Saturday, September 27, 2008

If I Had A Dollar...

Or $1250 for every e-mail I received with a "I really want to, but it's not a good time", we'd be claiming a horse already! I joke, but I also completely understand. Times are tough, even in racing. Ask the folks that were trying to get top dollar for their yearlings at Keeneland the past couple of weeks how good the market is right now. We're in the middle of a Presidential election with an economy in shambles and I'm asking folks to invest in one of the more risky ventures going!

We do have some folks on board, so that's good, but I'm wondering if I should aim lower right now? Do I bottom feed a bit with Tammy Domenosky in Chicago and try to pick up a cheap, hard trying claimer that'll keep a group in action? Aim to churn some horses over the course of a year trying to grab some pictures along the way while claiming for $4000 or $5000 and trying to push up a level and get claimed and then move on to the next target. It's a risky proposition, but maybe 15 or 20 folks would jump in at $500 a piece, know they're not buying Secretariat, but give them a nice run for their money.

It's an interesting dilemma that I'm pondering today while watching a great day of racing on TVG. I know everyone talks about Curlin as Horse of the Year - and it's hard to argue - but how about Zenyatta? She is simply amazing. I thought Hysterical Lady may have had a shot at her today, but no way. I am mightily impressed. Of course moments later I watch Curlin just dominate the field in the Jockey Club Gold Cup a continent away while Robby Albarado barely moved on him. He didn't decimate the field, but he did it while simply being guided around the track. Speaking of impressive, how about Grand Couturier in the Hirsch on a yielding turf course. THAT was decimating a field! I can't wait until Breeder's Cup weekend!!

In the meantime, I sit and ponder $4000 claimers... We all have to start somewhere!!

9 comments:

Steve Zorn said...

Funny you should mention that Ted. I'm in a similar position, if in higher-priced New York. We have $16,700 so far toward a claiming partnership. My original target was $35,000, which would have let us claim at $25,000 and have a healthy reserve for expenses. Given the state of the economy, I'm also aiming lower....would be ready to claim at $16,000, which is a few steps off the bottom at NYRA. But I'd stay away from the bottom level, whatever that is at a particular track. There's a reason horses are running at that level, and it's usually not a pleasant one. All too easy to get stuck being the last owner of the horse, which would wipe out the partnership. Just my opinion.

Ted G said...

Steve - I do agree with you. The bottom is the bottom for a reason. I'm really just spitballing this thing out. It's frustrating because we've had some success and due to circumstances beyond our control our potential client base is suffering. I don't want to get too low, but try and strike a balance between a lower cost and a positive ownership experience. As usual, your input is very welcome and spot on! Thanks.

dana said...

You're singin' my song about Zenyatta!! She's incredible.

Jack said...

Ted,

We had 4 people ask to leave our group as they just didn’t have the time to get to the track or just weren’t as interested as they first thought they’d be but they did enjoy their one year of horse ownership. We’ve also been lucky enough to find 4 replacements and there’s a consensus in the group to raise the partner share price to $2k each and with all 20 members (old & new) on board we’ll be at $40k as we start new.

Our plan is to find 2 horse, one around $20-25k and another $7-10k horse which should allow us to run more often which was one of the complaints from the past season and with a $20-25k horse we would also be able to run for higher purses and hopefully help support the lesser horse from an expense point.

Of course we all know the saying about the best-laid plans of mice and men (and horses) but we’ll hope for the best and I wish you the same for Fizzy and your ability to fill your group.

Jack

PEM said...

Ted-FWIW I don't think claiming a bottom-level horse is a sound move. They're running at the bottom level for a reason--and while we all hear about the Lava Mans and Seabiscuits most claims turn the other way. Personally I think at the very minimum the 8-10K level is the way to go. There's usually not a whole lot of upside in a nickle claimer-and if you're looking to garner repeat business a nag that wins about every 15th time out or so ain't gonna do it for you.

I think the best idea would be to talk to a trainer you trust and ask him/her what would be the cheapest level you could honestly turn a profit on with a bit of luck. I think anybody who told you it could be done with $5000 is just claimers is simply trying to fill up their barn and make a living off day rate.

Best,

PEM

Ted G said...

Jack - Best of luck. I think that's an absolutely great plan. That was roughly the initial plan I was going for, but capital constraints may alter that a bit. I may just hold off and wait.

PEM - Hope all is well! Like I mentioned to Steve, I completely agree. You're at the bottom for a reason. Sure, Lava Man was a hit, but he was a $50,000 claimer, not a rock bottom number!

Ted G said...

Dana - she is something else. I think she could do a very good job against most of the boys this season.

bellwether said...

find a REAL & half honest trainer & you have a shot...treat the Animals fair!!!

Ted G said...

Bellweather - Thanks for reading. Both Bernell Rhone and Tammy Domenosky, our trainers, are outstanding horsepeople, treat our money like it was their own and hold the welfare of their charges as paramount. I think we're very well covered in that respect. There are some bad apples in this industry for sure, but we've been very fortunate to meet Bernell and Tammy.