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Tom Bellhouse “Tommy B” is West Point Thoroughbreds’ Executive Vice President of Service and East Coast Operations. His primary primary responsibilities are to coordinate WPT operations throughout the East, including the New York, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida Circuits. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego with a BS in Business Administration and currently resides in Saratoga Springs, NY. Prior to joining WPT as a staff member in 2008, he spent nine years in the automotive industry as a Sales Director for a division of Chrysler. He has been involved in partnerships with us since 2005.

WPT thanks Bellhouse’s wonderful parents, Tom and Marion, for only allowing him to go to the races as a child if he got straight "A"s. (Bribery at its finest!)

Q. How did you get interested in Thoroughbred Racing?
A. Through my uncle Pete, who took me to the track. Also, my grandfather, Francis Bellhouse, was a leading Steeplechase rider and trainer in the East in the 1930's, 40's & 50's.

Q. Where’s your favorite racetrack?
A. Belmont Park.

Q. Why?
A. Well, that’s where I grew up - on Long Island - so I still tend to look at everything there through the eyes of when I was a young boy. The first time I was ever in the paddock at Belmont I was trembling, like “I can’t believe I’m an owner of a horse at Belmont Park.” Probably the craziest memory was walking up the path on Belmont Stakes day with Macho Again into the paddock and not being able to contain the emotion; it was overwhelming. Belmont’s paddock is spectacular, but for me it’s more history than anything.

Q. So your favorite racing event would be...
A. The Belmont Stakes or opening day at Saratoga.

Q. A little favoritism for the NYRA tracks?
A. Definitely. I’m a New York guy. The other tracks I enjoy and follow are Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park.

Q. Anywhere else you like to go?
A. Well, the best racetrack food is definitely found at Fair Grounds; their gumbo is amazing. The shoeshine guy in the airport told me that. I told him I was in town for the races and he said, “Be sure to have some of the gumbo, it’s the best thing you’ll ever eat.” I tasted it and I was like, “Oh my God, it is!”

Q. Can you share a few “inside angles” into handicapping at Belmont?
A. Ironically, I don’t think I handicap Belmont very well, which is very frustrating. There are virtually no two-turn races on dirt so I struggle a lot with Belmont dirt races, but I love the grass, and grass handicapping in general. I’m a huge pedigree grass player - my favorite race to bet at Belmont would probably be a maiden special weight on the grass.

Q. Tell us about the horses you’ve owned in partnership with WPT
A. The first horse I ever owned with West Point was Bid for Silver - a claimer, but a hard-knocking one. Rick Violette trained her, she won three in a row at one point in 2005.
I didn’t own Lear’s Priness, but all my friends did, so I got to go along for that ride. The other horse that comes to mind, probably my favorite WPT horse I’ve ever been affiliated with, was Justwhistledixie (see photo above). She was such an unbelievably kind animal, and whenever I’d take Partners on barn tours, I’d take them to visit her because I knew she would come up to me and nuzzle and pose for pictures. Then she became a star. And, of course, there’s my namesake, Bellhouse...

Q. Who are your favorite current WPT runners?
A. Cinco de Mayo Mio and King Congie.

Q. What’s your philosophy on owning race horses?
A. You shouldn’t get into the game for anything other than fun.

Q. What’s the best part about being involved with WPT?
A. I wear two hats because I was a WPT Partner and eventually became an employee. To me, the camaraderie and friendships I’ve made are a huge plus. The customer service part of the job is very important to me. And everything you do becomes worthwhile when you have a horse just really run well - you feel so good. I was on cloud nine after Half Nelson ran second the other day. It was just a great day to see a horse improve and run well.

Q. What keeps you going through the ups and downs of racing?
A. You really have to love the animal and love the game. Most people say “I love to play golf,” well, there’s nothing I love more in life than going to the racetrack.

Q. Finish this sentence. The greatest racehorse of all time was...
A. Secretariat.

Q. Anything else you’d like to tell the folks?
A. Whenever you’re putting together a pick four ticket, don’t hesitate to call!
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Anonymous
Feb 2 2012 - 4:58pm
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1 pm on January 24, 2012
Tom Bellhouse “Tommy B” is West Point Thoroughbreds’ Executive Vice President of Service and East Coast Operations. His primary primary responsibilities are to coordinate WPT operations throughout the East, including the New York, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida Circuits. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego with a BS in Business Administration and currently resides in Saratoga Springs, NY. Prior to joining WPT as a staff member in 2008, he spent nine years in the automotive industry as a Sales Director for a division of Chrysler. He has been involved in partnerships with us since 2005.
EFinley
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A Few Minutes With WPT's Tommy Bellhouse
Eclipse Awards Thoughts
I attended the Eclipse Awards earlier this week - a nice event that brings everybody together to celebrate the achievements of the previous year. Our business is about accomplishing things and winning so it’s a great night to take a step back and recognize what everyone has done. It’s a night for winners.

