Welcome to the Club!

Owning a Thoroughbred can seem daunting and intimidating. But you actually did it! You filled out a registration form and paid $500 of your hard earned cash. Now what?

what-is-it-thought-cloudWell, first we’ll need somebody to train our horse (and we need a horse, but let’s save that for another post). Lucky for Emerald Racing Club members we’ve already done that part, but we should explain why we chose Larry and Sharon Ross as our trainer.

Take a quick glance at the official program and you see many trainers listed: old ones, young ones, trainers’ with strings of 50 or more horses, others with only one or two. In fact, the current condition book lists nearly 80 trainers at Emerald Downs. So how do we find one that is right for our horse? First we had to establish our requirements:

  1. The trainer, whoever he/she was to be, must have a strong reputation for exceptional horse care.
  2. The trainer must be willing to work with an ownership Club that may number over 150 people.
  3. The trainer must communicate well with the Emerald Downs’ media team and Emerald Racing Club race manager.
  4. And finally, the trainer must have a history of success!

Simply, Larry and Sharon Ross love the horses in their care. We have observed it first hand for several years, and we’ve spoken to several owners who reiterate this point, providing glowing recommendations for the Ross’ superior horse care. We have also watched and admired as their horses arrive to the paddock for races—well groomed, shiny and healthy, the picture of good health. The 2014 Emerald Racing Club’s horses; Anelina and Dancing Yodeler, reflected this.

We’ve even witnessed little things like Sharon Ross escorting baby ducks across Emerald Downs drive, making sure they crossed the road safely (Youtube video). That’s the type of person that will provide our racehorse with the best care and a trainer that we are proud to have working for us. Additionally, Sharon has a long record of finding good homes for racehorses after their career is over – an important element of horse ownership that we will cover later in the season.

The Ross’ have horses in training in both Washington and California. Sharon manages the barn in WA and is listed as Assistant Trainer in the program, and Larry manages the string in California (Golden Gate) until they are ready to make the move back north to Emerald Downs. This makes the option of purchasing and/or claiming a horse from California viable as we have Larry’s very capable eyes scouting horse flesh.

The Emerald Racing Club had 128 members in it’s first year and to date has 155 for the 2015 season. Managing such a large number of owners can be daunting and that is where the Ross’ barn policy is a benefit to us. Many trainers can have different policies regarding barn visits. Larry and Sharon Ross have always had an “open-barn” policy, as long as the horse come first. That means owners are welcome to visit provided they neither disrupt the barn routine nor pose a safety hazard to horses or themselves. (We’ll cover safety and barn etiquette at the Emerald Racing Club orientation on April 19, and post a blog for those unable to attend).

The trainer must also be a good communicator so we can provide all of you with detailed and accurate updates on your racehorses! This isn’t always easy when a trainer may have a dozen horses in their care and potentially a different owner for each one.

If the Ross name seems awfully familiar to you, it’s because they’ve had a long history of success. Most recently with 2014 Emerald Downs Horse of the Year and Longacres Mile winner Stryker Phd. And your racehorse will be stabled right across from this handsome racehorse.

Stryker Phd winning the 2014 Budweiser Handicap under jockey Leslie Mawing.

Stryker Phd winning the 2014 Budweiser Handicap under jockey Leslie Mawing.

Their list of accomplishments include:

·Trained 1985 Longacres Mile winner Chum Salmon
· Trained 2013 WA Hall of Fame Inductee Military Hawk (stakes-placed an amazing 37 times)
· Sharon Ross ranks #8 all-time both Emerald Downs wins (337) and stakes wins (23). Combined Sharon and Larry have won 521 races and 36 stakes at Emerald Downs (note that in past history horses have run in Sharon Ross’ name as trainer or Larry Ross, or both).
· Sharon trained Ema Bovary, the 2003 Top Sprinter at Emerald Downs
· Larry Ross was the leading trainer in Emerald Downs’ inaugural season of 1996
· Larry & Sharon Ross are three-time finalists (2010, 2011, 2013) for WA Hall of Fame

Remember, though, the most important thing when selecting a trainer is to find one that is right for you. Interview candidates, see if you agree with their training philosophies and strategies, and do your research! The Emerald Downs Media Guide is available in the Gift Shop for trainer bios and they are also posted on http://www.emeralddowns.com. Once you have your trainer, you can start shopping for your horse!

