My new gig

For those who have not yet heard the news, I am starting on as a staff writer for Thoroughbred Times on August 8.

Dating back to my internship with Thoroughbred Times in the summer of 2008, my goal has been to get back with the publication in some capacity. Over that time, I have appeared in the magazine, website and daily publications in a freelance role at some of the sport’s biggest events.

If one got right down to the nuts and bolts of it all, my time with Thoroughbred Times was largely responsible for the birth of The Michigan-Bred Claimer. I did not want to start a racing blog until I had the right kind of momentum behind my name to make it stand out from the pack. An internship with Thoroughbred Times provided just that.

So, what does this announcement mean for this site? Honestly, I don’t know.

The job will require a move to Lexington, Ky., which means that coverage of racing in Michigan will become nearly impossible to pull off, especially on top of all the responsibilities of working for a leading Thoroughbred publication. Considering all the recent goings on at Mount Pleasant Meadows, this is a pretty considerable bummer, but opportunities like this are too rare to pass.

I have been asked if I would ever pass the title of “Michigan-Bred Claimer” on to someone else to carry on the coverage of the state’s racing industry. Quite frankly, I have spent so much time building the brand and its reputation that I’d prefer to hang on to the name for possible future use. This is not to deter anyone else from picking up the torch and providing the coverage Michigan desperately needs, in fact I encourage it, but if you use the “Michigan-Bred Claimer” name, I will find you…

Regardless of what happens to this blog, readers will still get to read my often off-kilter thoughts on racing in the pages of Arabian Finish Line. Because the publication covers a different breed of horse from Thoroughbred Times, the “Making Claims” column will live on.

Anyway, that’s what’s new and exciting around here. This development more than likely would have never happened without everyone who has read, commented, promoted and otherwise helped make The Michigan-Bred Claimer a rousing success in drawing attention to what I have to offer, and more importantly, what Michigan racing has to offer.

So many people in Michigan’s racing industry have been vital in helping me get to this point – from the horsemen’s organizations, racetrack personnel, owners, breeders, trainers and anyone else that was ever nice enough to accept an interview request, to the people on the track for not punching me when I shove a camera in their faces.

In particular, an enormous debt of gratitude is owed to Rick McCune, who has been one of my biggest teachers and supporters in this business. Simply put, if not for Rick, I would probably still be one of those kids who spends more time running races on the apron than watching the actual races on the track. There is no way I am here writing this post about this subject without his guidance, and for that, I can’t thank him enough.

A plethora of thanks also goes out to all of the publications who took me on as a freelancer and allowed me to expand my career to new levels. It was a thrill opening the mailbox every day and seeing my work appear in a different magazine, including Arabian Finish Line, Midwest Thoroughbred, Louisiana Horse and online at

Even if the end is near, this isn’t it for the blog just yet. I still have some time in Michigan, and as the last year has proven, there is never a dull moment in this state. Without a doubt, that experience will make me even better on my next stop.

I look forward to getting started on my new gig.


UPDATE: From the Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association website…

Joe Nevills, creator of the MI Bred Claimer Blog and member of MTOBA, will be leaving Michigan to take a position as staff writer for the Thoroughbred Times.  He begins this next phase of his career on August 8th in Lexington, KY.  A farewell party will be happening at Mt. Pleasant Meadows this Sunday, July 31st.  All are invited.  The MTOBA Board sends their congratulations and will all look forward to following  Joe’s stories in the Thoroughbred Times.  We will miss you Joe but we are oh so proud to have our own Michigan Bred son make it to the big leagues in Kentucky!


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13 responses to “My new gig

  1. Best of luck, Joe. You’re going to do great.

  2. Derek

    Hi Joe,

    I’m so happy for you! I look forward to visiting you in the great state of Kentucky! We will continue to keep the faith here in Michigan!


  3. Congratulations! Good luck with you’re new job!

  4. Congratulations Joe! Although I hate to see you leave Michigan, but if you have to go, I’m glad it’s to Lexington. Everyone at MTOBA wishes you continued success.

  5. Woo hoo!!! Another Michigander moving on down to the Bluegrass state!!

    I’m very happy for you!!

  6. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!! It’s a bittersweet moment, excited and happy for you, but sorry to see you go. A big loss to Michigan racing. Good luck and best wishes. We know you’ll do well.

    Tom and Joyce

  7. rox

    Will miss your updates, but so happy for you. You deserve this.

  8. EJH

    Excellent opportunity Joe. Your hard work has paid off. I am sure your family is very proud of you as they should be. Good luck.

  9. Matt & Kendra Klumpp

    Congratulations Joe– hopefully we can see you this fall at Keeneland

  10. Tom Schram

    Sincere congratulations. Speaking from the perspective of the opposite end of a career in journalism, I can tell you that you will work your ass off, have an incredible amount of fun and never get rich. But so long as you always speak to the truth, it will easily be worth it. Good luck and enjoy the ride!

  11. Fantastic news, Joe. I can’t imagine what took the Thoroughbred Times so long to get you on-board full-time, but you’re definitely going to be a major asset for them. Well done, my amigo!

  12. Old Time Race Fan

    Best wishes on the new job, Joe. Your writing is great and the photos always captured something special about this sport. I definitely want to know where to find the Haiku analysis when the next big race comes along.

  13. ” But so long as you always speak to the truth, it will easily be worth it. ”

    Now where else have heard this? LOL

    You don’t need to be wished luck Joe, your talent is already here. Live it, Breath it, Experience it and most of all Enjoy it.

    And like I’ve told you when you start fearing truth it’s time to stop writing. Your career already has started.

    May it be a happy long ride. I’ve never liked front runners that can never seem to finish on top because they’ve ran out of steam. Approach your writing like you’re closing like a freight train with all the facts in hand from 20 lengths out of it and you’ll always hit the wire first. As you know it’s not always the horse who gets the first jump out of the gate who wins the race.

    Sometimes lagging a little behind gives you the best advantage in-which to observe the others until they move and you see the opening.

    Fear Nothing Joe and you’ll always come out on top. Never let anything stand in your way.

    I’ll raise my glass when someday you’ll have written your way into the ” Joe Hirsch Award ” and I’ll say I remember when I met that young man.

    Well Done.

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