West Point has connections to several of this year’s winners and nominees. We’ve had horses with Bill Mott, who won outstanding trainer, and Todd Pletcher, who was nominated in that category as well. We were pleased to see our good friend Claire Novak pick up her first media Eclipse Award, and we had another friend, Bob Mayberger, who won the award for outstanding photograph of the year.


Out of all the acceptance speeches that evening, I thought Ramon Dominguez did a really great job when he won outstanding jockey for the second year in a row. He’s such a thoughtful guy, a consummate professional who conducts himself the right way. He says the right things and knows what’s important in life. He’s won a lot of races for us and he always treats the Partners the right way. He’s a guy you’re really proud to be associated with and do business with.   


 

Dogwood Stables founder Cot Campbell, of course, was one of the main reasons I went out and started a partnership. We were in full support of him getting an Eclipse Award of Merit and we’re very glad he got one this year. On behalf of all the partnerships in the country, thank God Cot came up with the idea in the early ‘60s. He’s been a tough competitor, but always classy.

I remember a funny story from when I first started WPT. I called Cot, and I think he thought I might have been a potential investor. I told him I was starting a partnership, getting out of the army. His tone changed a little bit, but he was still cordial. I said, “I’m going down for the Keeneland sale and I’d love to get together for lunch.” He said, “We’ll have a short conversation there, Mr. Finley, but we won’t have lunch.” I’m happy to say we’ve become better-acquainted since then.

I think one of things coming out of the Awards - I was thinking about it all night Monday - is that it’s guaranteed when we gather at Gulfstream Park in early 2013, we’ll look back and say “Man, that was not what I expected” about a category or two. There are horses right now running in allowance conditions that could jump up and be the 2012 Horse of the Year. I always say to myself, “What’s going to happen a year from now? Who will accept these awards for horses that kick ass in 2012?”

Onward to South Africa

Kip Elser has been making the trek to South Africa for quite a few years, and has good connections over there in relation to Thoroughbred racing and sales. Together we’re headed to the 2012 Cape Premier Yearling Sale in Cape Town. Click here to take a look at their catalogue.

On the sales company website, they also have information on interesting places of interest and events in Cape Town. Click here to view.  I’m really looking forward to checking some of these places out.

Here at WPT, we continue to look to expand our horizons, looking for horses internationally rather than focusing solely on the North American breed. Since we made two purchases in Dubai in 2002 (one of which was the multiple graded stakes winner and sire Seattle Fitz), we’ve been to Ireland and Hong Kong, and we’re actively looking at horses in Argentina as well. I’m going to this sale in South Africa on Sunday, and within the next 12-18 months we’ll be in Australia as well. I wouldn't be surprised if we pick up a horse or two to campaign over there. Who knows, maybe it'll be the type of horse can bring to the States at some point.

We know we have to find sounder horses, and that’s part of the reason we’re going overseas. The stats are undeniable - we don’t produce as sound of a horse in North America as we did 30 years ago, no matter what people say.  WPT had a sub-par year in 2011 keeping our horses sound, and obviously that affects a lot of things - our win percentage for one, but more importantly, how Partners look at our company and our industry as a whole.

I think it’s very important to try to do some things to get sounder horses running under the black and gold. We’re not going to sit in New Jersey (and everywhere else we run) and hope that the breeding industry eventually produces sounder horses. We’re going to lean forward in the foxhole and do our own thing.

I’ll be blogging from South Africa, so we sure to check back. I arrive on Sunday, January 22nd.

Have a great week.

Terry  

 

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MPapa
Jan 23 2012 - 2:34pm
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6 pm on January 20, 2012
Eclipse Awards Thoughts
I attended the Eclipse Awards earlier this week - a nice event that brings everybody together to celebrate the achievements of the previous year. Our business is about accomplishing things and winning so it’s a great night to take a step back and recognize what everyone has done. It’s a night for winners.

