New to the group. Nice to meet you all. I actually saw this thread through a Google alert (on horse jobs) and decided to sign up because I thought I might be able to lend a hand.
Whisper18 (curious user name), I'm actually in NYS and have a bit of experience as an exercise rider at the track.
As boldstart, maura and MysticL have mentioned, it would help to know your age and prior experience. This is usually a sport for the younger crowd (but not always, more than 20 years and counting
). Everyone provides great advice and things to think about.
References from CA in another sport doesn't necessarily make you a good fit for the racetrack. Farm work is very different from what you'll encounter at the track. It's a whole 'nuther world when you hop aboard a racer for morning workouts with 20, 100 or more other horses in the mix on an oval where speed is the directive in the afternoon (or evening).
That said, if you meet someone frontside (usually best done during racing hours) who can sign you in to get to the backside (preferably the next early morning), you might be able to convince a trainer to give you a mount. I don't know of any tracks in the US (certainly not in NYS) where licensing isn't required, so you'll need to convince someone to offer a horse for an outrider assessment. Be careful here. Best to spend some time getting to know the players before you eagerly hop aboard the crazy no one else will ride. Once you get a license, you can pick up mounts as a freelancer or look for a job with a trainer string.
There are a lot of training farms in the Saratoga area not too far from NYC. You might want to consider hooking up with a farm out there with the aim of continuing with your mounts at the track (short season so a lot of these horses then go to NYC, NJ or other NE tracks).
My introduction to the track was an interesting one. I was boarding a horse across the street from a TB stable that had a need for a rider to start winter conditioning training indoors. They came looking for help and I decided to give it a shot. It was tons of fun so I followed the horses to the track. I was amazed at how much I could get paid to ride. So, sometimes, you just get lucky.
Learned a lot of lessons the hard way. Hope you can find someone to take you under their wing so you don't have to.