Family – Married my high school sweetheart, Debbie, six months after graduating from West Point (we were not allowed to be married while cadets; one of my classmates got married during our junior year in Vegas in the little white chapel on the strip and came back to West Point for a few days – to complete his OUTPROCESSING).
Have two kids. Daughter Erin is an accomplished equestrian and the Racing Manager for West Point Thoroughbreds. Her son, our grandson Blake, is a toddler who already knows his way around a winner’s circle. Son Ryan graduated from Notre Dame and was a first-team All-American for the Irish soccer team and the ninth overall pick in the 2013 Major League Soccer draft. Ryan played professional soccer for five years, worked on Wall Street, and now attends the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
My siblings include four brothers and two sisters. None of them are really into racing that much. My dad was a high school chemistry teacher and a racing nut. My mom raised seven kids….
Education – BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Point (1986) MSBA from Boston University (1990). Served as an Artillery officer in the Army for eight years. One three year tour of duty in the 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany. Graduated from Airborne and Ranger School in 1987. Left the Army in 1994 with the rank of Captain. Completed Harvard Business School Owner/President Management program (2014).
It was a great experience both at West Point and in the Army. It’s a privilege to wear the uniform of the United States of America, and remain very proud of that. Sounds corny, but it’s very true!
Interesting facts about college – Graduated much closer to the bottom of the class than to the top but was not the goat (the bottom person). One good thing about being the goat of your class at West Point – during the graduation ceremony, a paper bag is passed around and every member of the class puts at least a dollar in the bag – all given to the goat. The goat also gets a standing ovation from his classmates.
Every year for the last 14 years about 15 of my classmates go to Vegas for a weekend in late February/early March to tell lies about our weight and our final GPA at school.
Favorite Movie and Book – Love The Shawshank Redemption. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman is my favorite book.
Things I like about working at West Point Thoroughbreds – Seeing people derive fun and excitement over owning horses is tremendously gratifying to me. Standing in the winner’s circle with Partners – you can’t beat it.
Love the people on the WPT team. We are always trying to figure how to service our clients better and help win more races. Love that we have a score sheet in our business – it’s called the finish line. Either you get there first or you lose. Enough said.
It’s incredibly cool to honestly know I’m more passionate the company and the racing industry than ever. How many people can say that?
Interests – Have grown to really love soccer. It’s a beautiful game. Also, like to workout, read and love spending time in New York City. I’ve developed a keen interest in technology and how it can help companies and individuals become more efficient and competitive. Heard a good one the other day “Five years from now, the only two things that will make us different are the people we’ve interacted with and the things we’ve read.” Very compelling thought.
Other Endeavors – Elected to the Jockey Club in 2019. Serve as Chairman of the New York Race Track Chaplaincy. Serve on the boards of the Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Belmont Child Care Association, and the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, which provides scholarships to children of our nation’s fallen military members.
A few facts about me some might not know – Have stuttered for as long as I can remember. It doesn’t bother me as much as it once did. As Popeye said, “I am who I am and that’s all that I am.” One of my bucket list items is to run a marathon. Quit drinking alcohol cold turkey the day after the Breeders’ Cup in 2006 (a great decision).
Terry and I met in high school and a lot of our dates started out with a trip to the racetrack, whether it be Philadelphia Park, Garden State or Liberty Bell. We both had a passion for horse racing early on.
We got married after Terry’s graduation from West Point and lived in Schweinfurt, Germany, but never had a chance to attend the races there. Terry traveled quite a bit and I would load my daughter Erin into the car and we would drive down the autobahn all over the country visiting different cities. It was wonderful to see Erin speaking German at an early age when Terry and I seemed to struggle with it a bit.
Needless to say, we missed horse racing very much! We said, “As soon we get back to the states, we want to purchase a racehorse!” And that we did – our first horse was Sun Belt who resided at Philadelphia Park and was trained by David Stubley.
Terry was traveling during Sun Belt’s first start under our colors in a $5,000 claiming race. I went to the track with my 3-year-old daughter and with another child on the way to give Terry the “play by play” on the phone – and was shocked to see our first horse win first time out in our colors.
As the ownership experience went on we realized we were not going to win them all! So, a few friends and ourselves bought some horses together. Terry and I never intended to start a partnership. He was fresh out of the military and working in the insurance business. But the concept continued to grow and more and more people wanted to be involved in the partnership with us leading it.
