Friday, March 6, 2009

Interesting Development

Last year I had a handful of folks looking to be in on the opening of Running Aces Harness Park. I was a bit leery because of the purse structure and difficulty in being able to make any money in the Twin Cities market with a Standardbred. However, as everyone understood the risks involved and really just wanted to be able to watch their horse race and hopefully grab a few photos, I dug in and looked for a trainer.

I met with some folks and asked around, but I couldn't really find anything. There were quite a few folks looking to sell some horses - at what I felt were inflated prices - because of the racing coming here, but no one along the lines of a Standardbred Bernell Rhone. Basically I was looking for a professional trainer that could help me evaluate talent, train our horse(s), hire the driver and move our pacer to his winter track, wherever that may be (if it happened to be Pompano Park in FL, well, God bless him/her). What I found was that the inaugural meet was more about the local horsemen - the owner/trainer/driver - finally having a pace of their own. There was a certain degree of uncertainty to the venture and, more to my concerns, who would show up from elsewhere to contest the races. The bottom line: I had partners but no trainer.

My last entry, singing the praises of I Am Woman, the 3-year old pacing filly I own 12.5% of with VIP Stables, finished up with the oft-quoted line "Now if I could only find a Standardbred trainer spending the summer at Running Aces..." Since then I have touched base with two who are going to do some racing up our way this summer. Nothing firm yet, but exploring the opportunities. While purses are going up some 25% at Running Aces this season, it's not like it was the Meadowlands to begin with, so they are still a cut below what we see at Maywood or Balmoral. That being said, the gap has narrowed and the racing season is longer this year: May 15 to August 9 four days per week. With a horse that can be competitive week to week and a reasonable training cost structure, there is some potential.

In a most interesting development, the bottom line this year appears to be: I'm going to have a trainer, but no partners!

Now if I could only find partners who want to race a Standardbred or two at Running Aces this summer...


Steve Zorn said...

Beware, Ted. That way (a horse with no partners) lies madness (not to mention insolvency). :)

Ted Grevelis said... are correct! So with no partners there will be no horse. Funny how a year changes things...