Published: Nov 4, 2010
Molly McGill ’12 pitched her idea for a Breeders' Cup iPhone application
to the president of the prestigious horse racing organization while
walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge this past April.
had gone to Australia with her aunt, who serves on the California Horse
Racing Board, for a racing conference and spent some time with Greg
Avioli, president of Breeders' Cup Ltd. When he asked what her plans
were for the future, McGill said she was having a tough time choosing
between her love for technology (she works at the Apple store in
Brandon, FL) and her love of horses.
He suggested she merge the
two, so she pitched her idea for the iPhone app. Avioli told her to put a
proposal together, which led to a six-week summer internship at the
Breeders’ Cup New York office.
McGill researched app developers
and helped create the free service that allows users to watch live races
from the iPhone and iPad, get automatic news updates, access contenders
for each race and winners from last year, see a video vault of every
Breeders’ Cup race since 1984, get information on tickets and seating
charts and even play a trivia game that McGill wrote.
the Breeders’ Cup App, Molly is applying cutting-edge technology to make
a famous horse racing event more accessible to fans and to the public,”
said Kenneth Knapp
an assistant professor of information and technology management and
McGill’s statistics teacher. “She is at the intersection of horse
racing, business and popular technology.”
During her summer internship, the staff discovered McGill’s penchant for movie-making, and they asked her to help edit promotional videos
, one of which will play during 27th running of the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 5 and 6.
is the craziest thing,” said McGill, an international business
management major. “It all happened while walking to breakfast over the
McGill grew up in San Diego near the Del Mar
Racetrack in a family where the women love horses and the men love
motorcycles. She competed in barrel racing and showed a California state
champion horse. One of her favorite things while living at home was to
get on her Quarter Horse Thoroughbred, El Niño, and take off down the
“It was one of those things that no matter what kind of day I was having, I could get on my horse and be happy,” said McGill.
living in Tampa, she has missed the time spent with El Niño. But she is
keeping good company. This weekend she will attend the 27th running of
the Breeders' Cup World Championships at the Churchill Downs in
Louisville, KY. She’ll be wielding a video camera, shooting footage
she’ll edit into clips later.
One of the highlights, though,
will be witnessing one Thoroughbred potentially make history. Zenyatta
will be competing in her 20th race, perhaps for her 20th win, making her
what some say isn’t one
of the best race horses in history, but the
best race horse in history.
“Seeing a horse like Zenyatta race is a once in a lifetime thing,” said McGill. “I love everything about this.”
said this experience is giving her real-world applications of the
concepts she is studying in all of her UT classes. She always dreamed of
working with Thoroughbred horse racing but she never imagined getting
the chance to work with the Breeders' Cup, which she said is starting at
the top. She’s been asked to return to the New York office next summer
and even has been contacted by another Thoroughbred company to help
develop their iPhone app.
In the swirl of excitement, McGill is
just trying to take it all in. And for now, her sight is set on
Saturday, and the chance to witness history in the making. Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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