After a few years and some pushing from several of our associates, they convinced us to give this a whirl… and that we did! We worked out of the house the first year, then moved to a small office in the basement of an office building followed by a move to an office in Mt. Laurel, NJ. Fast forward 23 years and we’ve relocated our main office and moved our primary residence to Saratoga Springs, NY.
Hobbies: Gardening, cooking, crossword puzzles, and reading. We have a black lab mix named “Maggie” who I adopted from a shelter when she was five-years-old. I love Sundays – church, breakfast, sports, movies, family dinner and 60 Minutes!
Interests: Horse racing, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies/Eagles/76ers/Flyers and Major League Soccer. Love March Madness! Favorite day to handicap the races – the Breeders’ Cup!
Greatest Accomplishments: Raising two kids: Erin, who is a graduate of the University of KY, currently works with WPT, and is also an avid equestrian, and Ryan, who played professional soccer player and is now working in New York City. Also, starting the West Point initiative for Breast Cancer Awareness with our first filly Flashy In Pink. Served as Co-Chair and Honorary Chair for three years on NYRA’s Fabulous Fillies initiative, helping raise over $300,000 for breast cancer research.
Most enjoyable part of owning WPT: The people, the horses, and the team.
Someone I admire: Congie DeVito who was West Point’s first communications director and never let his own personal challenges stop him from achieving his dreams and goals. He was such an inspiration to all of us. He died at age 35 from complications for a lifelong medical condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as brittle bone disease. I miss his friendship every day…
Prior to coming on board full time in July 2010, I worked part-time under the late, great Congie DeVito. He’s the person who really got my career started and taught me the ropes.
My main responsibility with WPT is to keep Partners informed about members of their stable on a regular basis through our website, e-mail updates, videos, etc. I also serve as WPT’s racing manager and am a member of the WPT buying team at the sales. I grew up following my dad around the sales and backside.
I married Daniel Birkenhauer on June 14, 2014. We met at the University of Kentucky as undergrads. Daniel graduated from UK’s Dental School in May 2014 and we now live on a small farm just outside Bowling Green, KY.
We have two children: Blake Patrick and McKenna Lane.
My parents started this partnership group 25 years ago, and I couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments. We went from only having a few claimers to building one of the top stables in the country.
Horse racing, riding horses, hiking, running, cooking, handicapping, traveling, hunting, clay shooting, concerts, taking my dogs to the dog park.
Retired grade one winner Twilight Eclipse and I at the 2017 Real Rider Cup:
My son Blake with our two retired West Point horses who live at home:
What I Do at WPT:
I am responsible for a variety of the company’s day-to-day functions. This includes the administrative and financial tasks. My days typically involve; working with vendors, racetracks, Partners and other owners, insurance companies, federal and state filings, tax-related matters, billing and financials, and working with other team members for upcoming events and initiatives.
The majority of people don’t realize what goes into running a syndication business – managing approximately 60 – 70 horses and the human resources tasks of 11 team members. I can say – it’s a lot!
Thoughts About My Job:
I grew up attending the races and yearling sales at Saratoga, and I owned riding horses virtually my entire life. I still have two senior citizen horses I care for that have been with me for over 20 years. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I have been able to combine my profession with a life-long interest – few people can say this. West Point Thoroughbreds has given me the opportunity to meet hundreds of incredible people and travel to some pretty cool places.
It is my goal to let the partners focus on the fun aspects of horse ownership and not get distracted with the “mundane parts”. I make it as easy as possible for them to understand the contracts and quarterly statements. We are very transparent and are always looking for ways to improve the ownership experience, whether it be by implementing new technology or incorporating suggestions from Partners.
I grew up about 20 minutes outside of Saratoga Springs, where seeing a cow in the road was a regular occurrence.
My parents got me involved with horses at the early age of 8. It started with riding lessons and led to my horses still living in my parents’ backyard – over 20 years later.
I was recruited to row at Syracuse University and graduated from The Whitman School of Management, focusing in accounting.
After graduating, I moved to New York City to work for a public accounting firm. It took me less than six months to realize I did not belong in the City and moved back to the Saratoga area, (I made it a point to be back before the Saratoga meet started). I then worked at a regional accounting firm in Albany, New York from the Spring of 2007 until I joined the West Point Team in November 2010.
Since joining West Point, I obtained my CPA license and moved back to Saratoga Springs.
Tom Bellhouse is the Executive Vice President. His primary responsibilities are to coordinate West Point Thoroughbreds’ operations throughout the East, including the New York, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida Circuits.
