OK, I had to post something else about horse racing today after a few owners looking to improve their racing fortunes talked with me last night, and sent messages today. As always, you may not like my advice but it’s as honest as I can be. The greatest barrier to generating profit or near profit as an owner is the owner ….. Not the horse, the trainer or for heaven’s sake the jockey!
Many owners just struggle to pay their trainer bills, and year after year generate only half the earnings per start they need to approach breakeven, yet they and their trainers constantly enter horses miles over their heads. They think their $7,500 Maiden Claimer will eventually win the Maiden Special Weight, or their Non-Winner of 2 Maiden Claimer belongs in the Non-Winner of 2 Allowance. They either think everyone wants to claim their horse, can’t bear the emotions of losing their horse, their trainer just wants the horse and income associated of having it in the stable, witness the occasional anecdote of some horse winning at big odds and say “see”, or the owner/trainer is delusional and thinks it’s just a magical matter of time before the horse improves.
The problem is that not only do they rarely take down a win while risking the horse in a race over its head, but they waste a 3 to 4 week period per race (costing them another $2K or so in costs) before they can enter the horse again (often right back over its head).
Oh well, seasoned and successful owners know this stuff but my advice to the new folks, to maximize your fun and return as a horse owner, is:
1. Set parameters around where your trainer will enter a horse and reset those after every race if you need to.
2. Properly handicap the previous race types (or get an honest handicapper to do it for you) and only place your horse in races where a plus or minus normal variation would provide a win.
3. Don’t keep pounding your horse, time after time, against competition where it loses by 7-8 lengths or more and can’t really engage the competition. It’s not good for you, and frankly it’s not good for the horse.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.