The first-year Darley Flying Start trainees arrived in Lexington Jan. 6, having completed the English phase of the course in Newmarket Dec. 19.
The trainees attended the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale and will shortly commence their farriery course at the Kentucky Horseshoeing School and their equine nutrition module at the University of Kentucky. They will complete an online financial accounting module through the Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
In addition to visits and lectures in the afternoons, the trainees will gain practical work experience each morning at the Thoroughbred Center, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and Darley's Gainsborough, Stonerside, and Jonabell Farms.
During these practical work rotations, the trainees will work with yearlings and breeding stock, assist in the breeding shed and with foaling, pre-training racehorses, and stud administration.
They will attend the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and complete the Racing Officials Accreditation Program through the University of Arizona. They will also carry out full-time work placements with Thoroughbred industry professionals for six weeks from May-July. The six-month U.S. phase of the program will culminate with the Darley Flying Start Conference in July.
Three of the trainees in this group come from the U.S. Miguel Clement, 22, of Palm City, Fla. graduated from Duke University in 2013. He gained experience at his father's (Christophe Clement) racing stable and has worked as an office assistant for Nicolas Clement in Chantilly, France. He also worked at the New York Racing Association and Fasig-Tipton.
Sarah Holmes 24, of Lexington has completed the Irish National Stud Breeding course. Sarah graduated from Transylvania University in 2011. She completed a semester of her studies in Argentina through the Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University and has gained Thoroughbred industry experience at the Taylor Made Sales Agency, Keeneland Association, and her family's Marula Park Stud.
Brittlan Wall, 22, of Suwanee, Ga. graduated from the University of Georgia in 2013. Wall has worked with mares and foals at Vinery Stud and also has gained experience as a marketing intern at Three Chimneys Farm. She was an assistant producer at Jockey World Radio and an exercise rider at Blackwood Stables before commencing the Darley Flying Start program.
"Having completed the Ireland and UK phases, I'm excited to be starting the next part of our course in my hometown," Holmes said.
"I am very excited to be returning to America as a Darley Flying Start trainee," Clement said. "It is a tremendous opportunity for all 12 of us, with our varied ambitions in the Thoroughbred industry, since Lexington is so diverse between sales, races, and breeding."
Applications for the 2014 program are now being accepted. The closing date for applications is Feb. 7 2014. For more information visit www.darleyflyingstart.com.