West Point has connections to several of this year’s winners and nominees. We’ve had horses with Bill Mott, who won outstanding trainer, and Todd Pletcher, who was nominated in that category as well. We were pleased to see our good friend Claire Novak pick up her first media Eclipse Award, and we had another friend, Bob Mayberger, who won the award for outstanding photograph of the year.
tfinley
tfinley's picture
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Blog
Terry's Thoughts on Eclipse Awards and Upcoming Trip to South Africa

Whether you’re a current Partner or thinking about owning a Thoroughbred racehorse in a partnership, you’ve probably asked yourself a few questions like: How are decisions made regarding my horse? How are trainers chosen? What goes into race selection?

Check out this introduction to a series of video blog posts about managing racehorses and the role of the racing manager. We'll publish these in the coming months to address questions my team and I are asked by our Partners and prospective clients. We’ll also address things that are not often asked, but will give insight about different components of racing management.


Below the video are five main responsibilities of a typical racing manager and team of professionals summed up in less than a thousand words. Hope you enjoy the series.

 

 



Five Important Responsibilities of a Racing Manager

1. Trainer Selection

  • The racing manager places horses with trainers to give them the best chance at excelling once their racing careers begin. WPT employs accomplished horsemen with honesty and integrity to help us achieve our goals.
  • Every trainer has strengths and weaknesses. Some are more conservative than others. Others are great with turf horses. Some are most successful with sprinters. A racing manager’s years of institutional knowledge helps them analyze each horse as an individual and place them with the best possible conditioner.
  • Things a racing manager takes into consideration before assigning trainers include a horse’s pedigree, body type, precocity, which circuit and surface(s) they’re best suited for, etc.
  • For example, I purchased two Irish-bred yearlings this fall from the Goff’s Sale in Ireland. These are horses with incredible turf influence in their pedigrees, and both are headed to trainer H. Graham Motion - one of the leading trainers of grass horses in the world. He’s done particularly well with European turf contenders, which makes him a natural fit for these runners.
  • At West Point, our entire staff meets to make these very important assignments. With some horses it’s a no-brainer. With others it takes a good deal of analysis and discussion to come up with the right fit.

2.  Assessment of Talent
  • Sometimes it’s clear early on how talented a horse is. For others, their development into a top-class racehorse can take several months, or even years. A racing manager treats each horse as an individual and makes decisions to bring the horse along at its own pace.
  • Racing managers communicate with every trainer several times a week to assess the progress of each and every horse. They also travel to various venues throughout the year to watch our horses train and to ask questions like “Is this the best place for this horse to be?” and “Are we putting him in the best position to achieve success?”
  • A good racing manager is always looking to improve horses, giving them the best chance to find the winner’s circle. That could mean changing surfaces, venues, trainers, level of competition, etc. Sometimes it means changing nothing and giving a horse time to develop and mature.
  • A big part of assessing talent is knowing your horse. I’ll dive deeper into this subject when discussing the topic of “What the Individual Horse Tells Us” in the video blog series.

3. Putting Horses in Positions to Win
  • Trainers are the people with the horses day in and day out, but they don’t call all the shots on their own. A good racing manager believes in a team approach, and works with the racing management team to make the best decisions for each runner.
  • Responsible racing managers largely consider input from trainers, but they also rely on industry experts, data, and industry trends. They consider the pedigree, body type, attitude, and long term goal for each horse when making decisions.
  • Most horses, managed and spotted wisely, can progress to very successful careers. Sometimes horses have to run for a claiming tag; that’s part of the game. Sometimes you take shots in stakes races and that leads to even greater success and glory. A racing manager’s institutional knowledge helps with these decisions.
  • Developing horses can be a patience tester. Some of the best runners don’t even start competing until their 3- or 4-year-old years, but go on to achieve high levels of success on the racetrack.

4. Analyzing Trends
  • There’s a plethora of data available to assist in racehorse management - another one of the variety of factors that play into a racing manager’s race selection and management.
  • WPT utilizes Ragozin numbers to help us notice trends during a horse’s career. These numbers are also a very beneficial tool to use when considering competition and determining surface preferences. We consult with a Ragozin Sheets expert to supplement our race placement analysis and performance assessments.
  • Many racing managers also look at Beyer Figures when formulating race plans, to see how their runners stack up against the competition.  
  • Racing managers also look at pedigree trends when spotting (deciding where to place) horses. You’ll often see a young sire jump up and have a number of horses excel at two-turn distances. A good racing manager is trained to recognize these types of trends and apply them in decision making.
  • Jockey selection can be a hot topic of discussion. Even with good horses, you’re not always going to secure the same jock race in and race out. It’s a dynamic process, with agents and trainers heavily involved. Sometimes you find somebody (not always a household name) who clicks with a horse. Again, it’s all about knowing the horse. Some horses are bush button to ride. Others only succeed with certain pilots.

