How KTC Began
KTTC, Kids to the Cup was the brainchild of California owner/breeder Trudy McCaffery, established to be a nationwide educational foundation that attracted, educated and developed young racing fans by providing direct access to the sport’s major events and players. She realized there was a whole untapped reserve of young racing fans interested in horse racing, but without the "Inside Track" to get involved.
She had a rare talent for finding special people and bringing them together to work for a cause that really spoke to her. With her brilliant choice of executive director John DeSantis she provided the club with a leader and a liason for the young racing fans and her dream lives on through the former club members and "Johnny D". With the help and expert guidance of "Johnny D" I found a way to create the intern program at Colonial Downs. The KTTC program then filtered their members in to our program and we had a great match. I could never have started or continued this program without the guidance, expert tutaledge and compassion for the kids of Johnny D. He helped us every step of the way to develop this program. Losing Trudy and KTTC was huge, but I knew we had to prevail and continue the program even if on a smaller scale.
“These youngsters are the future of racing , said McCaffery. “they are impressive in their knowledge and love for the game.” For example, when our innagural interns Amy & Nikki had to come to our training center on the dark , non racing days the first year I wanted to fill their days with exciting learning experiences. I enlisted the help of veterinarians, farm managers , etc. Dr Calvin Rofe took the girls for a day of training center and farm calls and he was telling them that we had a local famous football player who had bred a really nice filly that had been very successful recently. When Nikki spoke up and said, “ would that be Sam Huff that bred/owns “ Bursting Forth” that won the Match Series?” Dr. Rofe was so impressed with the kids knowledge he spoke of it often! His next treat was to come pick me up and inform us that he was taking us to Newstead Farm to introduce us to Genuine Risk! I can not tell you how excited I was at this point. We arrived to find “GR” in her special field with Allison Firestone’s first pony keeping her company. We were introduced to “GR’S” lifetime groom , Buck and we were treated to very special stories from Dr. Rofe her lifetime veterinarian. Here’s what Nikki had to say, “ All of us just had chills going down our spines”. From that visit forward the KTC interns and I were allowed to call Dr Rofe and Buck to schedule “GR” visits whenever they were in town! Each visit was highlighted by a new special story from Dr. Rofe and Buck. Brandon Benson formed a very special bond with the mare and we have a lovely photograph collection due to this rare opporotunity. Through the interns I was privledged to also form a bond with one of my hero’s of the racetrack and I will forever hold every visit near and dear to my heart. I now know what Trudy felt when she said, “ I can’t describe the satisfaction I feel when I see bright faces and wide smiles all around as kids meet face –to-face with their heros- human and equine”. Genuine Risk was already one of my heros, but through her, Dr. Rofe and Buck became heros too.
Most of these kids have limited experience with horses, with the support of their parents they find a way to pursue their dreams with a passion. They are not the children of owners and trainers, they are grass roots fans looking for a way in to the sport. I have been fortunate to have worked with horses all of my life and have been a licensed trainer for 25 years and with each intern I find they have the ability to teach me something new with every relationship we form.
We are very fortunate to have the support of the VHBPA, it's Execcutive Director, Frank Petramalo, the chaperones, past and present, many trainers and their staff willing to teach and train these future horsemen, and the racing officals and racing staff at Colonial Downs who are always willing to help and educate the interns. They make it easy to open doors that give the interns a well rounded introduction to many facets of the industry in a short time. As Trudy said, "These youngsters are the future of racing". I am thankful to Trudy for developing KTTC so that I would be inspired to develop the Intern program and to Johhny D for his never ending guidance and support and to all of the people who help make this program a success year after year. All you have to do is read the intern testamonials and you know this is a worthy and successful program.