When my local cable company began offering the racing package, I knew there was going to be an indention on my couch cushion. We were offered TVG in the beginning, and it stayed on for quite sometime. Then came along HRTV. I have to say it took awhile, but eventually it took over and became the only racing channel that I watched. After quite sometime, I have grown to have some favorites that I have watched. One member of the HRTV staff that grabs my attention is Scott Hazelton.
1. “How long have you been with HRTV, and what programs are you affiliated?”
S.H. – “I have been with HRTV for 9 years, and I am on set for Pursuit of the Crown, Pursuit of the Cup, and Fast Track.”
2. “You come from a family that is rooted in racing. How did you begin your connection with Thoroughbred racing ?”
S.H. – “My first job on the track was as a hot walker for my Dad when I was about 15 for the summer. I got away with a lot! I was supposed to walk 5 horses each morning, but I would always sneak off and head to the grandstand after walking just a couple. It was fun because I got to see my Dad in his element. He was all business in the morning, no “BS.” But once work was done he loved messing with his friends and playing cards in the jocks room before the clerk of scales would kick him out. Every member of my family was involved in racing at some point. My Father learned from his Father who was a trainer, my brother was a trainer for a long time and remains in the game, and my sister was a racing official in California for well over a decade.”
3. “As a racing analyst/commentator, do you see the fan education movement creating a new fan base?”
S.H. – “Yes, because there are a lot of people I meet out on the road that say how much they have learned about racing from watching HRTV. This movement can only help. It’s not a complicated game to learn, but it is intimidating for the novice. Once that is overcome, it’s not hard to create a new fan.”
4. ” Who do you credit for kick starting your career?”
S.H. – “My Father. – If I wasn’t able to be around him at the racetrack. I would have never gained an interest in this incredible game.”
5. ” Who is your favorite horse, trainer, and race track to visit?”
S.H. – Favorite horse: “Cigar. I was captivated by his 16 race win streak when I was a teenager. He was so talented, and such a good looking animal it was hard not to be a fan. I also got to see him win his 16th consecutive race at Arlington Park which was a great experience. To this day, I’ve never seen a race track packed full of people. Chicago was pumped to welcome Cigar.”
Trainer: “Obviously my Father is #1 in my eyes as a trainer, but I am very partial to Steve Asmussen. He can train all types of horses from world class to cheap claimers. Also, he oversees a massive operation and knows each and every one of his horses. He knows what they are doing and he calls the shots.”
Track: “I would have to choose Keeneland. I have only been there once, but my lone experience was memorable from the drive in to the dress code. To me Keeneland is what horse racing would be in Heaven, simple and classy.”
6. “What is your most memorable moment on set?”
S.H. = The time my Dad came on set, and did an interview with me on Race Day America about 5 years ago. My Dad hates being interviewed in front of the camera, and even that morning he tried to get out of it by faking he was sick. So to get him on the set was quite an accomplishment, but the result was even better. – Look for it on YouTube, and you will see what I mean.
7. “If you have the day off with a bankroll, where would we most likely find you watching and wagering?
S.H. – “At home in my 1-year-old daughter’s playroom. Watching HRTV, and playing on my ADW.”
8. ” What are some of your favorite handicapping angles?”
S.H. – “I’m a big “class angle” player. Class drops are huge when dealing with everyday racing, and identifying drops that are not that big and could be overplayed. This stems from my experiences with my Father, as well as the two summers I worked in the Arlington Park racing office learning how to understand conditions of a race.”
9. “As fans watch HRTV, what should they be looking to take from your program?”
S.H. – ” Our knowledgeable approach to racing coverage. We don’t hammer handicapping, and putting together tickets on our live racing coverage. Instead, we all look at each race from our “backgrounds” in racing. Each individual that is on-air has countless hours of experience in this game, and we all use our perspectives to approach our coverage. Needless to say, I am constantly learning from my colleagues, and that is what makes being a part of HRTV so great.”