5. Maintaining Good Communication
  • A good racing manager is committed to representing owners and managing the horses as if they were his/her own.
  • Racing managers should not be afraid to ask tough questions when they talk to trainers and industry associates. Sometimes you don’t always hear what you’d like, but open, honest communication is imperative. In turn, racing managers should keep owners abreast of situations for better or for worse in a timely manner.
  • Without trust, you have nothing. A good racing manager trusts each and every trainer on the team to do the best job they possibly can to care for the runners and develop them into top-notch racehorses.

Leave us feedback! Let us know what’s on your mind and what you’d like to hear about.

We hope you enjoy this blog series, and be sure to check back frequently for the most recent video posts or sign up for the RSS feed with your email address at the botton of our main Track Talk page or you can subscribe directly here at feedburner.
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Nancy Reagan (not verified)
Jan 20 2012 - 7:14pm
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3 pm on January 18, 2012

Whether you’re a current Partner or thinking about owning a Thoroughbred racehorse in a partnership, you’ve probably asked yourself a few questions like: How are decisions made regarding my horse? How are trainers chosen? What goes into race selection?

Check out this introduction to a series of video blog posts about managing racehorses and the role of the racing manager. We'll publish these in the coming months to address questions my team and I are asked by our Partners and prospective clients. We’ll also address things that are not often asked, but will give insight about different components of racing management.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43
Blog
The Role of the Racing Manager in a Thoroughbred Partnership

Back in March of 2011, I wrote an article discussing why a horse would drop into the claiming ranks (and that there is no shame in running your horse in a claimer). With the recent rise in purses at New York tracks and the subsequent renewed interest in acquiring horses via the claim box (coupled with the claim of my beloved namesake “Bellhouse” as well as quite a few other West Point Thoroughbreds favorites over 2011), I thought it was the perfect time to expand upon our original discussion.

When discussing partnership opportunities with prospects and clients, I’m often asked why West Point Thoroughbreds is not more involved in acquiring horses via the claim box - and why we don’t offer claiming partnerships. After all, claiming events make up well over 70% of all races, claimers tend to run more frequently, and in most cases they cost a lot less than horses purchased at the sales. In addition, with the new purse structures at New York and Pennsylvania tracks, low-level claimers are running for purses that sometimes pay three times the claiming tag.


The easiest answer is that there is a big difference between competing in a claiming race and buying out of a claiming race. It takes a special type of person to delve into the “claiming game.” More specifically, you have to have the stomach for it.  Claiming a horse out of a race is one of the all time greatest examples of  “Caveat Emptor” or “Buyer Beware” in existence. You don’t get the opportunity to perform a comprehensive medical exam or “vet out” a potential claim before a race. The best you can do is a visual observation through the keen eye of a trainer or advisor from the paddock rail.  

When claiming a horse you have to be part riverboat gambler and part mind reader, figuring out why someone is dropping a horse in for the tag (do they want to lose the horse, or are they just trying to steal a purse?). A claiming owner has to be thick-skinned and willing to admit he will make the (hopefully only) occasional “bad claim.”

There certainly is more than meets the eye with respect to acquiring horses in the claiming ranks. I talked to an active claiming owner on the Mid-Atlantic circuit who shared the way he positions himself for the ultimate success - which, for him, is to win a race with the horse then have it get claimed.

- Look for horses with running styles that fit a particular track

- Watching races is paramount

- Analysis of PP’s is good, but visual evaluation of the athlete is best

- Re-claim angle: positive sign is when a trainer reclaims the same horse for a different owner

- Devise a plan for where you’re going next with the candidate before you claim it

- Last thing you want to do is run a horse where he can’t win (even more important in claimers)

- Ask “How quickly can we win a race with this horse?”

- Assume every horse you claim has issues

- Assume the horse has a “short shelf life” or limited campaign potential

- An idle claiming horse is not an optimal scenario.

