Racehorse Ownership & Racing Syndicates: Questions & Answers
What does West Point Thoroughbreds do?
We assemble Thoroughbred racing partnerships comprised of a small number of people to share in ownership of a racehorse and fulfill their dreams of racing at the highest levels of the sport.
Who manages West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc.?
The Managing Partner of West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc. is Terrence P. Finley, a West Point graduate and a Boston University MSBA. He has been involved in Thoroughbred racing for over 23 years. Learn about the rest of the team in the "About Us" section.
Who buys the horses?
West Point Thoroughbreds President Terry Finley ultimately decides which horses will join the stable and signs the sales slips after personally evaluating each and every horse we acquire at a 2-year-old in training or yearling sale. Team members Jeff Lifson and Erin Finley play an integral role in horse acquisition support, as do our trainers and other advisors who are proven experts in stride, heart, and pedigree analyses.
How does West Point Thoroughbred make money?
- Sale of the horse at a reasonable markup to the LLC
- Percentage of purse earnings
- Commission on the sale of a profitable horse
- Shares in the syndication of a stallion
Does West Point Thoroughbreds offer equine management services?
Absolutely. We offer comprehensive management services for individuals interested in exclusive racehorse ownership. We handle the paperwork and all day-to-day operations, management and financials, while you receive all the benefits of being an owner.
TopMaking Your Decision
What should I look for in a partnership group?
First and foremost you should be comfortable with the Managing Partner and team that make the decisions as well as the business model. We believe it is imperative that the organization provides complete and full disclosure of financials, complies with SEC regulations, and is willing to share examples of their partnership statements with you. In addition, you should have access to the stable's record of results. Past performance is a good indicator of future success, and you want a partnership group that wins races to manage your horses.
Why should I choose West Point Thoroughbreds over another partnership?
Our track record of organic horse selection and racing along with our core principles of integrity, open and honest communications, full financial disclosure, and exemplary customer service are unrivaled in the industry. We deliver our Partners a comprehensive ownership experience. For more reasons, view the Why West Point page.
Is it better to buy a larger percentage of one horse or purchase multiple horses with a lesser percentage?
We believe that diversification represents the most sensible way to get involved in the business: spreading risk always increases your chance of success. The more horses you own, the more opportunities you have to make it to the Winner's Circle.
When are new partnerships formed?
We begin forming two-year-old partnerships in March after the first two-year-old auction, but new partnerships are formed throughout the year as we purchase new horses.
Why get in early versus waiting?
We encourage Partners to invest early in the year or soon after a new horse offering is released for a number of reasons. First, you realize the greatest economy of scale in the purchase price. The initial investment in a horse covers all training and maintenance through the end of the horse's two-year-old year. Additionally, you have more options to choose from. Certain horses immediately attract attention and they sell out quickly. As horses progress in their training, achieving key milestones like a quick first official work might trigger a flood of interest. When those events happen, unfortunately some people can be shut out of their top choices.
How many people are there in each partnership?
The number of Partners varies, but our partnerships usually have from eight to fifteen members.
What are the different types of Partners at West Point Thoroughbreds?
While West Point Thoroughbreds Partners come from all walks of life, they share one common objective: to own a world class Thoroughbred. We have a wide cross-section of Partners from retirees to young professionals, previous to first time owners, novice to expert.
Why join a racing syndicate vs. racing my own horse?
The short answer is that it will be more fun, more cost-effective and will give you far greater chance of racing success at the highest level.
What are the advantages of buying an unraced two-year-old versus a successful yearling or ready-made horse with a racing record?
Two-year-olds can be acquired for more reasonable prices than capable ready-made horses, which fetch very handsome prices in today's equine market.
Which is better to buy, a filly or a colt?
The difference between buying a filly vs. a colt is often times based on personal preference, but the most prestigious races are written for colts. As a result, the ceiling is higher for a colt. However, fillies are easier to sell after their racing career. Colts do not have any real value after their racing career unless they achieve success at the highest levels of racing whereas a filly can offer value when sold as a broodmare after racing for a more modest price.
Can I purchase a unit of a West Point Thoroughbreds horse with a group of my friends?
Groups can purchase a unit. However, the minimum purchase is 10% of a horse, and the group is treated as a single owner for communications, race day accommodations, etc. Therefore, we accommodate one representing member of the group just as we would one investor.
How long do the horses race?
Most WPTB horses campaign through their three-year-old season. Some horses will continue to campaign as four-year-olds if they continue to demonstrate a reasonable chance to be profitable or increase their residual value.
Where do your horses race?
