Dan Tordjman with his wife Marti.
When asked about my lifelong love of horse racing, my answer is never as simple as it is for the usual "why do you like this?" question. For example, I like sushi because it tastes good, I like Pearl Jam because they make awesome music and I like Vanderpump Rules because my wife likes the show. But with horse racing, where do I start? If I had to boil it down to one thing, I guess I'd say horse racing makes me feel young, like a carefree child. Of course, I can't help but elaborate.
Like many hardcore race fans, my father introduced me to the game. He didn't grow up around horses, never owned any (until we recently joined a partnership) and despite living in New York, probably would've gotten lost trying to find Belmont Park in the mid 1980s. That's because until 1981 my dad, who was born and raised in Morocco, had mostly been exposed to racing in France. So, when he went apartment hunting in Brooklyn, the appearance of the off-track-betting parlor on East 16th St. must have been a welcome sight. He ended up moving into an apartment three blocks away and has lived there ever since. In fact, he's outlasted the OTB. I've rarely seen him more devastated than when it shut down, along with the rest of the New York City OTBs, a few years ago. We were together on the day of the shut down, as we were on the day I fell in love with racing.
On May 6, 1989, I was just 6 years old and it isn't very likely that I had any concept of what was about to unfold in Louisville, Ky. I also apparently didn't understand that every New York racing fan was throwing their support in the Kentucky Derby behind a locally based horse named Easy Goer. All I remember was instantly falling for the horse who would become Easy Goer's main nemesis, Sunday Silence. It might've been the striking contrast of his imposing dark coat splashed with a powder white blaze or it might've been as silly as the fact that I just liked his name. Whatever it was, Sunday Silence was my horse and when he won the Kentucky Derby, horse racing was my game.
As the years went on, my early racing memories remained vivid but life went on. I got lost in the usual interests that appeal to young people and ultimately, the responsibilities that fall on adults. I attended Syracuse University and graduated with degrees in Communications & Rhetorical Studies and Broadcast Journalism. After graduating, I spent almost a decade traveling the country while working in the TV industry. While working at an NBC News affiliate in South Carolina, I met my amazing wife, Marti. She has been a constant source of support and encouraged me to do the single thing that led to my formal introduction to the industry and America's Best Racing.
I started out small and launched a website in early 2013. DanonymousRacing.com initially focused on only handicapping. I analyzed races, wrote elaborate analysis and posted picks at major tracks all over the country. I didn't know if anyone would ever see the site. I decided to share my posts on social media and that's when amazing things started to happen. People on Twitter not only saw my picks, they started using them, winning with them and spreading the word about my site to the horse racing fans they knew.
TORDJMAN (center) WITH FRIENDS
Things began to snowball as I started to connect with race fans all over North America. Sharing picks turned into sharing stories about why I love racing and why others love the sport. Before long, the site turned into a forum for horse players and regular fans to reflect on the sport, be giddy about it and to tell stories that might inspire non-fans to give racing a try. The memories shared in the stories I kept hearing and reading spoke to that magical feeling of being young again, carefree and open to endless possibilities.
I am beyond thrilled to be able to share my horse racing love story, and those of so many others, as a Brand Ambassador for America's Best Racing in New York. I strongly believe in the mission of ABR and in the power of the racing experience. If we can get young people to the track we will surely build a new generation of fans who are just as passionate about the game as our fathers were and as dedicated to strengthening it as many of us have become.
In the coming years, I also hope to wave the ABR flag while promoting multiple charitable causes that are vital to the success and integrity of horse racing. I am proud to have already coordinated fundraisers that have raised thousands of dollars for the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund and several off-the-track Thoroughbred organizations. I hope to continue this good work and get others involved in it as well. There are so many great things going on in horse racing. We've just got to keep telling people about those things and show them how rewarding it can be to get involved with the greatest sport in the world.
TORDJMAN SPENDING TIME AT THE TRACK