- When a bad claim is made, meaning there is no opportunity to run the horse at a higher claiming level, you’ll eat the training cost for at least 30 days or more before the horse can run back at the same level or lower. For 30 days following a claim, you’re in “jail,” a term which means you’re required to run in a race with a claiming tag exceeding the previous claiming price by 25%, or in a non-claiming race (starter, allowance, or stakes)
 
- Need a contingency plan for retiring a horse who can no longer compete

If those considerations mentioned by an experienced claiming owner are not daunting enough, here’s another reason racing partnerships steer clear: sometimes you find out there’s something wrong and you have to retire the horse you’ve claimed right away. Very rarely can clients handle paying their money one day and 1-30 days later losing their entire investment. For every one or two claiming acquisition successes, you could have multiple bad experiences. The managers of a partnership know they’re likely to have more successes buying young horses before they begin racing or through private purchases after a horse demonstrates ability, because they can fully vet a horse.

Click here to take a look back at that piece from March of 2011, which explains in more detail why a horse might be running at the claiming level.
 
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Nancy Reagan (not verified)
Jan 12 2012 - 11:25pm
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8 pm on January 12, 2012

Back in March of 2011, I wrote an article discussing why a horse would drop into the claiming ranks (and that there is no shame in running your horse in a claimer). With the recent rise in purses at New York tracks and the subsequent renewed interest in acquiring horses via the claim box (coupled with the claim of my beloved namesake “Bellhouse” as well as quite a few other West Point Thoroughbreds favorites over 2011), I thought it was the perfect time to expand upon our original discussion.

TBellhouse
TBellhouse's picture
72
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Why Some Racing Syndicates Don’t Offer Claiming Partnerships
I’m getting the New Year off to a great start here in New Jersey, buckling back down to work after both kids were home for the holidays. The first week of 2012 offers a chance to think about how to make this year better than the last one, and you can actually pick up some great tips when you weed through all the motivational and inspirational writing out there.
I like this blog from Marcus Sheridan, and I’m going to share my favorite numbers from his “20 Life-Changing Habits That Will Make 2012 Your Best Year Ever.” You can check out the rest on your own, but here are a few I really liked.

1. Stop Thinking you can do this alone
That’s right, you can’t. We all have weakness, and we all need others to reach our full potential. Behind every great man and woman there are multiple pillars of support in the shadows. Since the very beginning of time, man was not meant to be alone, and this principle has not changed whatsoever these many, many years.

9. Stop Trying to Be Everything to Everybody
In business and in life, the quickest way to unhappiness and frustration is by trying to be everything to everybody. Accept the fact that you’re just not a good fit with certain people. Accept the reality that your business wasn’t meant to do certain things. Just be good at being you. Embrace who and what that is, and run with it without looking back.

18. Stop Texting and Driving
I’ll be honest in saying I used to have this problem, but I got tired of seeing and hearing about people dying due to distracted driving. Today, I drive with my phone on silent and despite the fact that I don’t answer my messages in real-time, life still finds a way manage OK.

19. Stop Consuming So Much Information without Doing Anything
Seriously, do you really think that next eBook for $27.99 is going to tell you way more than you already know? It amazes me how many people would rather ‘consume’ all day than actually apply the teachings they’ve been reading and hearing again and again and again. The fact is most of us don’t need any more information, we just need to actually do something.

20. Stop Waiting to Tell Those You Most Care About How Much You Love Them
I’m serious about this one. Many of you know what I’m talking about because you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one. One of the greatest moments of my life was when I wrote my grandfather a very long letter, expressing my deepest personal feelings and sentiments, shortly before he died a few years ago. I cannot imagine the regret I would have had I not listened to the prompting I received and written him that letter.

Good ideas that hit home. Take some time to read the rest of them.

Happy New Year!
Terry
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albert pumila (not verified)
Jan 4 2012 - 6:34pm
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4 pm on January 03, 2012
I’m getting the New Year off to a great start here in New Jersey, buckling back down to work after both kids were home for the holidays. The first week of 2012 offers a chance to think about how to make this year better than the last one, and you can actually pick up some great tips when you weed through all the motivational and inspirational writing out there.
tfinley
tfinley's picture
43
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A New Years Blog That Struck Me
Watched War Horse with Debbie the other night. Can neither confirm nor deny the rumor, but might have gotten a little emotional at parts.

A lot of buzz led up to this movie’s release, and with good reason.  It really gives you an appreciation of the magnificence and beauty of the horse. The story explores a bond that develops between a Thoroughbred and the young boy who understands how to connect with him.
 
As the horse changes hands throughout the movie, we come to understand how these animals, in spite of their overwhelming strength and ability, trust humans with their lives and deliver courage, determination, and loyalty.

As LA Times movie critic Betsey Sharkey wrote, “The incredible emotive power of this horse and the way in which the filmmakers were able to translate it on-screen are what stay with you.”