Bellhouse 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 in 2008, he spent nine years in the automotive industry as a Sales Director for a division of Chrysler.
TB Fun Facts
Questions I’m always asked: “How did you get your crazy passion/obsession for horse racing?” and “How did you get your job?”
Answering the first question is easy…
a. Grow up on Long Island with your Grandmother’s house being only 2 miles and an “N-6” bus down Hempstead Turnpike from Belmont Park on Long Island.
b. Have a next door neighbor who loves the trotters and will let a young teenager tag along for company to Roosevelt & Yonkers when his wife won’t go.
c. Idolize your bartender/horseplayer Grandfather who could pour drinks and savage a “tele” (what they used to call the DRF) with the best of them.
d. Take horseback riding lessons in the hope of being the next Steve Cauthen (yeah, I know, a bit crazy considering my current girth).
e. Be introduced to thoroughbred racing during the incredible 1970’s and have your first in-person Belmont Stakes be the 1978 Classic – Alydar vs. Affirmed – then have the opportunity to see many of the all-time greats (Seattle Slew, Forego, Exceller, Spectacular Bid, Coastal, Cox’s Ridge) race at Belmont Park.
f. “Uncle Pete” – enough said. Every young horse lover/handicapper needs an “Uncle Pete.” Going back to the 1978 Belmont Stakes, it should be mentioned that while I was 14 and watching the race with Uncle Pete outside the third-floor Clubhouse, we were both “Alydar Guys,” maybe a bit of foreshadowing of how both of our (mine & Uncle Pete’s) gambling careers would progress.
g. and last but not least… have wonderful parents (Tom & Marion) who would only let me go to the races if I got straight “A”s. (Bribery at its finest!)
As for the second question, “How did you get your job?”
– Never, ever take a career position where the lead question is “What’s the least amount of money that you can live off of?”
Family – Married to Stephanie Collins, a Louisville native, who is as passionate about horse racing as I am. She’s a much more accomplished handicapper than I am; when the extended family gets together for our annual trip to Churchill Downs, Steph’s the one everybody approaches for picks!
We have two kids, Amanda and Josh. Amanda is a budding filmmaker who completed UCLA’s summer film program. Josh is into anything that involves a bouncing, thrown, or carried ball. Football, Basketball and Baseball are the sports he plays, and I believe he plays them well.
My sister lives in the Washington DC area with her family; she’s the editor of a monthly magazine. My folks still live in little ol’ Mount Vernon, Iowa, my home town. Dad was a professor and Mom an administrator at Cornell College.
Education – BA in History Williams College, (1986), MSJ from Northwestern University(1989). They are two great schools and I’m still shocked that they let me in all those years ago.
Interesting facts about college and graduate school
Things I like about working at West Point Thoroughbreds –
My clients make this job worthwhile. Talking on the phone about a breakthrough one of our horses took, or the dinner the night out after a big stakes win is such a great experience with clients who become, in time, great friends.
I also love the fact that our clients seek to achieve the fullest experience possible. And that means spending time with us at the sales and at the earliest stages of training for our horses. It’s part of the journey.
Interests – My kids are the focal point of anything outside West Point and racing. If I had a dollar for every little league game or school play we’ve attended… and it’s a great joy to be able to watch my kids do things they love.
A few facts about me some might not know – I was a ballet dancer for a good portion of my youth, from about 8 till 16 years old. It really helped with the sports I played as well and it took me to England to dance for several weeks when I was a sophomore in high school. I made money in high school and college de-tasseling corn.
My interest in racing began with Slew
One Saturday in May, my mom was late to pick me up after open swim at the YMCA in suburban Chicago. The Kentucky Derby was on in the lobby, so while I waited, I watched it. This athletic, speedy black horse named Seattle Slew captivated my attention. I was a kid. I had never seen a horse race before. Basically, it was love at first sight. Two weeks later, my family tuned in to watch Slew win the Preakness and then the Belmont, which was electrifying to me. I begged my grandfather to take me to Arlington Park that summer. In the first live race I saw, I bet $2 to show on a good looking chestnut horse. He won, and I was a fan for life.
Had an owner’s license at age 13
At age 13 I used my personal savings to buy 10 percent of a $2,500 claiming horse with a partnership. He won his next start after I bought him! Soon my mother became involved and luckily for me, funded all future horses. In high school, my mother wrote notes to my teachers to get me out of 7th hour PE or study hall so I could go watch our horses race. (Hey, it’s easy to get excused when the math teacher hits a $12,000 trifecta after you tout your longshot horse.)
