“Bittersweet but excited,” Gabby Gaudet leaving Maryland Jockey Club
by Frank Vespe
“I feel like we’re a Triple A team,” Maryland Jockey Club president Sal Sinatra joked. “We’ve groomed some really good analysts” who have gone on to success elsewhere.
The latest of those is set to be Gabby Gaudet, the MJC’s 26-year-old on-air racing analyst. For the second straight year, Gaudet will head to Saratoga to “help with Talking Horses and do the Saratoga Live broadcast,” she said.
What’s different this year: “No more Maryland,” Gaudet said. She has no plans to return to the Maryland Jockey Club on other than an occasional basis, perhaps, for example, during the Preakness meet at Pimlico.
In 2018, Gaudet is scheduled to be at NYRA from April through November. So while some of her next two years are mapped out, Gaudet said, her longer range plans are in flux — but returning to NYRA for the summer and fall serves both her immediate and longer term goals.
“That was really fun to be a part of its inaugural season last year,” Gaudet said of her work on Saratoga Live.
This year, unlike last, she will remain with the New York Racing Association past the Saratoga meet. She will continue similar duties with NYRA through the Belmont fall meet, she said, and her last day in the Empire State will be December 2, the date of the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.
And then? She hopes to return to Gulfstream Park for that track’s championship meeting, which takes place from December to April, though details are still being worked out.
And after 2018?
“That’s a great question,” she said laughingly.
“My dream job would be to do the NBC shows for horse racing and even do some things outside of horse racing,” Gaudet said. “My main goal from when I first started this was to get as much experience as I possibly can. I’ve dabbled in doing stuff behind the scenes, producing stories… and at the same time trying to develop my career in broadcasting. Doing Saratoga Live will take me to that next step in terms of getting national exposure and helping with those skills in broadcasting.”
Gaudet’s final day at Laurel was July 16. Sinatra said the company does not have a permanent replacement lined up, though former trainer Tim Tullock will fill the seat alongside Stanton Salter in the interim period.
“I’m happy for her,” Sinatra said of Gaudet. “She’s in demand. I wish her luck.”
Gaudet came to the Maryland Jockey Club directly out of college at Towson University in 2013 after prevailing in a four-analyst playoff for the position after longtime Maryland racing handicapper Frank Carulli retired. That has led to stints at Gulfstream and at NYRA, though in prior years Maryland remained home base.
“Throughout my career I’ve been extremely fortunate to have supporters and mentors and people who believed in me, and it stems back from (on-air cohost, and host of Maryland Horse Radio) Stanton Salter, who gave me an internship on his radio show, which then led to working at the Saratoga Special with the Clancys (Joe and Sean), which then led to the position here that (then VP-Communications) Mike Gathagan hired me for,” Gaudet said.
Her connections to Maryland, of course, aren’t just professional. She grew up here, the daughter of longtime trainers Eddie Gaudet, who retired following the 2011 season, and Linda Gaudet. Her sister Lacey is a trainer with an up-and-coming career, too. She grew up, almost literally, on the backside of the now-shuttered Bowie training center.
“This is my roots, this is where my family is,” Gaudet said. “I’m going to miss not seeing Mom and Lacey around the paddock. My family’s here, my dad’s here — this place will always be nostalgic for me.”
No doubt that’s true, but then again, the future beckons.
“It’s bittersweet,” Gaudet allowed, “but I’m excited to see where the road leads me.”