The Media Learning Curve: More Q-and-A with Christina Olivares

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OK, does Christina Olivares look more like Selena Gomez, from the Disney Channel? Or Rachel Bilson, from “The O.C.”? Oliveras says those are the comparisons she gets most often.

But we go beyond that, OK?

Following up today’s media column on TVG’s studio host and reporter (linked here), more Q-and-A with horse racing’s host with the most exposure lately:

== On TVG’s 10th anniversary and how the network fit into her career plans:

“The anniversary show is very fun to see. I was back in high school and college when it really got going and I wasn’t watching it as seriously as I do now. I knew I wanted to go into journalism and I knew this was a great opportunity at a national network. And everything I seem to do is live, so I have to know things off the cuff as much as possible.

“I realize I’ve only been doing this the last four or five years, and we have colleagues who’ve been handcapping 15, 20, 25 years, so I’m fortunate to learn from them and watch their styles and take their angles and then develop my own handicapping style. I’m dstill developing it. I can learn something new every day on this. Everyone has opinions.

“With Betfair now running the network, we’ve seen improvements in leaps and bounds. We’ve covering more events, we’ll do more internationally. It’s exciting to be part of that day in and day out. You want to be at these events and see all the trainers and jockeys.”

== On being a race track lifer who has broadcasting chops, and how you have to provide information to the hard-core fans as well as attract a wider audience:

“Something in the TVG mission statement since Day 1 was that we have people who’ve grown up in the sport, but there’s also people with strong entertainment and a TV background, so we want to marry those together and appeal to both the common fan and keep the hardcore gambler happy with critical information that might go over other people’s heads. You have to keep them both interested. Horse Racing TV tends to cater more to the horsemen, but we cater more to the gamblers. I can still get excited about the big days of racing as well as the $10,000 claimers. If you can’t get excited about even the lowest levels of racing, then you’re missing something. You have to love it that much.”

== On comments she receives via email or texts that comment on her appearance:

“I do get comments along those lines, but I think people have been pretty nice to me. I don’t get mean emails. On our TVG.com community sites, there are various fan forums and you may find a thread that says, ‘She’s hot,’ and someone may add, ‘but she knows what she’s talking about.’ I appreciate that. I have people in the business I look up to, and one of them is Erica Hill on CNN. I hope I can pattern myself after her, the way she gives information and seems unassuming and intelligent and can explain a very complex subject without dumbing it down.”

== On the potential (and probable) demise of Hollywood Park, as a plan to tear the Inglewood track down and build houses on it continues to move forward:

“Our offices are near LAX off Howard Hughes, and that’s just a short drive to Hollywood Park. They’re guaranteed to run through December, but I don’t think they expect a spring meeting. But they could end up just like Bay Meadows — they closed it over a year ago but it’s just been sitting there as a pile of dirt. It would be unfortunate to lose such a landmark track. There’s so much history there, with Lava Man and the American Oaks the last seven years, going back to Native Dancer and so many other star horses that have raced there. It’s so sad.”

== On horse racing’s future in Southern California:

“It’s hard with so many things to do in L.A. My generation doesn’t think ‘race track’ when they make their plans for the day. But I’ve never met someone who didn’t have a good time at the race track, even if they lost money. It’s just about getting them out there, in the door, giving them a lunch and helping them figure out how to read all those charts that look like a puzzle. If we can make it easier and more accessable, it’s a situation where no one doesn’t love it.”

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