I won’t give away the ending, but let’s just say that the bond the boy shares with his horse is a lasting one.  
 
This movie isn’t for everyone - the war scenes are sad, troubling, and very realistic. But if you can make it through a reenactment of history that actually happened, I bet you’ll come away as I did - with an even firmer belief that those of us in racing must do everything we can to assure the well-being of the Thoroughbreds that run under our silks every day, just as every responsible horse owner should commit to preserving the care of every equine they breed or buy.

The best thing about horse people is that we love these animals across the board, no matter what the discipline. Even though this movie isn’t about racing, it shows us what horses will do for humans - things completely foreign and against their nature - and in exchange, we owe them the best possible care and love.     

There are some great links out there right now because of this movie, and I’d like to share them with you.

First of all, the rest of Betsey Sharkey’s great review at the Los Angeles Times

Here’s a nice article from Thoroughbred Times about Finders Key, a retired racehorse who stars in the movie.

View this link to read the story of a real war horse - Sgt. Reckless of the 5th Marines

Finally, here’s a pro-horse flyer with a great quote from director Steven Spielburg

I hope you get a chance to see the movie, and I’d love to hear what you thought about it.
 
Regards,
Terry
 

War Horse video trailer: 
 

 

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tfinley
Feb 27 2012 - 11:59am
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12 pm on December 29, 2011
Watched War Horse with Debbie the other night. Can neither confirm nor deny the rumor, but might have gotten a little emotional at parts.

A lot of buzz led up to this movie’s release, and with good reason.  It really gives you an appreciation of the magnificence and beauty of the horse. The story explores a bond that develops between a Thoroughbred and the young boy who understands how to connect with him.
tfinley
tfinley's picture
43
Blog
War Horse: The Incredible Bond Between Man and Horse

The New York-bred program is positioning itself as arguably the best state-bred racing program in the industry today. Racing on the New York Racing Association’s circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga) has been reinvigorated by the income received from the newly-opened VLT casino at Aqueduct. Breeders are sending better and better mares to the Empire State. Promising young stallions like Here Comes Ben and Justenuffhumor are heading to farms there at just the right time.

West Point Thoroughbreds’ New York circuit racing partnerships have excelled with NY-breds over the years with horses like Mr. Fantasy and Rereadthefootnotes donning the black and gold. We expect to have a few members of our 2-year-old class of 2012 hailing from New York. Below are three reasons why racing a New York-bred racehorse could be advantageous to Thoroughbred owners in New York racing syndicates:

1. Purse Hikes Looming
Purses at New York Racing Association tracks are projected to grow from the current $103 million a year to over $140 million. Based on projections, the New York Thoroughbred breeding fund could be valued at $10 million by 2014. It’s a great time to compete on the NYRA circuit.

2. Restricted Races
With a good NY-bred in the barn, you’ve got a shot to be a big fish in a small pond when running in races restricted to horses bred in the state. Less than 800 of over 23,000 live foals of 2011 were NY-breds.

3. Did We Mention Purses?
Beginning January 1st, NY-bred maiden special weights and allowances have purses upwards of $50,000. State-bred restricted stakes carry purses of $75,000. If a NY-bred competes and excels against open company, they’re eligible for lucrative bonuses. A state-bred in an open maiden special weight runs for a purse over $71,000. A state-bred in an open first level allowance race runs for over $80,000. Good stuff, eh? 

 

NY-bred Mr. Fantasy winning the 2009 Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct:

 

NY-bred Rereadthefootnotes winning the 2010 Hollie Hughes Stakes:

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MAsinari
Dec 28 2011 - 6:48am
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10 pm on December 27, 2011

The New York-bred program is positioning itself as arguably the best state-bred racing program in the industry today. Racing on the New York Racing Association’s circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga) has been reinvigorated by the income received from the newly-opened VLT casino at Aqueduct. Breeders are sending better and better mares to the Empire State. Promising young stallions like Here Comes Ben and Justenuffhumor are heading to farms there at just the right time.

EFinley
EFinley's picture
3618
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Three Reasons to Own a New York Bred Racehorse in 2012 with a Racing Partnership
I wanted to share with you some industry websites that I enjoy looking at on a regular basis.  Here are a few favorites - from trade publications to individual voices. Leave some suggestions for me if you don’t mind. I love to read about our industry and would love to hear your thoughts.

Trades
Daily Racing Form - Known as the “Bible” of thoroughbred racing. Handicappers at the track won’t be caught dead without The Form. From breaking news to workout reports, this website has it all.

