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HRTV's Scott Hazelton: Local Boy Makes Good

Churchill Downs Communications | 08/07/2008 #

Perhaps, the following is best filed under the "local boys makes good" category.

HorseRacing TV's Scott Hazelton is the son of prominent, long-time Chicago-based trainer Richard Hazelton, the all-time leader in training wins at Arlington, who grew in two locales in the Chicagoland area -- Bartlett, IL, as well as the backstretches of Chicago racetracks.

He's developed into a key member of HRTV's announcing stable, and enjoyed a number of great racing travel destinations this year, on behalf of the network.  In less than 12 months, he's been to Monmouth for the Breeders' Cup, the United Arab Emirates for the Dubai World Cup, the Ke ntucky Derby, and the Belmont Stakes, chronicling Big Brown's Triple Crown quest, substantially contributing to HRTV's coverage.

The exclamation point arrives this week.  Hazelton has been tabbed to do onsite work at Arlington, joining Caton Bredar, for the network's coverage of the fabled Arlington Million.  He's home -- and couldn't be happier.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity I've gotten at HRTV," Hazelton said.  "I love talking about the sport, and its people.  I've grown up in racing and it's like working with family.  The people at HRTV are great, and to watch how the network has grown in the last few years is just amazing.  To be a part of that, it's special."

But now being able to cover North America's greatest turf race is an honor, especially growing up here and always anticipating the Million each summer," Hazelton said.

A racing family?  In addition to his father, Hazelton's sister, Christine, rose through the racing ranks to serve as assistant racing secretary at both Del Mar, and Fairplex.  Hazelton's career choice, although fairly obvious, wasn't pre-ordained.

During high school, he spent time at his father's barns, walked some "hots," and handled some other small, but necessary, roles that are incumbent in a sport that requires precise detail.  When it comes to Chicago racing, he wasn't only learning from his father, but also from a trainer whose success locally numbers few, if any, peers.

But, it wasn't until age 18 that Hazelton charted a direct course for his future.  He wanted to work in television and, if that morphed into TV work in television, and racing, all the better.  Hazelton took extensive broadcast courses at both the University of Illinois, and then Arizona State, and was the recipient of much-needed support from family friend, the aforementioned Bredar, who offered both support and guidance.

The break came in 2004, and the dream realized, when HorseRacing TV's executive producer Amy Zimmerman gave him that initial opportunity.

Initially, a producer/reporter for selected feature segments, Hazelton now co-hosts the network's "RaceDay America" show.

A whirlwind, wondrous escapade that makes it a blur, of sorts, for Hazelton.

It's been a wild year," he said.  "Exciting, and a lot of fun.  I had always wanted to go to Dubai, and the Derby, and in less than two months time, I had done both."