Horses inspire RVC native's career

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“It’s always been about the animal,” said Megan Devine, who developed an instant passion for horses when she began riding as a 7-year-old at what’s now the New York Equestrian Center in West Hempstead.

Twenty years later, the Rockville Centre native continues to ride competitively while juggling an emerging career as a freelance on-air personality at Los Angeles-based TVG Network and as founder and chief executive officer of a digital media production company alled vidhorse.com.

“My father [Peter] took me to Belmont Park for the first time when I was about 5, and he said I tried to make a bet,” said Devine, a 2010 South Side High School graduate who competed in track and field. “I guess that was some sort of sign,” she joked. “I’ve always loved being around horses, but I didn’t really get into the racing part until college.”

Devine attended the University of Louisville, where she enrolled in the Equine Industry Program and thrived as a member of the Equestrian Team, which she captained in her junior and senior years before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2014.

Her first paid work experience in racing came in Kentucky, early in her college days, as a runner for NBC Sports during Derby week. After endless coffee and airport trips, she watched I’ll Have Another win the Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May, 2012. She’s missed just one Kentucky Derby since. “When working the Derby, I’ve been stationed facing the crowd, and when everyone sings ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ as the horses enter the track under the historic twin spires, it’s hard not to get choked up. There’s nothing like it.”

In the spring of 2014, she was hired by TVG, an all-horse racing channel, to work as a production assistant for the Keeneland meet. It was there, at the scenic Kentucky track well-known for being the industry’s leading auction house, where she made her first on-camera appearance. “They were looking for some content, so I went on the air and things just took off from there,” Devine said.

Her first full-time on-camera gig came in the summer of 2016 as an analyst at Ellis Park, another Kentucky-based track, and led to the same position at Santa Anita in California a few months later — a job she held until November of last year.

Devine credits her late friend, Kevin Saggese, who was part of the equestrian scene, with teaching her how to analyze past performances in the Daily Racing Form and to look for betting angles and trends. “I took what I learned from Kevin and combined it with my riding experience, which allowed me to visually evaluate horses,” she said.

Her favorite wager, shared regularly on Twitter (@MeganDevineTV) where she has more than 8,000 followers, is the Pick 4, and she’s no stranger to a straight win bet. “The Pick 4 is an attainable bet, and if you catch a few prices [non-favorites] it can really pay off,” she said.

Though a relative newcomer to the sport, Devine has already experienced, in person, some of the highs and lows thoroughbred racing has seen in the last 40 years. She was at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6, 2010 when Zenyatta, looking to close her career undefeated in 20 starts, lost by a head to Blame in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. “The wind just came out of the crowd,” she said. And she was also at Belmont Park on June 6, 2015, when American Pharoah ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought. “That was the loudest sporting event I’ve ever been to,” she said. “The entire grandstand was shaking.”

Devine resides in Pasadena, just outside of Los Angeles, with her two dogs Dixie and Gunner, and has no plans to give up her cell’s 516 area code. “I’m proud to say I’m from New York,” she said.