The Blood-Horse Magazine - Print magazine comes out weekly with features, race recaps, commentary, and news. Online, find video replays, blogs, and other exclusive content.  

Equidaily - Aggregates headlines and links on racing from around the world. Refreshed on a regular basis.
 
Paulick Report- Ray is a great writer and I read articles on this site regularly. I like his "Best of the Blogs" area.
 
Thoroughbred Daily News- Always like to take a look at the "Rising Stars". Provides a global look at racing and is an easy read. They often have cool interviews in their editions as well.
 
Industry Figures
Trainer Graham Motion

Trainer Todd Pletcher

Jockey Ramon Dominguez

Jockey Julien Leparoux

Individual Voices/Blogs
Barbara Livingston’s photo blog - An Eclipse Award winner, Livingston shares images and poignant descriptions with her fans. I could spend all day looking at her photos.

Hangin’ with Haskin - veteran turf writer Steve Haskin offers thoughts on current and historic moments in thoroughbred racing.

Brooklyn Backstretch - Teresa Genaro reports on New York issues and racing nation-wide.

Morning Line - John Pricci of horseraceinsider.com opines on the racing world.

Steven Crist - DRF publisher’s blog is handicapping-centric with years of experience.

Bill Finley - over at the ESPN.com horse racing page, Finley keeps it real with opinionated columns.  
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tfinley
Dec 14 2011 - 4:33pm
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/news-and-blog/blog/2011/12/14/some-industry-sites-i-think-youll-enjoy
4 pm on December 14, 2011
I wanted to share with you some industry websites that I enjoy looking at on a regular basis.  Here are a few favorites - from trade publications to individual voices. Leave some suggestions for me if you don’t mind. I love to read about our industry and would love to hear your thoughts.
tfinley
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Some Industry Sites I Think You'll Enjoy

I was down in Camden, South Carolina last weekend to see the babies and a few older horses at Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables. Such a neat, neat town and training center. Camden is centered around horses. The landscape is awesome and you can tell the horses think they’re in heaven. We had a group of Partners down as well, and I think they really enjoyed themselves. It was a bit nippy on Saturday morning, but the horses couldn’t have looked better, and we shared many laughs.

Kirkwood is situated on the historic Springdale Racecourse, a 600-acre plot of land donated to the state by the late Marion DuPont Scott in 1983. Mrs. Scott donated the land with caveat that the land solely be used for equine activities. The grounds are extremely well maintained, and it’s a relaxed, open environment for horses that’s different from traditional training centers. The horses have the ability to train on different surfaces and exercise through the woods and on the hills. Springdale is home to two of the most important steeplechases in the country, Carolina Cup (see the 2010 replay below) in the spring and Colonial Cup in the fall. Thousands of people flock there to see this historic event. Many top racehorses have hailed from Camden including the legendary Ruffian. Horses like Winter Memories, Plum Pretty, Alphabet Soup, Smoke Glacken, etc. have hailed from Kirkwood.

 



Speaking of history, there’s plenty else to do in Camden. There’s a Revolutionary War site, Steeplechase Museum, quaint downtown shopping and great restaurants. Last weekend was the first time we’ve brought our Partners down there, and my inbox is still being populated with comments about how fun it was for people to visit.

Every year we showcase our new racing class to our Partners at our training center. It’s always a social experience and everyone can just feel the anticipation building as the horses parade by and we discuss each athlete. Everyone is thinking the same thing, “could this horse be THE one?"

Our 2012 two-year-old showcase is on the calender for Saturday April 14th-Sunday, April 15th. I couldn’t be more impressed with our yearlings and the progress they have already made this year. WPT has had great luck at the two-year-old sales, and I feel confident we’ll have a number of top prospects join the stable this spring after the March 2-year-olds in training sales. West Point Partners can contact Shannon at [email protected] for more information or to RSVP. See you there.

Below is a video playlist of all the yearlings under our management training at Kirkwood. Click here to visit our YouTube channel to see all of our videos. I think you’ll really enjoy watching them progress over the next few months.

 

Terry 

 

 

 

 

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tfinley
Dec 9 2011 - 4:46pm
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87733
/news-and-blog/blog/2011/12/09/the-jersey-boy-heads-southmy-trip-to-camden-sc
4 pm on December 09, 2011

I was down in Camden, South Carolina last weekend to see the babies and a few older horses at Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables. Such a neat, neat town and training center. Camden is centered around horses. The landscape is awesome and you can tell the horses think they’re in heaven. We had a group of Partners down as well, and I think they really enjoyed themselves. It was a bit nippy on Saturday morning, but the horses couldn’t have looked better, and we shared many laughs.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
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Blog
The Jersey Boy Heads South...My Trip to Camden, SC

When prospective clients talk to me about investing in a racehorse, they always want to know how much it costs.