Galloped horses and worked on the back and front sides of Chicago tracks
I galloped racehorses on a training farm. The only thing I’ve found that comes close to the rush of galloping a Thoroughbred racehorse is finally learning to ski with that perfect rhythm as you are cruising down a mountain in Jackson Hole. I spent high school and college vacations working on the backstretches and in the sales offices of Chicago area racetracks.
Took a break from racing for college and NCAA basketball
Had I entered the University of Arizona Racetrack Management Program, I would have graduated with Todd Pletcher. I visited Arizona, but decided the Midwest was a better spot for me. I graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a B.S. in Advertising. After graduation, I didn’t want to relinquish my basketball courtside seat, (the Flying Illini had just made a trip to the Final Four,) so I stayed in Champaign and earned my M.S. in Advertising in just over a year.
Worked over 15 years in telecommunications and technology
The day after arriving in New Jersey to begin an advertising job at AT&T, I bought a map and drove over many expensive bridges to Belmont Park where I saw Easy Goer win the Belmont Stakes. After 4 years at AT&T, I was recruited by MCI Telecommunications and spent 12 years in marketing and advertising senior management roles in consumer and enterprise markets. After MCI, I learned about online and small business marketing as the Director of Corporate Advertising for an online technology company. In 2010 I joined West Point Thoroughbreds as head of marketing. If you found West Point Thoroughbreds by searching online and you clicked around our website, chances are I played a part in that.
I was a West Point owner first
In 2005 I joined a partnership with West Point Thoroughbreds with the single goal in mind of competing and winning at Saratoga. In 2008, I hit the partner jackpot with a fantastic group of people who owned Rereadthefootnotes, a.k.a. “The Rocket.” What fun and thrills we had with Reread! He brought me to the Saratoga winner’s circle, was graded stakes placed, and won a stakes race, which totally exceeded my ownership goals.
What I like about my job
I love what I do, and I like, respect, and admire the people I work with every day. Few people are fortunate enough to combine their passion with profession. That is a very common theme among the entire West Point team.
Favorite things to do
Long-time Turf writer and publicist Jeff Lowe joined West Point Thoroughbreds in March 2019 to serve in a communications and marketing position.
Lowe came to the partnership after seven years in a similar role at Team Valor International. He previously spent nine years at Thoroughbred Times, serving as the publication’s lead writer for the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup. Lowe also has been a contributing writer at America’s Best Racing, Thoroughbred Commentary, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and North American Trainer.
Lowe grew up around horse racing—his father was the general manager at the track in Delaware, Ohio, that plays host to one of harness racing’s biggest events, the Little Brown Jug.
“I love the sport of horse racing and working for a company that helps people experience it at a deeper level as racehorse owners and at a high level is a true dream job,” Lowe said.
Lowe and his wife, Fadyia, live in Lexington, Kentucky, with their two sons, Matthew and Nicholas.
Jeff Lowe Q&A:
What were some key takeaways from your time at Team Valor?
“A greater appreciation that a good horse can come from anywhere and that even a bad sire is liable to come up with a top horse. I saw those two elements repeat themselves again and again.”
Favorite Kentucky Derby you covered?
“Along the same lines, the rags to riches stories are a big part of what makes horse racing such a uniquely great game. I never considered for one second leading up to the 2009 Kentucky Derby that Mine That Bird belonged in that race, let alone that he had to chance to do what he did, to decimate that field and humble so many of us know it alls. With respect to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, I see it as the greatest upset in a major sporting event of my lifetime. I have never watched the movie and have no desire to do so, I don’t want to in any way spoil what I witnessed first hand, being absolutely stunned along the rail at Churchill Downs and then getting a chance to put the pieces together from talking to the connections and lay out in black and white how the impossible was possible.”
“The late Bobby Frankel was one of a kind. He didn’t suffer fools, but if you did your homework, he was gracious and provided an up-close view of the best roster I have ever seen in one barn, with the likes of Ghostzapper, Medaglia d’Oro, Empire Maker, Sightseek and Leroidesanimaux.”
Best race you’ve witnessed?
“Zenyatta’s Breeders’ Cup Classic was as good as it gets, a utopia like scene at Santa Anita Park. I only hope to see another horse create that kind of shared euphoria.”
