Thursday, January 31, 2008


The first racing partnership I ever belonged to - the infamous Partnership Who Must Not Be Named - has ended. Well, MOSTLY ended. Kind of like in "The Princess Bride" when Billy Crystal declares Cary Elwes mostly dead. Our last horse was claimed today in a low level claiming race at Golden Gate Fields. I am exhilarated, I have to say. From the time it's founding member passed away, this group has been a mess as those of you that have been reading here a while know. We have not received any financial information since April 07. We've been promised by the new managing partner that they were on their way, but it's now February 08 and we're still waiting.

What will be interesting how long it will take for this particular partnership to actually close. I would anticipate under normal circumstances about 6 weeks to get all the bills in, paid the final disbursements made. These are far from normal circumstances, however. In a general meeting of the PWMNBN early in December it was unveiled that this particular partnership in the group was in the hole $18,000. Well, not exactly in the hole, but money was missing and could not be accounted for. The intimation of the new managing partner was that the deceased founder or his widow had utilized the funds for something other than the partnership and that they only recently had learned of this.

However, after the passing the new Big Shot (and he LOVES to play the big shot rather than actually have client service skills) said he would not claim horses until the finances were straightened out for this partnership. It was a great time as well, because our two studs were claimed from us after giving us an ROI of almost 50% and we had no horses. Perfect timing to stop giving the circumstance. BUT NO! Big Shot, even while he was telling us he wouldn't claim until the finances were done was claiming his brains out. We apparently lost several shakes until we claimed the two that just left us. We were told that was his prerogative as managing partner and that these were opportunities that were too good to pass up. ROI for the partnership now: -70%. We're all actually going to LOSE money in this group even though we SO could have quite while we were well ahead.

My opinion on why we didn't? Some more forgiving folks would say his ego. Me? I think he was covering up the financial mess. Claiming these horses in the hope that they would mask whatever graft was going on by whomever until it could be sorted out. On the face of it, both claims were astonishingly bad. One horse was only 2 races back from a year long sabbatical from the races and was dropping about 5 classes upon his return (never a good sign) and Big Shot claimed him with no idea why he'd been away!! The other had run through all his 4 year old conditions and needed to compete with 'and ups' in his next outings. Needless to say he floundered until he grew a bit and was able to compete with older horses. Of course at a much reduced claiming level. One was claimed at $16,000 and left us at $4000. The other was claimed at $40,000 and left us at $16,000. Yikes.

While this has been an experience that in some ways I'd like to forget, there are many things I have taken away: some excellent friends that I hope stay with me for life; how NOT to do things in my own partnership groups; how to properly maintain finances (each of my groups are a separate LLC with their own bank accounts); make sure that I maintain communication with my partners; and respect my partners and to take seriously their thoughts and ideas as well as the responsibility for their finances that they have trusted me with.

I'll let you know when mostly dead becomes completely dead when and IF the check ever comes for what's left.

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