Jockey Bradley Wilson’s victory aboard Fionn on Aug. 16 at Fort Erie marked the 1,000th combined winner from the graduates of the North American Racing Academy, which was founded by Hall of Fame rider Chris McCarron.
NARA, a program of the Kentucky Technical and Community College System, began classes in 2006 and has produced 18 professional riders from 34 graduates. The program also includes pathways for non-riding professions in the racing industry.
Graduates of the NARA program have ridden in more than 9,800 races and earned more than $14 million in purses.
Wilson graduated from the program in 2008, and rides at Fort Erie and Woodbine. Fellow NARA grad Ryan Pacheco also found the winner’s circle twice that day, the last coming after Wilson’s victory.
“I’m extremely proud of my students,” said McCarron. “They did it!”
Based in Lexington, the program currently has 30 students enrolled for classes, including 16 in the jockey pathway.