About the Race Track Industry Program

During the early 1970’s, a group spearheaded by the late Frank Vessels, Jr. of Los Alamitos Race Course, embarked upon the concept of a collegiate program to train young men and women to become future leaders in the racing industry.

Several universities around the country were contacted, with none expressing genuine interest, until The University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture consented to try it on a trial period of five years.

The University required the racing industry to provide funding to initiate the program. Vessels, who was the president of the American Quarter Horse Association at the time, employed the resources of the AQHA racing department to help the University get the program started. Financial commitments by Los Alamitos, the AQHA, Funks Greyhound Racing and the National Association of State Racing Commissioners provided seed money. The College of Agriculture placed the new formed Race Track Industry Program in the Animal Sciences Department in 1973 with classes beginning the following January.

The program began with about 15 students, 3 classes, no text books and little chance given for success. Within a few years student numbers had tripled as had the number of courses offered.  Today the program is highly regarded not just in Arizona, but around the world. Many of the racing industry’s leaders are graduates of the RTIP.

Two very successful programs were started that first year -- an internship program for students as on-the-job training and an annual symposium designed to bring industry leaders to campus for exchange of information and to benefit the students’ understanding of racing.

The RTIP’s Advisory Council, composed of racing industry leaders, continues to direct and support the Program while identifying long-range needs of the industry that can be met by the Program.

The mission of the Program continues to be twofold -- to educate students at the collegiate level to prepare them for rewarding careers in the racing industry and to provide the industry with information and education through various outreach endeavors including the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming.

The Innovators’ Circle is a perfect fit for the RTIP as the goals of both are aligned – to bring cutting edge ideas and advancements to the racing industry.