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First day of job fair draws large crowd to Saratoga Race Course despite rain

Thursday, June 13, 2013
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NYRA held their first of three job fairs at the Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, June 13, 2013.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
NYRA held their first of three job fairs at the Saratoga Race Course on Thursday, June 13, 2013.

— Saratoga Race Course opened its gates to prospective summer employees Thursday afternoon, and plenty braved the rain to submit an application.

“I think we had a tremendous turnout,” said Julie Levine, a recruiter at the track. “I think [the rain] had no affect at all. The first day is usually a big turnout, and we see that already.”

The New York Racing Association on Thursday began its three-day job fair for the 2013 meet at Saratoga, a season that marks the 150th year of thoroughbred racing in the city.

Many of the applicants were first-time attendees. However, Ethan Church, a college student from Broadalbin, came for a second straight year.

Church, who worked as a parking assistant last year, also brought along two friends who hoped to land jobs: Connor Gifford of Broadalbin and Nick Coveney of Ballston Spa.

“[The track] contacted me about the rehire position,” said Church. “We had to fill out some applications and hand them in online via email. [Now,] I’m just coming here to fill out some more paperwork.”

Gifford, who already has a summer job at a pizza shop near his hometown, came to the job fair hoping to land a job as a parking assistant with his friend.

“I came down to the job fair because he’s had a job and ... I figured I’d try something new,” said Gifford.

“The track’s pretty well known, a lot of people come here in the summer and I figured it would be a decent opportunity.”

As most applicants walked into the Carousel near the Gate 4 entrance, they were in groups or couples; however, some came to the job fair by themselves, for various reasons.

James Mason, who made the trip from Vermont, came with new optimism for a summer job after having no luck elsewhere in recent years. He came to the job fair at the suggestion of an uncle who is a frequent visitor to the track in the summer.

“I’ve never been here before, so I don’t know what they have exactly,” he said while standing in line. “I’ve been having a hard time the past couple of summers looking for [a job]. I’m hoping I can get a job.”

Brianna English, a graduate student from Buskirk, came to the fair with hopes a finding a job for the summer.

English, who applied to be a security officer Thursday, noted how easy the fair made the application process, with everything in one place — and in person, rather than online.

“It’s nice that you get to see what’s out there,” she said. “Saratoga is the place to be in the summer, so you get to see the different things, rather than scrolling through [online].”

The job fair welcomes all applicants, whether students or those looking for a transitional job for the summer.

“This is the traditional kickoff,” said Levine. “We’re excited with this season — particularly with the 150th. I think there’s a lot of excitement.”

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