leads by example. She is always dedicated to the task at hand. She understands the needs of the horsemen and horsewomen, management and definitely her team. If you have the privilege of working for her, you will receive an education on the tactics needed to create a good race card in an ethical manner of which to be proud. She leads her crew by respecting them and encouraging them to grow. She never wants the spotlight, she is happier if she can help others shine. She is always ready with advice and never shy to give you her opinion. She’s usually right!
It’s been my honor to work for her and my blessing to call her my friend.”
Sue Brewster – Churchill Downs Paddock Judge