OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced that students enrolled in the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP) can now apply for the 2023 Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship, which aims to support students aspiring to build careers in thoroughbred horse racing.
The scholarship was created in 2021 to honor the memory of Elizabeth Bracken, an RTIP graduate who spent 16 years at NYRA before returning to RTIP as Associate Coordinator and an instructor. Bracken died in November 2019; she was 52.
“We can’t thank NYRA enough for their continued support of the RTIP via this scholarship and their sponsorship of the Global Symposium on Racing,” said RTIP Chair Robert Hartman. “NYRA has provided meaningful internship opportunities to RTIP students for decades, from my NYRA internship in 1992 to the present. The RTIP’s unique blend of classroom and experiential learning prepares graduates to contribute to racing organizations on Day One. We are proud of our alumni that serve in leadership positions on the NYRA team to help further the organization’s mission.”
The 2023 winner will succeed the awarding of the inaugural Elizabeth Bracken Memorial Scholarship to Eric DeCoster, an RTIP senior from Chandler, AZ. DeCoster spent the summer interning at NYRA’s racing office, at both Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course; and said he hoped to build a career in a racing office, ultimately as a racing secretary or director of racing.
“Eric’s passion for horse racing and his work ethic came through every day he was with us, and we’re thrilled to be helping him build a foundation for a meaningful career in our sport,” said NYRA Senior Vice President, Racing Operations Frank G. Gabriel, Jr. “He’s a worthy first recipient of this scholarship that remembers Liz, one of the most respected and innovative people in the industry.”
Bracken had a long and distinguished career in the thoroughbred industry. A native of Providence, she served as a racing official at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Hialeah Park, Tampa Bay Downs, Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park.
Joining NYRA in 1997 as Simulcast Coordinator, Bracken advanced to Director of Simulcasting in 2002, and Vice President of Simulcasting in 2008, overseeing NYRA's off-track network and coordinating simulcast distribution of the Belmont Stakes.
In 2013, Bracken returned to RTIP, and taught classes on racing management, wagering, and racing laws and enforcement. She also assisted in the coordination of the RTIP's annual Global Symposium on Racing.
The RTIP is the country’s premier collegiate program designed to educate and train future leaders in the racing industry. It is the only program of its kind to offer a Bachelor’s degree centered on the racing industry.
Students choose either a Business Path designed for careers in management, marketing and regulation; or an Equine Management Path for those seeking careers in training, the bloodstock industry or farm management.
The $10,000 annual scholarship will be split into two parts – with $5,000 awarded for the fall semester and $5,000 for the spring semester. More information is available at