Be prepared to spend about $10,000 to get started with a reputable outfit. In the case of West Point Thoroughbreds, that typically equates to 5% position in one horse. On average, a new client will spend around $20,000 to $25,000 with us in the first year. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and dig a bit deeper into syndicate pricing and how it works.

 
There are critical questions that you, the consumer, should ask of all public partnerships as you conduct your diligence. Here’s the first one: what is included in the investment price?

Some partnerships only include the price of the horse when you buy; other expenses like training fees and vet bills are extra costs. Others like WPT include training and maintenance fees, pre-sale veterinarian and physical assessment consulting, vanning as well as insurance coverage until the end of the horse’s 2-year-old season.

This is critical information as it will help you understand how to compare the offering prices of partnership groups.

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The next piece of critical information that you need to know is: how much profit am I paying the manager?

Yes, we all want the most for our money, but to my knowledge, all public stables are for-profit companies. At West Point we believe in full transparency in pricing, which is why we buy our horses at public auctions. You can see what price we started with by looking at the auction websites of sales companies like Fasig-Tipton, OBS, Barretts, and Keeneland.

Add in:

· five percent commission for the buyer
· six percent sales tax (amount could vary based on state)
· legal fees (we estimate $4,000.00)
· training and maintenance fees which run through the horse’s 2-year old season
· mortality insurance (generally 4.5% of auction value)

If you take our syndication price and subtract all of the costs listed above, you will arrive at our projected gross profit margin. Feel free to challenge our team on why we are worth it! Other stables may not be as transparent, but you should ask the manager enough questions to understand how much money they are making off of your investment. Be very weary of those that avoid these types of questions!

One more related point when it comes to the profit paid to the manager. Over the years, I’ve read articles and I’ve seen advertisements for many public partnerships which claim there are “no fees” and/or “no markups.” The funny thing is, I have yet to see a syndicate group survive for more than a year or two that promotes such a structure. The bottom line is, you as the consumer want to be comfortable that the group you invest with will be in business a year from now. There is an old expression that is very fitting here, “you get what you pay for.”


 
The last key question to ask when it comes to pricing is: what are my ongoing costs and what do they consist of?

This is critical to know up front as you will likely be asked to sign a contact when you invest which may require you to contribute additional capital. A thoroughbred racing at top-level racetrack can cost over $60,000 a year to maintain. At West Point, we tell prospective clients to plan, on the high end, $60,000 times their ownership percentage, billed quarterly. So that would be $1,500 a quarter if you own 10%, assuming your horse isn't earning purse money to offset expenses. On the low end, if your horse is earning checks and paying its way, the owner may not have any capital calls. We don’t mark-up expenses, but do charge a $300 a month administrative fee per horse and receive a percentage of purse earnings, sales proceeds and shares if a stallion is syndicated. Here's a one page resource to help outline the "All-In" costs.

Once you understand how much the total expected out-of-pocket expenses will be for the life of the partnership, you will be in a position to adequately compare and contrast all of the different syndicates that are out there. I think you’ll find that WPT is the most transparent and easiest to work with, but I’m clearly biased.
 
 
(And just an editorial note here for anyone wondering about the date of the blog. This blog is reviewed annually and any pricing updates are amended to keep them "evergreen" even though the original post was composed years ago. If we change the date which is built into the article web address, we lose some search engine optimization mojo, and less people will be able to find this helpful post when searching online. Last refresh was July 2018.)

Good luck with your search and I hope to speak with you about ownership one day.
 

2
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DLenert
May 15 2012 - 4:24pm
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/news-and-blog/blog/2011/12/05/how-much-does-it-cost-to-own-a-racehorse-with-a-thoroughbred-partnership
12 pm on December 05, 2011

When prospective clients talk to me about investing in a racehorse, they always want to know how much it costs.

Be prepared to spend about $10,000 to get started with a reputable outfit. In the case of West Point Thoroughbreds, that typically equates to 5% position in one horse. On average, a new client will spend around $20,000 to $25,000 with us in the first year. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and dig a bit deeper into syndicate pricing and how it works.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43
Blog
How Much Does It Cost to Own A Racehorse With A Thoroughbred Partnership?

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