As the Manager of Live Racing and Racing Secretary for Northlands Park, Jason Teague is, not surprisingly, a busy man, tasked with two demanding roles, each of which requires a patient hand and a meticulous eye.
But, for a longtime horse racing aficionado, there is no place else he’d rather be.
“My parents first started bringing me to the track in the early ‘80s,” recalled Teague. “They owned a couple of horses then and it stayed with me since. I bought my first share of a horse in 1993 while working for the Daily Racing Form. I handled the sales at the track and the distribution of the racing forms to all the OTBs within the city and suburbs. I then bought a share of another horse the following year. A few years after owning my first thoroughbred, we decided to breed her and she turned out a foal that went on to win two races.”
Eventually, opportunity, in the form of employment at an Edmonton racetrack, came calling.
“After six years with the Daily Racing Form, Northlands approached me about an officials job and I decided it was the best for me career-wise,” said Teague. “The rest you can say is history.”
His dual functions don’t lend themselves to being the most popular figure at the track, but it’s a challenge Teague doesn’t back down from.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the people I work with every day,” he said. “No days are ever the same and I learn something new every day.”
As for the most difficult part, Teague doesn’t hesitate when it comes to his answer.
“You can never make everyone happy,” he said. “In my role, I am stuck between the industry holders and what’s best for my company. It’s a fine line between what the horsemen want and what’s best business-wise for the public and my company.”
Thankfully for Teague, there have been infinitely more good days than bad.
“One of the big highlights for me was the day I got this job,” he said. “I had already worked 10 years in the office, so it was nice to see that the hard work paid off. There was also my first Canadian Derby as race secretary when we were able to get a full field of 12 horses to start. Another proud moment came this past year when I was elected to the Jockey Club of Canada. I am proud to be able to represent my organization and Western Canada racing. I’ve had some good highlights so far in my life.”
He’s hoping there are plenty more to come.
“I really enjoy the interaction with everyone, from the horsemen, to the owners, my own staff and my co-workers,” said Teague. “I also enjoy talking with the public, whether they are in Colours dining room or out on the tarmac. I enjoy what I do and coming to work every day is easy. You need thick skin, but I wouldn’t trade this kind of job in this industry for anything. I owe a lot to the people who have supported me.”
A list that includes the parents who opened his eyes to the sport, his wife, Christian, and their children, Jaleigh and Braden.
“Family is everything,” said Teague.