Now that we have our trainer, horse shopping is the next stage that of the process. Larry and Sharon Ross are currently looking for a horse on behalf of the Emerald Downs Racing Club, and we will post the exciting news here as soon as we have acquired him or her!

Reminder: Emerald Racing Club registration closes April 1.

If you have sent in your registration form, you should have received an email from me (Sophia McKee) detailing your next steps to get licensed. If you HAVE NOT received this email, check your spam filters and then send me an email at emeraldracingclub@gmail.com. We may have input your email address correct.

Happy Racing!

2015 Racing Club Registration Now Open


The 2015 Racing Club registration is now open for new members!

Download your registration: Emerald Racing Club Registration Form and return the form to Emerald Downs via email (emeraldracingclub@gmail.com), mail, fax, or in person.

If you have any questions email emeraldracingclub@gmail.com or call Sophia McKee at 253-288-7719.

Registrations will be accepted until April 1 or until we reach 200 members. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

2014 Wrap Up


It’s a wrap!

The 2014 Emerald Racing Club is officially closed out with Anelina getting her new owner on December 17. Anelina will remain under Sharon’s care for next few months.  Anelina was sold for a token $1 and is going to an excellent new home with ERC member Stephanie M. We wish them happy trails in their future and Stephanie has promised to provide us with updates on their retraining progress when it begins in the spring.

Anelina and Sundance the mini horse

Each member of the Emerald Racing Club will be receiving $178.08 unless otherwise specified (donation to Prodigious Fund or other).

A HUGE thank you to those of you that generously donated your portion to the Prodigious Fund. In total $2,760.24 was donated to the Prodigious Fund.

Checks are being mailed today!

The final financials for October, November and December are complete and a full statement of the account can be found here: Emerald Racing Club_Final Statement.

Financial Summary:


  • Board Bill for Anelina – $620 ($20/day for 31 days)


  • Board bill for Anelina – $730 ($20/day for 30 days)
  • Included Shoeing – pull and trim for $40
  • Vet visit – $90 from Sport Horse Medicine for treating an abscess


  • Board bill for $320 ($20/day for 16 days)

2015 Emerald Racing Club

The 2015 Emerald Racing Club will open to current members on January 2. I will be emailing and posting the new membership agreement at that time.

After January 31, the Club will open to new members. If you have not returned your membership form at that time, there is no guarantee that you will have a spot in the Club and it will go to a first come, first serve basis.

Thank you all for a great season and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

September Financials

We are down to the last few posts for the Club!

Complete September Financials are here along with updated September budget.

September was a quiet month financially. Dancing Yodeler was sold at the end of the month to Left Coast Thoroughbreds, a newly formed syndicate composed of current ERC members and their friends and family. They plan to lay Yodeler up for the winter and race him again next year in the barn of Sharon Ross. So if you are in the Club next year, you’ll likely see a familiar white blaze in the barn expecting some attention.

Because Yodeler did not race in September, there was no income besides his sale.

For expenses we had a lighter training bill because we were paying layup rate on Anelina for the entire month, and then started paying layup rate on Yodeler as well once it was determined he wouldn’t get in for the last weekend.

Vet bill was only $60 reflecting Anelina’s vaccination, and the worming was included on the training bill.

The party was the largest expense at $5,058.95 for 115 people. This was a guessing game as we had 150 people RSVP, had to guarantee at 115 but then we only had 60 show up. However, with Yodeler’s race not going, and the Seahawks playing it was expected that attendance would be light.

Where do we go from here?

Anelina will be laid up at the Ross farm until she finds a new home. We have an interested party that will likely take her in December or January. The board rate drops to $20 per day, so we can estimate $620/month for her board for the next few months.

Given the current balance on the account and anticipated expenses, we are expecting to return to each Emerald Racing Club member between $160 – $180.

To keep our accounting clean for next season, you have two options:

1) Donate your expected return directly to the Prodigious Fund – for retired racehorses


2) Receive your amount due in the form of a check upon transfer of Anelina to a new home and payment of all remaining expenses from the account.

Please email emeraldracingclub@gmail.com indicating your name and which option you’d prefer or respond in the comment section.


A reminder that if you’d like to participate in the Club next year that I will open registration to existing members in January, and then to the general public in February.

About the Prodigious Fund

I may have mentioned the Prodigious Fund in passing since it was part of our financial posts and $5 per start from Anelina and Dancing Yodeler benefited the fund.

The Prodigious Fund mission is to recognize and support positive efforts made within the Thoroughbred aftercare community for the re-homing, promotion and care of retired racehorses. The fund is administered by Emerald Downs and representatives from the WTBOA, WHBPA and Emerald Downs serve as board directors.

In 2014, the Prodigious Fund hosted the Thoroughbred Showcase, which included 43 Thoroughbreds looking for new homes, the 100-Day Trainer Challenge, and the Thoroughbred and Half-Thoroughbred Horse Show. In addition, Prodigious Fund was able to offer financial assistance to Second Chance Ranch.

The Thoroughbred and Half-Thoroughbred Horse Show took place this past Saturday and the following photos tell the story of these horses in their second careers better than I ever could!


100-Day Trainer Challenge participants Hot N’ Sauci and trainer Katie Peery. Katie is also a racehorse trainer and races at Emerald Downs and Portland Meadows under KP Stables.


Dr. Ramona Tingdale is one of the racetrack veterinarians at Emerald Downs and an avid Thoroughbred enthusiast.

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Madison Kniss, who is 12 years old, on her Thoroughbred Premeditated (race name Vote Often). The pair won dual high point for Green OTTB and English Pleasure.

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100-Day Trainer Challenge duo King of the Sky and Paige Wagter won the competition and $1,500. King of the Sky last raced in June.

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100-Day Trainer Challenge participant Shelby Ahrens and his mount Curried Matt won the freestyle. Curried Matt is a 3 year old gelding that raced one time.

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Race Medication

We’ve shared Anelina and Yodeler’s vet records and wanted to share a guest post by Dr. Everett Macomber DVM.

Currently, horse racing is regulated at the state level. Horse racing at Emerald Downs is regulated by the Washington Horse Racing Commission.

Dr. Everett Macomber DVM was appointed to the Washington Horse Racing Commission and has been an integral part of adopting parts of the Model Rules proposed by The Jockey Club. Below he offers some clarification into the debate between federal oversight for horse racing in the form of USADA and current drug testing practices done at the state level.

Equine Race Medication 2014 by Dr. Everett Macomber DVM

The Washington Horse Racing Commission is actively re-evaluating its medication policy in an effort to be consistent with a national medication policy suggested by the national organization, Racing Commissioners International (RCI).

Some in congress have suggested that horse racing medication regulation be placed under the control of the US Anti -Doping Agency (USADA). This organization regulates medication policy and testing requirements for human sporting events. In 2013 they conducted 9,197 doping control tests with approximately 99.55% determined to have no adverse analytical finding.

USADA has a budget of approximately 14 million dollars per year of which 9 million dollars comes from the federal government for drug testing through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Predicated on a budget of 14 Million divided by number of tests run, each test costs about $1,522.

The US horse racing industry in the year 2013 tested 340,932 biological samples with 99.65% of samples to have no vialative residue. Testing was done under the control of state racing commission jurisdiction and without tax payer subsidies.

It’s helpful to compare the regulatory performance of the two organizations;
This information was gleaned from the annual report of USADA and from official state racing commission records.

USADA                                Horse Racing

Drug Tests Performed Annually       8,500-9,100                            Over 340,000

Percent of Clear tests                             99.67%                                     99.6%

Testing Labs accredited to International Stds  Yes        Majority of Samples in  Acc. Labs

Narcotics allowed in competition       Yes, with approval                            No

Stimulants allowed in competition       Yes with approval                            No

Other substances allowed in competition      Yes, with approval               No

Therapeutic Meds allowed in competition    Yes, with approval       Only 1, Furosemide

Therapeutic disclosed to public               Never                                       Always

Researches emerging Threats             Yes          Yes, individually & through industry       consortium

We recognize that an infusion of funding may benefit the testing program, the USADA experience high- lites replicating the USADA level of expenditures would not necessarily result in more violations detected.


  • USADA program is much smaller than the program operated by State Racing Commissions.
  • USADA Labs are accredited to same ISO17025 standard as that met by racing labs testing the overwhelming majority of equine samples. (All racing labs are fully accredited, except Iowa and Louisiana. Texas and Michigan are currently in process of accreditation)
  • USADA spends considerably more on each sample tested to achieve comparable results.
  • The problems posed by cheaters using unknown substances or substances that cannot yet be detected and confirmed by a lab test affects all sports equally.
  • Exemptions allowed for athletes to compete under the influence of prohibited performance enhancing substances undisclosed to the public is not allowed in Horse racing.
  • Horse racing does not allow undisclosed metabolic compounds in the participant.
    The horse must be scratched or be subject to penalty if found in violation of medication rules.

If a horse requires medication that can affect performance, the horse is not allowed to compete as opposed to the human athlete with prior approval.

Horse racing tests for more substances and at deeper levels to ensure that drugs are not in the horse at levels that can influence performance and outcome.

There are redundant reviews to protect equine athletes and regulatory policy does not allow for undisclosed use of performance enhancing drugs.


If you’d like to learn more about the rules governing horse racing in the state of Washington, the Equine Medication Program is covered under WAC 260-70.

The following sections are covered in the Chapter:

WAC Sections

Definitions applicable to chapter 260-70 WAC.
Equine health and safety.
Veterinarians’ reports.
Prohibited practices.
Medication labeling.
Treatment restrictions.
All horses are subject to inspection.
Official veterinarian’s list.
Reporting to the test barn.
Sample collection.
Storage and shipment of split samples.
Medication restrictions.
Threshold levels.
Permitted medication.
Anti-ulcer medications.
Furosemide and bleeder lists.
Bicarbonate testing.
Uniform classification guidelines.
Alphabetical listing of all drugs, medications, and foreign substances.
Voiding track record.
Posterior digital neurectomy.
Postmortem examination.

If you have specific questions for Dr. Macomber, please leave them in the comments and we will forward to him for a response.

No Last Hurrah For Yodeler

There will be no “last hurrah” for Yodeler on Closing Weekend with both races that were entered on Saturday and Sunday not filling.

We were fortunate that this didn’t happen earlier in the season but unfortunate that we were unable to get one final race in.

Sharon is welcoming all visitors to the barn on Saturday and Sunday if you’d like to say goodbye to Yodeler and Anelina and give them a final pat or carrot.

Both will be shipping out on Monday to the Ross farm in Maple Valley.

An agreement has been reached to sell Dancing Yodeler to Left Coast Thoroughbreds LLC for his $3,500 claiming price. The group is mainly comprised of existing Emerald Racing Club members and some new owners.

They plan to rest Yodeler over the winter and race him at Emerald Downs next year. We wish them the best of success campaigning Yodeler in the future! Who knows, next year’s Club just might be racing against Yodeler. He’ll be tough to beat.


Anelina will go to Sharon’s farm for continued layup and rehab. We have had a Club member interested in offering her a home and we’ll be working on those details over the next month.

Her ankle continues to look good and she is being hand walked twice a day. Dr. Stenslie also makes farm visits to the Ross farm and will be able to continue to monitor her progress and recommend her exercise schedule.

Wrapping Up

We’ve got a few more blog posts to wrap up the first year of the Emerald Racing Club:

-September Financials

-Guest blog post by Dr. Everett Macomber on drug testing

-Final financials upon the transfer of Anelina to a good home

Next Year’s Club

I plan to open registration for the 2015 Emerald Racing Club to existing members in January. In February, I’ll open it to the general public.

You will be notified by email when registration opens.

We are extremely grateful that Sharon has accepted the opportunity to train for the Club in 2015.

If you have friends or family that would like to participate next year, please have them email emeraldracingclub@gmail.com to be put on the notification list.

Additional Questions

If you have any additional questions please ask them in the comments or send an email to emeraldracingclub@gmail.com.

Thank you for making this new endeavor such a wonderful experience for myself and for all the staff here at Emerald Downs. Our staff got so much enjoyment out of watching Yodeler and Anelina race for the Club. You were truly part of something special.

