Boat Racing Honored as 2021 New Owner of the Year
LEXINGTON, Ky.—The 2021 Thoroughbred Owner Conference series held its final session Tuesday, December 7, with a panel focused on the importance of Thoroughbred aftercare. Held virtually this year in lieu of an in-person conference, the series was hosted by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine, Stoll Keenon Ogden, and Stonestreet Farm.
The free conference series, which consisted of 10 virtual panels on a range of topics, attracted nearly 1,200 registrants from seven countries. All sessions were recorded and are available to registered guests.
“The 2021 virtual Thoroughbred Owner Conference series has been a remarkable success by just about every measure,” said Gary Falter, project manager for OwnerView. “There have been over 5,500 views of the live and recorded panels, and the feedback from attendees has been incredibly positive.”
Following the success of the 2021 online series, OwnerView plans to continue with another series of ownership panels in 2022. More information on the dates and topics will be released in January.
Tuesday’s session was sponsored by Canterbury Park and Gainesway Farm and moderated by Kristin Werner, senior counsel for The Jockey Club and administrator of the Thoroughbred Incentive Program (TIP). Panelists were Michael Blowen, founder of Old Friends; Stacie Clark, operations consultant for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA); and Erin Crady, executive director of the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA).
Clark spoke on the work of the TAA, which accredits aftercare organizations and provides funding to support those organizations. She said that she has been heartened by the publicity from positive stories of horses being retrained and rehomed in recent years, giving owners confidence that their horses can thrive off the racetrack.
“What has really been amazing is an owner can come into the sport and know that there is an option for their horses and there is a safety net,” she said.
Blowen agreed, noting that “there’s a new awareness not just when these horses are racing and breeding but also when their racing and breeding days are over.”
Old Friends is a sanctuary facility that is home to more than 200 stallions, mares, and geldings that experienced varying levels of success on the racetrack and in the breeding shed. These horses serve as equine ambassadors during public tours of the property, which raise money for the farm’s operations.
The TCA provides grants to approved non-profit organizations that work toward improving the lives of Thoroughbred racehorses and the people who care for them. Crady emphasized that racehorse owners should be including aftercare in their business plans from the onset and that it is critical for horses to be retired while they are still sound to maximize their career potential beyond the racetrack.
“Start thinking about your exit strategy before you even have a horse,” she said. “Aftercare should not be an afterthought.
“A sound Thoroughbred is so incredibly versatile. Don’t push for that one last race.”
The session started with the presentation of the 2021 New Owner of the Year, sponsored by The Stronach Group and 1/ST RACING, to Boat Racing. Boat Racing owns a handful of horses via yearling sales, 2-year-old in training sales, and pinhooking, but their primary claim to fame came from their significant minority share of Hot Rod Charlie, who won the grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby and grade 2 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby in 2021. He also placed in this year’s Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve and Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets (both grade 1).
“We’ve fallen in love with this sport and fallen in love with these majestic animals,” said Patrick O’Neill of Boat Racing. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be a part of this industry for many years to come.”
OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.
The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.
The Jockey Club Press Release
Photos courtesy of The Jockey Club