Did you know that February 10th through 17th is National Freelance Writers Week?! We want to take the time to celebrate the writers that bring you the stories you love to read on the PHRA website. Jennifer Starr and Patti Reed both enjoy telling the stories about Pennsylvania’s breeding and racing industry from the history to the people working in it today.

So, we flipped the script and we asked them a few questions about their job writing for the PHRA!


Jennier Starr, Writer for PHRA

What do you enjoy most about writing about the horse racing industry? 
I really enjoy speaking with each person and hearing all about what they do; how they started in the industry; sharing details about their family; and hearing the passion in their voice.  They can get emotional talking about what they do, and especially talking about their special horse or horses. It’s truly exciting to get to know them and to share their stories. Hopefully, fans enjoy reading the features as much as I enjoy writing them!

I have to honestly say, also, that I’ve learned so much about different aspects of the industry from writing a lot of these stories.

 What article did you enjoy writing and why?
As a fan of horse racing and a woman in the industry, I was particularly happy to share the stories of the strong women in the business today; trainers Marta Piotrow; Kate DeMasi; and Bobbi Anne Hawthorne.  Assistant Head Starter Aubrey Demchak Cassel. Outrider Missy Rothfuss. Lisa Martin of Clarence Martin Jr. Stables and Martin’s Starting Gates. Layne Shaffer of Arrowwood Farm. Toni Tobin at Touch of Kindness Sanctuary.  PTHA’s Danielle Gibson.  These strong, passionate, and hard-working women are proof that there are many opportunities for women to be successful in the horse racing industry, which sometimes can be dominated by men. It’s refreshing to see both genders succeed in the industry that we all love.

Who would be your dream interview for a story (dead, alive, human, or horse) and why? 
In thoroughbred racing, I would love to sit down with Barclay Tagg, trainer of one of my all-time favorites, Funny Cide; and Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who rode my all-time favorite, Barbaro.

In harness racing, I have a few on my list; both living and passed on. The late great Sep Palin, trainer of Greyhound, would be such a great one because I love that horse and would love to hear his story.

Among the living, I’d be honored to interview Jim Simpson, President of Hanover Shoe Farms and Moira Fanning of the Hambletonian Society.



Patti Reed, Writer for PHRA

What do you enjoy most about writing about the horse racing industry? 

As a child, my passion was horses, and I’m lucky to be writing about them now. I enjoy doing research about the racing industry because I love learning about the entire industry. Since I don’t own horses now, writing about them keeps me connected to the racing industry.

What article did you enjoy writing and why?
I enjoyed writing Riding in Style about Brook Ledge Horse Transportation because it’s a local company that manufactures their own trucks and customizes them for safety and comfort, and they employ local drivers and service to the entire United States. It’s hard to pick just one article, but I also enjoyed writing about the history of racing in PA. I enjoyed learning about early racing in the state.

Who would be your dream interview for a story (dead, alive, human, or horse) and why? My dream interview would be about the horse Seattle Slew because he started from modest beginnings and became a champion racehorse, sire of champions and great broodmare sire. He did it all and will influence many generations to come.

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