Award-Winning Owners Share Experiences During Virtual Conference

September 8, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky.—The Thoroughbred Owner Conference’s virtual sessions returned Tuesday, September 6, with an engaging panel composed of previous recipients of OwnerView’s New Owner of the Year Award.

Sponsored by Equilume and MyRacehorse and moderated by Mike Penna of Horse Racing Radio Network, panelists were Michael Behrens, MyRacehorse; Sol Kumin, Madaket Stables; Patrick O’Neill, Boat Racing; Gary Palmisano, Churchill Downs Racing Club; and Jaime Roth, LNJ Foxwoods.

All of the panelists discussed how they became interested in Thoroughbred racing and ownership, from familial connections to binge-watching Animal Planet’s Jockeys series. Penna asked Roth about how aftercare factored into her stable’s business plan from day one.

“When LNJ was formed, the first thing I said to [advisor Alex Solis II] was that the horses have to be taken care of,” she said. “They have to be put first always.

“I wish everyone could be around horses because they change your life.”

LNJ Foxwoods named OwnerView’s Owner of the Year in 2016. L-R: Olga Aguilar, Jaime Roth, Larry Roth, Nanci Roth, and Flavien Prat

The owners also offered their insights on the keys to success, with the prominent theme in their responses centering around teamwork and diversification.

“You have to put good people around you who you trust,” said Kumin. 

“One of the mistakes a lot of owners make is getting too involved. It makes it difficult for trainers and bloodstock agents to be good at their jobs.”

On his team’s strategy to be creative when looking for horses to purchase, Kumin remarked, “If everyone is looking in one direction, we’re looking for ways to go in a different direction. There’s no perfect way to do it.”

For Palmisano, one of the goals of the Churchill Downs Racing Club is to teach people about Thoroughbred ownership.

“I do like to be involved and my members like to be involved,” he said.

“Our big mission for the club was education. If I can have a conversation with a trainer as to why a decision was made, that will educate 200 people. Our trainers make decisions when it comes to buying horses, and I relay that message.”

Through MyRacehorse, Behrens has been able to bring ownership to thousands of people from a wide range of demographics, “democratizing” the ownership experience. He shared the sentiments of Kumin and Palmisano.

“It’s important to stay informed. We try to be deferential to trainers when they’re trying to do their job.”

Another common refrain was the impact of success in ownership on spurring further involvement.

As a result of his experience as an owner of grade 1 winner Hot Rod Charlie, O’Neill said, “Once the horse brings you to the top of the mountain, you hope to get there again.”

Hot Rod Charlie with Flavien Prat riding won the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pennsylvania on September 25, 2021. Photo By Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO

Following the successes of Hot Rod Charlie, Boat Racing is looking to expand investment into other areas of the industry.

Virtual sessions are recorded for registrants to view at their convenience if they cannot watch live. Interested individuals can still sign up for the virtual conference series at or email Gary Falter at

The free series is hosted by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine, and Stoll Keenon Ogden.
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