Partner Phillip Underwood and his family joined the West Point Thoroughbreds “family” last year. We sat down with Phil last week to talk about his ownership experience with West Point Thoroughbreds and how the sport of Thoroughbred racing has brought him closer to his two daughters, Katie and Emily.
Name: Phillip Underwood
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Currently residence: Marietta, Georgia
Family: Wife Kimberly and daughters Katie (11) and Emily (5)
Katie is an avid equestrian, and Emily is just getting into the sport. Phil tells us a pony has been on the girls’ Christmas list for three years now.
Career: Director - MRO Services Operations and Delta Airlines. Underwood works in Delta’s technical operations division, which provides maintenance services to over 150 airlines worldwide. Prior to joining the Delta team, he spent three years with Ernst & Young, LLP and served six years in the United States Marine Corps. Phil is a CPA and has an MBA from the University of Georgia.
Q & A
How were you introduced to racing?
My great grandfather raised draft horses in Washington and often visited Longacres, which is now Emerald Downs.
What made you invest with WPT?
I found the West Point website to be very transparent and informative. I contacted them and my first interaction with Tom Bellhouse was memorable. Being I was in the Marine Corps, I was also drawn to Terry’s military background.
How has your experience been thus far?
This experience is all about family. Being involved in a partnership has allowed me to connect with my girls on a whole new level. My daughters have grown up around horses, but they were so excited to spend time on the backside with Thoroughbreds. When we were in Saratoga this past summer, Terry and Tom Bellhouse coordinated with Rosie Napravnik’s agent so my girls could meet their favorite jockey. That was the icing on the cake for me. After meeting Rosie, my daughter Katie told me she had the best weekend of her life.
What’s your favorite racetrack?
I’ll always be partial to Emerald Downs, but I’d have to chose Saratoga. I love the ability to get up the morning and be close with the horses. I also love the camaraderie with the West Point team and my fellow Partners. We visited Saratoga for the first time last year, and have already carved off three weekends to visit in 2014. I like having diversity in my stable, so we purchased a West Coast-based horse and plan to head out to Santa Anita and Del Mar.
What are you most looking forward to in 2014?
I’m really looking forward watching our young horses develop. I’d also love to win a stakes race this year. Katie and I sat down one afternoon and studied the photos and pedigrees of the new offerings. She loves greys and picked the Birdstone filly Ring Knocker. Needless to say, we’re very excited to see her run this year as a 2-year-old.
Favorite horse of all time?
Underwood’s daughters Katie and Emily helping their dad select a new 2-year-old to add to their stable:
Emily and Katie made signs in support of Commanding Curve in the 140th Kentucky Derby. Many of our Partners become emotionally invested in all horses in the stable, not just the ones in which they have a financial interest.