West Point Thoroughbreds horses race mostly in New York, Kentucky, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware and Canada. During the winter, many of our horses campaign in Florida and Louisiana. We ship selected horses to any track when appropriate.
What happens after a horse is bought?
After the sale, most of our two-year-olds are shipped to a training center in Camden, SC, Ocala, FL or southern California to relax and unwind. The sales process can be very taxing on a young horse and this time for R&R tends to help them both physically and mentally. We choose their trainer and racing circuit. The horses will stay at the training center anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on how each comes out of the sale.
Are there tax advantages of joining West Point Thoroughbreds?
Yes, but there are specific rules Partners must follow in figuring their tax benefits. The Internal Revenue Service classifies investors as either "active" or "passive" participants in the partnership. "Active" participants are eligible to claim their losses against ordinary income while "Passive" participants must wait until the venture is dissolved before claiming any losses.
We urge individuals considering participating in a partnership to seek counsel of professional advisors for tax planning and strategies.
How do West Point Thoroughbreds' fees and syndication costs compare to other racing partnerships?
West Point Thoroughbreds is a high end racing partnership and our syndication costs are higher than some of the other partnership groups in the industry. The goal of our Partners is to own racehorses that will compete on the biggest stages in the racing world. To achieve that goal, we purchase athletes that have the athletic and physical characteristics to be high quality runners, and these horses command a premium price. Nearly all of our horses are purchased at public auction. We continually look for good value when purchasing horses and you will know exactly what we pay for each.
How much do West Point's Partnerships cost?
Partnership unit costs differ from horse to horse, but units typically range in price from ~$10,000 up to ~$40,000.
What does the initial cost of the partnership include?
The initial capital contribution covers the Partner's interest in the horse, all acquisition expenses, entity startup costs, equine mortality insurance, and training/maintenance costs through the end of the horse's two-year old season. The initial capital contribution does not cover expenses incurred in racing the horse.
Can a Partner leave a partnership while it is still ongoing?
A Partner wishing to sell their interest must be prepared to find his or her own buyer. West Point Thoroughbreds offers no aftermarket. Prospective Partners should be prepared to be involved for the duration of the partnership (generally one to three years).
What happens to my investment at the end of the partnership?
If the partnership dissolves due to a sale, then you would receive your pro rata share of sales proceeds after all expenses associated with the partnership have been paid. If the horse is retired after his racing career and does not have residual value as a breeding prospect, after all expenses are paid, any remaining money in the partnership’s account will be distributed based on your pro rata share.
Why are your partnerships set up as Limited Liability Companies, instead of General or Limited Partnerships?
An LLC limits the liability to the members. Only the assets of the entity are at risk, and not those of the individual.
Why are West Point Thoroughbreds' investment documents so much more involved than most other partnerships?
We believe in full, open, and honest disclosure with our investors. We seek fully informed and qualified individuals as members of our partnerships, and our documentation procedures ensure that prospects are well qualified.
Will I receive a reward for referring a friend or business associate to West Point Thoroughbreds?
Yes, Partners will receive a credit toward a future horse purchase or training bill worth five percent of the referral's first year investment amount.
Example: A Partner introduces three new investors to West Point Thoroughbreds, who during a year invest a total of $60,000 in our horses. The introducing Partner is credited with $3,000 (5 %) in his or her referral reward account at the end of the year. The credit can be applied in several ways:
- $3000 towards the purchase of a horse in the subsequent year
- $3000 towards training in the subsequent year
- Some combination of both, for example $1,500 on the first quarter training bills and $1,500 toward a horse purchase the next year
TopThe Racing Career
What happens when a horse cannot compete in allowance and/or stakes races?
Horses that are unable to compete in allowance or stake races are placed into claiming races. When a horse cannot effectively compete in those competitions, it is retired and placed in a good home. We instituted The Congie Black and Gold Fund to help care for our retired runners.
How does West Point Thoroughbreds choose its jockeys?
We allow our trainers to make all rider choices as they have the most knowledge of the horse and the best understanding of each rider's capability and style. While we don't micromanage these decisions, Managing Partner Terry Finley consults with the trainer about jockey assignments.
What is the track record of horses claimed?
We do our best to manage each horse's career to realize maximum potential. Over the years we have had many horses claimed from our stable. In most cases of claim, it was the best tactical move. However, although rare, there have been a few occasions in which a West Point Thoroughbreds horse was claimed and then went on to successfully race for another barn.
What causes a horse to run poorly?
