TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Before Hall of Fame horse trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher applied their trade on great courses known as Churchill Downs and Pimlico, they learned that trade at the University of Arizona, in the school's one of a kind Race Track Industry Program.
This year marks the completion of the program's 41st year.
What started in 1973-74 as a five-year trial has grown into the premier training ground for students who want careers in horse racing.
The program offers two curriculums, one in business management and one in equine management.
New Rillito Park general manager Michael Weiss is an RTIP alum and this year forged a relationship with the program in an effort to save the struggling park.
UA students were instrumental in assisting with the operation and management of Rillito Park during its recently completed spring season.
The new opportunity provided students with hands-on experience in all areas.
The Park will not have racing this Kentucky Derby weekend but will be open for off-track betting and viewing of races from across the country including Friday's running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and Saturday's 141st Run for the Roses.
Post time on both days is 7:30 a.m. Saturday will include a free party with Mint Juleps being served.