Gate Staff

Assistant Starter

Job Category: Part time seasonal

Reports to: Starter

General Description:

Racetrack starters oversee the start of each horse race, ensuring that all horses are loaded quickly and are all set for a fair start. Once all race entrants are loaded into the gate and are standing attentively, the starter presses a button that simultaneously rings the starting bell and flips open the magnetic gate doors.


Generally, each assistant starter leads their own horse into the starting gate and then hops up on the side of the stall until the gates open. If a horse proves to be a challenge to load, the starter may direct the gate crew to use a variety of loading techniques such as the use of blindfolds or gate blankets, having the jockey dismount for loading, opening the front gate to encourage a horse to enter, or having gate crew members band together to physically push a reluctant horse in.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:

Education and/or equine experience. Experienced and knowledgeable in horse racing. Controlled temperament with excellent patience for difficult horses. Respectful and high level of integrity. Excellent communication skills, calm under pressure, and possess agility. Good intuition with horses and quick to action when problems arise. Also a good understanding and willingness to follow all safety procedures of Emerald Downs.

Special Requirements:

Work Environment, Communication & Physical Abilities:

Fast paced, dangerous work environment. Must be comfortable with the dangers associated with horse such as: kicking, bucking, rearing, flipping, biting, etc. Communicate with guests, staff, superiors, horsemen, jockeys, trainers, and horses with courtesy and respect. Physical abilities are, but not limited to: standing, running, jumping, lifting, bending, walking, climbing, balancing, and twisting. Also exposed to all kinds of weather, loud noises, and cramped spaces.

Tools & Equipment:

Protective gear and horse leading/training equipment.