A number of factors influence a horse's performance in any race. Sometimes the other horses simply have a better day than ours. Sometimes circumstances such as traffic or track condition kept us from a win. After each race we discuss the situation with the trainer and often times have a veterinarian evaluate the horse. We then share our findings with our Partners and make the best informed decision for moving forward.
How active can I be in the management of the horses I own?
West Point Thoroughbreds serves as the Managing Partner for all horses. We have extensive institutional knowledge about caring for and placing horses to put them in the best position to succeed. As such, we handle the day to day responsibilities of owning and campaigning a Thoroughbred.
Can I attend an auction to see how the process works?
Absolutely. We believe that the partnership experience should extend beyond race day. We welcome interested individuals to join us at the sale to share in the experience of observing the horse purchase.
What kind of interaction will I have with the trainers?
West Point Thoroughbreds' trainers all run public stables, so they have other clients. While we encourage our Partners to come out to the barn in the morning to visit their horses, we request that all visits be set up ahead of time through West Point Thoroughbreds representatives to prevent inundating the trainers.
What privileges am I entitled to if I join a West Point Thoroughbreds Partnership?
You can obtain an owner's license in all states where your horses race. Some states have a minimum ownership percentage requirement. In others West Point Thoroughbreds effectively leases the horse for the purpose of racing.
You are welcome to visit the stable area in the mornings to see your horses trained and cared for. We do ask you to schedule these visits through the West Point Thoroughbreds office to ensure safety and meet racetrack regulations.
On race day, you and your fellow partners may assemble in the paddock before the race to meet the trainer and jockey and experience the thrill of seeing your horse saddled and prepared to run.
When your horses are fortunate to reach the wire in front, Partners share the joy and exhilaration of making your way into the Winner's Circle for the victory photograph. Each Partner is furnished a copy of the win photo within several weeks.
You can find more information on Partner benefits by clicking here.
How am I kept informed on the status of my horses?
Our state of the art website is the primary vehicle for frequent horse updates, videos, and race information. Partners receive frequent email and communications from their dedicated representative as well as quarterly financial reports detailing the income and expenses of their horses. Additionally, West Point Thoroughbreds representatives and the Managing Partner are always available to answer questions or address concerns.
When will I know that my horse is running?
Generally, entries are taken 48 hours before a race is scheduled to run. Certain tracks take entries 72 hours in advance. Entries are posted on the website and Partners are sent email notification of their horse's entry.
Can I get a license, what are benefits and costs?
Yes, with the assistance of your West Point Thoroughbreds representative. The cost of an owner's license ranges from $100 to $200, depending on the racing circuit. Benefits include free admission and parking at the race track along with unrestricted access to the backstretch.
- Kentucky - $100
- California - $150 for 3 years
- New York - ~$200
What is the most expensive vet expense I can expect to incur?
Veterinary expenses vary by type. The four main categories are preventative care, maintenance and race day, detection, and surgical. The costs range from low to high in each category and your responsibility for each expense is whatever percentage you own in the horse. The most common procedures are:
- Preventative / Medication:
- Vaccines - $20-30 / shot
- Vitamin supplements - $1-10 / day
- Gastroguard - $45 / tube
- Marquis - $750 / cycle
- Adequan - $200 / month
- Lasix - $20
- Injections - $150 / joint
- Maintenance and race day
- Blacksmith - $130-170 / shoeing
- Acupuncture - $300
- Chiropractor - $200
- Pony to post - $20-25
- Scoping - $50
- X-rays - $150 / picture
- Nuclear scintigraphy - $1000
- Gelding- $200
- Llewellyn Procedure - $1700
Do you purchase disability insurance for the horses?
West Point Thoroughbreds does not carry injury insurance on our thoroughbreds. However, we do carry mortality insurance for their purchase price at auction or private sale. These policies are adjusted over time, based on performance.
What can I expect in terms of financial reporting?
All West Point Thoroughbreds Partners receive both a quarterly invoice and a full accounting of itemized partnership expenditures. If you would like to view a sample accounting statement, please contact our office.
What is West Point Thoroughbreds' philosophy of placing retired racehorses?
We believe that our retired runners deserve to live out their days with the best care possible and are committed to finding a good home for them at the end of their racing careers. We instituted the Congie Black and Gold Fund to care for our retired runners.
How can I learn more about the Thoroughbred industry?
Visit our resources page to see a comprehensive list of industry related web sites, including links to free daily email updates from industry news organizations.
How can I obtain West Point Thoroughbreds apparel?
Visit our Merchandise page. If you do not see what you are looking for, please contact Debbie Finley at our main office: 518-583-6638.