Speaker Series: Alumni Mike Weiss and Hailey Shiffer

Jan. 26, 2023
Classroom with Mike Weiss and Hailey Shiffer leading discussion

Eric DeCoster

Mike Weiss of Rillito Park and PariBet joined the Joe Hirsch Speaker Series to discuss his journey in horse racing, his role at Rillito Park, and his work with students in the Race Track Industry Program. Weiss, who spent time with the Race Track Industry Program during his formative years, worked his way up as a clocker, horse identifier, and on the starting gate crew before holding executive roles at tracks in Ohio, Florida, and New Jersey. 

In his time with the students, Mike shared his decade of experience as the General Manager of Rillito Park. He explained to the class how he guarantees jobs at the track during its annual spring meet to University of Arizona students, in addition to sharing success stories of students who have had jobs at the track and gone on to work in the horse racing industry. Mike also relayed how he enjoys keeping in touch with alumni of the RTIP and helping them get jobs in the industry that he believes they would fit well. 

He also discussed what went in to preparing for the upcoming 2023 meet. Joined by RTIP alum & 2022 Distinguished Student Award winner, Hailey Shiffer, the two shared how imperative that staffing the track and establishing safety standards were for the weeks to come. This was highlighted by the implementation of StrideSafe, an equine stride detection system, which will be student led.