A young racing fan from a small town in the middle of Ireland got the biggest birthday present of his life today when the Breeders’ Cup invited him to be part of thoroughbred racing’s biggest stage, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships
Mark Boylan, celebrating his 14th birthday at home today in Banagher (pop. 1,636), County Offaly, has two passions in life--horseracing and music. He combined them on YouTube in his song “Stateside,” a heartfelt tribute to the Breeders’ Cup. One YouTube viewer posted “This kid is absolutely great! He should definitely perform this in Kentucky on BC weekend, the crowds will love it!”
The Breeders’ Cup had the same reaction.
"When we first heard the song 'Stateside', we were blown away," said Peter Rotondo, Vice President of Media and Entertainment for Breeders' Cup. "Mark is such a talented kid and we thought he'd be a great addition to Championship weekend festivities."
Rotondo confirmed with Mark today that he and his family will be getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Louisville, KY for Breeders’ Cup week and that Mark would be performing “Stateside” at Churchill Downs during the Breeders’ Cup Championship weekend, Nov. 4-5. Additionally, “Stateside” will soon be offered online for download, with a 100% of the proceeds going to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). Joining the Breeders’ Cup in sponsoring the Boylan’s trip is MOC Insurance Services, a firm with extensive experience in thoroughbred racing.
“When our CEO Van Maroevich and I heard Mark’s story, we knew we had to be involved,” said John Unick, president of MOC Insurance Services thoroughbred racing division. “We are thrilled to help bring Mark over to the Breeders’ Cup. MOC has helped raise over $200,000 for the PDJF over the years and we are delighted to be associated with such an inspirational song and worthy cause."
Mark’s passion for horse racing developed at a young age. His mother, Helene, grew up next door to four-time Breeders’ Cup winning trainer Aidan O’Brien and Mark and his family became regular visitors to O’Brien’s Coolmore Ballydoyle training center.
“To say I'm excited about going to the heart of US thoroughbred country, to storied Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup is an understatement,” Mark Boylan said. “It's obviously a huge thrill to be going across the pond for the first time. I'm really looking forward to experiencing world-class racing and hope my song will play a part in the excitement of this year’s event.”
Earlier this year, Mark performed another song he wrote, “The Festival,” in front of 60,000 fans during the Cheltenham Festival steeplechase meet in England.
Accompanying Mark on his Breeders’ Cup adventure will be his father Dave, mother Helene and six-year-old sister Holly.