Michelle McSweeney is a lifelong horse lover and handicapper. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she and her father, (the inspiration for “Sparky”!), made frequent road trips to Waterford Park. A dedicated racing fan, she worked at several tracks in the East before realizing her dream of becoming a jockey. The highlight of her riding career came at Ellis Park in 1986 when she rode the winner of the first trifecta race ever run in Kentucky, (opening the door to the plethora of exotic wagering opportunities we enjoy today!) Since retiring from the saddle, Michelle has been an assistant to trainer Timothy Hills, as well as working in various administrative positions at Monmouth Park, Gulfstream Park and Hialeah Park. She is married to Bernie, also a rider, and has an eleven year old daughter, Mariah. In the family tradition, road trips to racetracks are their favorite activity. The most memorable have been to Churchill Downs to see Zenyatta, and another to Mountaineer Park, (the former Waterford!) to see Rapid Redux break that champion mare’s record number of wins.
But Michelle’s passion has always been handicapping, that unique psychological challenge of interpreting the past performances of those racehorses she so admires. A two time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship, Michelle also won a berth in the Breeders Cup Betting Challenge in 2012. Last season she made a successful debut as a quarter-horse racing analyst at Hialeah Park.