Inside track: Jockey Declan Carroll creates new video series
TORONTO, May 9, 2023– Declan Carroll is taking racing fans along for the ride.
The idea, one where he would provide viewers with a unique, inside track-type look at the life of a jockey, first came to Carroll last fall.
“I enjoy watching YouTube videos, and I’m always watching horse racing-related videos from Europe,” said Carroll, who began his riding career in fall 2018 and scored his first win at Keeneland during the fall meet. “There is a company, M3 Media, which does a lot of behind-the-scenes videos, where they show different things, like jockey cams and other interesting things. It’s great, but I didn’t see any jockeys doing something like that on a regular basis.
“So, it was about six months ago when I started thinking, ‘Why don’t I give it a shot?’ Maybe it would be something where people enjoy seeing what we do in the mornings, how we prepare for the races, and things like that. But I also wanted to show what I do on the off days, almost a blog of life inside and outside of the racetrack. People enjoy watching those types of videos these days.”
In late April, Carroll, the son of former trainer David Carroll, who currently works as assistant trainer to Mark Casse, released his first video.
The 46 second video, which includes Carroll narrating over a series of clips, received rave reviews on social media.
“I was talking to my sister, and I told her I went into this with zero expectations, that maybe a few people would like it and others wouldn’t really care. It’s great to see the support and I really do appreciate it. It’s outside of my comfort zone, which I expressed in a video. The more support, the better.”
One of Carroll’s primary objectives is to bring more attention to the sport, an opportunity for him to help introduce new fans to racing.
Growing up in Kentucky, Carroll, who rode at several Midwest tracks during the pandemic before taking his tack to Arlington for its 2021 meet, sought out as much horse racing content as he could find.
“I remember when I was a kid, I always looked up to jockeys and it’s always what I wanted to be. I’d watch every interview I could, just to catch all the small things here and there. I feel like today, with the technology everyone has, that I can pump out a lot of good things that weren’t available when I was a kid. Whether it’s things around the barn, nutrition, what you like to do away from racing, I want to showcase things people might be interested in. If that can help bring in new fans, that’s great.”
The 23-year-old won’t be focusing his content solely on his time at the racetrack.
Carroll, who started riding full-time at Woodbine in 2022, and won last year’s Breeders’ Stakes with eventual Sovereign Award winner (3-year-old male category) Sir for Sure, intends to share footage of his life outside of the irons.
“I’m not just going to make it about going to work, going to the room, working out and riding a horse. I want to give some insight into what I like to do in my off time. I think if I was just to pump out my daily routine for racing, it’s going to get repetitive and it’s going to get boring. I don’t want that, I want to keep it fresh, and I want to keep it new. I want to bring other people in, interview people. Some of my best friends in Kentucky who ride, they’re going to do some stuff for me for this. I’m looking forward to that, to showing other riders and their lives too.”
He's already reached out to others in the sport for their feedback and the offer to share their stories as well.
While his videos don’t have the same polish and production as a company like M3 Media does, Carroll is looking at ways to improve what he films and how he films it.
“I’ve talked to people, and I will continue to do that, to get their perspectives and their input, and maybe how they can be a part of it. That’s what this is all about. I don’t have a fancy camera or people following me around. For now, this is what it is, and I hope people enjoy it. Hopefully, we can grow the audience and get more eyes on our sport.”
With new offerings for those who attend the races at Woodbine, including the Stella Artois Terrace, which overlooks the finish line from the third-floor grandstand, Carroll sees opportunities to engage and enlighten a new generation of racing fans.
“There are so many new people that are coming to our racetrack. Maybe we can help put some more attention on our sport through things like this and give those people more incentive to come back. Anything I can do to help draw attention to our great sport, I’m happy to do it. I want to play my part in that.”
While Carroll is the face and voice of the videos, he isn’t interested in making any of it about himself.
“Hopefully, it will be good for everyone, for our sport, my fellow riders, and anyone who watches them, and that they are able to take something away from it.”
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms