An Interview with Director of Racing, Bill Gallo.
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
SOTA Secretary Kimberly Kapacziewski caught up with NSA’s Director of Racing, Bill Gallo, to discuss the current situation in Steeplechasing. Bill’s passion for racing, his experience, and commitment to improving the relationship between owners, trainers, and fans of the sport has helped to bring the Steeplechase community closer and propel it towards an inspiring future.
You've had conference calls with our Race Conditions Committee (Cyril Murphy, Todd Wyatt, Ricky Hendriks) and our President, Kathy Neilson. What has been the goal of these calls?
“Our goal with these calls is to have direct discussions and input from the horsemen. We talk in specific terms about race conditions and opportunities for all of the horses.” Bill states. Specifically, Bill spoke about how these calls give him the opportunity to hear from the horsemen directly.
What is the biggest challenge that comes with revising the schedule? Sounding cautiously optimistic, Bill notes that while there have been challenges recently, most notably the downsizing of race meets from sixteen scheduled this spring to six, he is thankful for the chance to create as many opportunities for the horses to run as possible.
“Our goal is to create balance. We want all of the horses to have a chance to run. If we can accomplish this, we can accomplish quite a bit.”
How important is the SOTA/NSA relationship and what does this relationship accomplish?
“Critically important.” He says insistently. Individually, Bill has a good relationship with the horsemen. However, it is beneficial to have the SOTA committee that gathers input from several horsemen and brings multiple perspectives to the conversation. “Working in concert with them, we are able to produce a better product. Over the last three years, we have embraced the idea that the race conditions aren’t just set in stone and can be adjusted to accommodate as many as possible.”
The committee members have learned as well that we can work closely together. Bill Gallo has the tough challenge of balancing the desires of the horsemen and the race meet directors. Each race meet has different needs and the NSA juggles the two. “The SOTA/NSA relationship is healthy and productive.” The group doesn’t always agree, but they discuss all options and come up with compromises whenever possible.
Looking on the bright side, what positives can come out of this challenging time?
“The bright side is that everyone in America is working together and understanding that this is a unique situation, and we will come through it.” Bill chooses to take the approach that the “bright side” is really a reflection of where America is currently as a whole, not just for the sport of Steeplechasing.
This glass always half-full perspective is just who Bill Gallo is; he is perpetually optimistic. “There is a brighter side that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will come out of this cloud of hysteria and concern and move forward, we will be stronger on the other side.”
How do you see the sport evolving in the future (past Covid-19) and how can SOTA help with that?
“SOTA represents the owners and trainers. Without the owners, we have nothing. They provide horses, they are the lifeline for trainers, jockeys, and the NSA. Our sport needs their input whenever possible.” Bill emphasizes the importance of SOTA’s role in the sport of Steeplechase.
“SOTA needs to keep doing what they are doing. SOTA president, Kathy Neilson is doing a great job.”
He also acknowledges the requests for opportunities for the horses to run, and he is dedicated to fulfilling that request.
“We need opportunities for the horses, and we also need the best purse structure possible. Purses justify keeping a horse in training.”
Overall, Bill Gallo acknowledges that the future of Steeplechase is bright. Working directly with Bill Gallo and the NSA, the future of SOTA is just as bright.
** This interview was conducted on March 27, 2020. There may be schedule changes that have occurred or will occur due to the current health situation in our country. **