I sincerely enjoyed getting to know each of you and relished the opportunity to partake in your journey in racehorse ownership! We shared a lot of ups and downs and in my career in racing, this has been the most satisfying and rewarding project I have ever been a part of (and that includes being on the team for the 2007 Breeders’ Cup). So THANK YOU!











Yodeler Will Not Run Sunday

Yodeler’s race did not “fill” today and was not carded for Sunday. Yodeler was the only horse entered.

There are no more races for him in the condition book for the remainder of the season, but there is hope that the racing secretary will write an “extra” that he would fit.

So what happened to his competition? How could they suddenly disappear or not race?

A couple things have happened.

1) His current competition moved up or down in class to find a race. An example of this is on Friday in race 5, War Wizard and Marvin’s Magic – both horses he has raced against in the past – are entered in a 6 furlong race for $5,000 – $4,000 claimers.

2) His current competition still meet non-winners conditions. An example of this also is on Friday, race 7, a $3,500 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs restricted to horses that have not won two races since April 12, 2014 or have never won four races.

Essentially, Yodeler has outraced his competition and now finds himself alone. It happens, but it is more common at the end of a season when horses are trying to get one last start in.

Fingers crossed for one final start. Either way, Yodeler is due a rest at the farm. He has not been turned out since he started racing and will enjoy a vacation.


The party on Sunday, September 21 will still take place. I’ll accept RSVP until end of day today. Thank you to those that have already done so.

The list of those that have RSVP’d will be at the tent for check-in. If your name isn’t on the list, you will not be granted admission regardless of whether or not you are a Club member.

General admission tickets will be left at the Will Call Window under Emerald Racing Club on Sunday even though Yodeler is not racing.

See you all Sunday!



August Financials

August Financials are complete. Dancing Yodeler earned $3,890 in August with his one victory and one fourth place finish.

Updated budget is here: August Budget.

August Statement and Bills include monthly account statement, training bill and vet bills (Sport Horse Medicine and Cavalli Equine).

Training bill was $3,539.20 and shows the reduction in the day rate for Anelina when she injured her ankle.

The vet bills reflect the usual treatment pattern we’ve come to see for Yodeler with joint health supplements, and race day administration of lasix.

The only new item you’ll see on August 22 was an injection of vitamin B12. It’s the same vitamin that humans take and helps alleviate fatigue.



Upcoming Events and Yodeler’s Next Race

WHBPA Annual Member Meeting

The WHBPA (Washington Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association) is holding their annual membership meeting on Thursday, September 18 at 6:30 pm refreshments and meeting to follow. It is at the WTBOA Sales Pavilion at the North end of Emerald Downs Drive.

It is requested that you RSVP to the WHBPA Office by Monday, September 15 so they can plan food accordingly. 253-804-6822 or email contactus@whbpa.com.

As a licensed owner, you are a member of the WHBPA. To learn more about their work, click here.

Yodeler’s Next Race

There is a race in the new condition book for Yodeler on Sunday, September 21. It is number 15 in the Book – a $3,500 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs. He will be entered on Thursday, September 18.

Since the race isn’t for another week, Sharon has planned a work for him this Sunday at 9:30 am if you’d like to watch him train.

Party! – Sunday, September 21

In conjunction with Yodeler’s last race, we will be hosting a party in the Trackside Tents for the Emerald Racing Club to celebrate a successful season.

party hat

You and one guest are welcome to attend, but we require an RSVP. If you do not RSVP, you will not have access to the tent and buffet (but are certainly welcome in the usual areas).

Please RSVP by Thursday, September 18. This is open to Emerald Racing Club Members plus +1.

Party includes: seating in the trackside tent, track program, and buffet meal.

BBQ Beef Sandwiches and Grilled Chicken Breast served with Mac & Cheese, housemade potato chips and dip, coleslaw, Emerald green salad, fresh and marinated vegetable platter with Ranch dip, sliced watermelon and assorted dessert bars & cookies.

  • Tents open 1 pm
  • First race 2 pm
  • Food served 3 – 4 pm
  • Cash bar available

If Yodeler’s race does not fill, or if he scratches for some unforeseen reason, we will still have the party. I look forward to seeing you all there!