Background – My wife, Kristina, and I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with our two dogs Auggie and Zizi. We also have a cat named Jake, who thinks he runs the house! I grew up a few furlongs from Belmont Park in Floral Park, NY, and all it took was one family day trip to the racetrack in the summer of 1993 to change my life forever. Holy Bull’s Hall of Fame career was just getting underway, Julie Krone had just won the Belmont aboard Colonial Affair, and I was a fan for life after watching my first race! I spent the rest of high school (I graduated from Floral Park Memorial) covering Thoroughbred racing for the town’s local newspaper, The Gateway. Those stories – many focused on Cigar and the run-up to the 1995 Breeders’ Cup at Belmont – helped me land a New York Turf Writers Association scholarship. I graduated from LIU Post (2000) with a BA in communications. I played lacrosse (goaltender) in high school and college and still love lacrosse to this day.
Industry Experience – Fortunate to have worked with a great team at the New York Racing Association for nearly 17 years, both in the pressbox and on television. My NYRA co-hosting duties included Thoroughbred Action, Inside Racing, Talking Horses, and the inaugural season of both Belmont Live and Saratoga Live. Kristina and I moved to South Florida in early 2017 where I spent four years as a key member of The Stronach Group, “quarterbacking” the daily television coverage at Gulfstream Park. Blessed to have worked with an outstanding group of people at TSG. Sharing my love of the game over the airwaves is a trait I have always been proud of, and that passion is going to meld perfectly with West Point Thoroughbreds.
Interests – Outside of Thoroughbred racing – which will always be the #1 driving force in my life – I love music (90s alternative is my sweet spot), hockey (suffering NY Rangers fan), lacrosse, hiking, running, and paddleboarding. My three favorite all-time horses are Holy Bull, Cigar, and Uncle Mo!
Background – I grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and have been fortunate in being surrounded by horses from an early age. Growing up exchanging working hours around the barn for riding lessons led me to pursue molding my passion into a profession. In attending Delaware Valley University, I had the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the Standardbred industry, going full circle from the breeding shed to the sales ring. Upon graduation in 2013 with a B.S. in Equine Science, I accepted a position at Hanover Shoe Farms as the head veterinary technician, and it was there that I learned of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship. Relocating to Kentucky for the internship was supposed to be a six-month term – which evolved into a greater trajectory than I could have planned for, and I have been living on a farm just outside of Lexington ever since.
Industry Experience – Likely my all-time favorite experience in any horse industry has been foaling mares and getting to work with those babies. This is what drew me to Kentucky, and I still look forward to each foaling season! I spent valuable time with WinStar Farm in both the broodmare and yearling divisions, but soon after bringing my first crop of yearlings to the Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton sales, I found myself gravitating toward that segment of the industry. I accepted a role with Brookdale Sales, prepping horses on the farm and helping to organize and prepare the consignment (the best of both worlds!), before moving on to Lane’s End Farm. Over six years with Lane’s End, I had the privilege to work with a phenomenal team, transitioning from sales and being involved in all aspects of developing the consignment, to bloodstock – working with David Ingordo to represent clients in every facet of the industry. In coordinating bloodstock, racing, and sales operations, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to facilitate a concierge-level client experience and look forward to expanding upon this in my role with West Point Thoroughbreds.
Interests – The very first horse I’ve ever owned, Number One, became my riding horse after a fun racing career for me and my husband. I enjoy traveling, photography, and am a coffee fanatic. I’ve stayed active with the KEMI program, helping to grow the mentorship initiative and alumni association. I love any reason to be outdoors, which has contributed to accidentally becoming a part-time cow and sheep farmer. My favorite place (other than the barn) is the beach, and I have enjoyed getting out to explore the Bluegrass and taking my dogs hiking.
Tom Bellhouse is the Executive Vice President. His primary responsibilities are to coordinate West Point Thoroughbreds’ operations throughout the East, including the New York, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida Circuits. Bellhouse is […]
West Point Thoroughbreds employs only the finest horsemen in the industry, trainers who are committed to putting the horse's welfare first. We believe in the philosophy of "take care of the horse, and the horse will take care of us."
Our trainers deploy the best training regimens and resources available. Their goal is to position our horses for success. Many horse racing partnerships train their horses to race, while West Point Thoroughbreds trains their horses to win.
As members of the West Point Thoroughbred's team, our trainers accommodate the needs of our business and partnership ownership. They willingly share with clients their knowledge about the horses and the racing industry to provide a unique educational experience. Our trainers welcome clients with us to their barns in the mornings and in the paddock during the afternoons.