Charlie Thomas Sold

Charlie Thomas was sold at the end of September to a small group of current and past Club members that will continue to campaign him in California at Golden Gate. If you have him on your stable mail, then you will continue to get alerts when he works or races.

While we had set the initial price at $20,000 as explained in the prior blog, we ended up selling him for $15,000 to this group. They had less people willing to participate than originally anticipated and since the aim of the Emerald Racing Club is to introduce people to racehorse ownership, we felt it was furthering this aim to make this adjustment to Charlie’s price for the group.

I believe they still have two 5% shares available so please email if you’d like to be involved and I will put you in touch with Jim Engstrom from Left Coast Thoroughbreds who put the group together.

You can find the notarized Bill of Sale_Charlie Thomas. This was then taken to the Washington Horse Racing Commission so they could register the transfer. Charlie’s official Jockey Club Registration Papers have been on file in the racing office, and this change in ownership is recorded on them. The papers then travel with Charlie to California so he is eligible to race there.

Final Financials

We are still awaiting final bills to close out the Club and reach a final determination on how much will be paid back to Club members. 100% of the funds are returned to you.

I should have those all complete at the end of October.

You’ll have three choices for payout:

  1. Put the balance toward next year’s Club membership
  2. Donate to the Prodigious Fund for Retired Racehorses
  3. Take a check for the amount

Details for this will be sent out in the final financials email later this month. Registration for next year’s Club will open to existing members in January and then open to the general public in February.


Final Try

We made one final attempt to get a race for Charlie. He was entered in extra 3 for Sunday, September 27. The race was a $25,000 claimer going 1 1/16th.

2015-09-24 14.50.39

As you can see from the entry board, the race only had 3 in it and did not go for Sunday.

Many of you have asked, “Where have all the horses gone?” Specifically, Charlie’s competition.

If you’ve been following the races, you likely already know the answer, but for the rest of you, I went back and pulled his competition and took a look at where they’ve gone to.

From August 8, $25,000 claimer going a mile (Charlie finished second)

Coach Royal

  • 8/30 Allowance where he finished 5th
  • 9/13 for $25,000 Claimer going 6 1/2 furlongs where he finished 5th

Kiss Sin Goodbye

  • 8/22 $15,000 claimer going 1 mile, finished 1st

Polish Dollar

  • 8/28 for $25,000 claimer going 6 furlongs, finished 7th

Southern Solution

  • 8/22 for $15,000 claiming going 1 mile, finished 3rd
  • 9/7 for $10,000 claiming going 6 furlongs, finished 7th

Until You

  • 8/29 for $15,000 claiming going 6 furlongs, finished 3rd
  • 9/13 ran in the Muckleshoot Tribal Classic going 1 1/16, finished 5th and last.

A number of items jump out when looking at his competition and that is most of them went down the claiming ladder. Which would make sense since they were unsuccessful at the $25,000 level against Charlie.

The other item that jumps out is that those that stayed at the 25K level had to sprint. We all know after our failed first outing with Charlie that he simply is not a sprinter and he requires two turns to be successful.

So let’s go back one more race and look at the $15,000 Claiming horses that Charlie beat on July 11:

Rocky’s Quest

  • 7/25 – $15K going 1 1/16 miles, did not finish. Horse stumbled, lost rider and hit the inside rail. He was injured and is recovering.

Kiss Sin Goodbye – see above.


  • 7/25 for 15K at 1 1/16 mile, finished 2nd
  • 8/14 for 15K at 6 1/2f, finished 6th
  • 8/29 for 15K at 6 f, finished 8th

St Nicholas Abby

  • 8/1 for $12.5K at 6 1/2f, finished 3rd (Tribal Waters beat)
  • 8/16 for $12.5K at 6f, finished 8th
  • 9/7 for $10K at 6 f, finished 8th
  • 9/18 Starter Alw/$10K at 6 f, finished 7th


  • 10K at 1 1/16 miles, finished 1st
  • 9/12 for $15K at 1 mile, finished 3rd

Oldtimers Vision

  • 7/25 for $15K at 1 1/16 miles, finished 3rd
  • 8/14 for $15K at 6 1/2f, finished 3rd
  • 8/22 for $15K at 1 mile, finished 2nd
  • 9/12 for $15K at 1 mile, finished 5th

Even from this race there was only one horse that moved up and that was Kiss Sin Goodbye who Charlie saw in his next race. This is also the only horse that has continued to enter the $25K level going long with Charlie.

Charlie essentially outran his competition. His competition either remained at the $15,000 claiming level or shortened up to sprints in order to run.

If he ran back at the $15,000 level after finishing second for $25,000, we can make a safe assumption that he would have been claimed. And given that Tribal Waters was claimed, we wanted to keep Charlie at a level that he could run at and hopefully not get claimed.

So what happens to Charlie now?

Those of you that have expressed an interest in continued ownership of Charlie have been connected and we have offered Charlie to this group for $20,000. A fair price given his successful run at the $25,000 level, but a bit less than his last claiming price so this new group of owners can have an opportunity to acquire a good horse and embark on their own ownership. He’s fit and ready to run and should be able to have a good run in California over the winter.

The sale is not complete. We are giving this new group time to meet, discuss financials and evaluate their participation. Everyone needs to be comfortable with their expectations and have their questions answered before committing because ownership is a huge personal responsibility.

Party Update

Most important item – Seahawks game WILL BE on one of the big flat screen tvs in the tent.

  • Tent will be available at 1 pm, first race 2 pm
  • Food served 3 pm – 4 pm.
  • BBQ Beef Sandwiches
  • garlic and herb roasted chicken
  • mashed potatoes and gravy
  • housemade potato chips with dip
  • BLT salad
  • Fresh and marinated vegetable platter with ranch dip
  • watermelon tray
  • fresh baked cookies
  • beverage station and cash bar

If you’ve RSVP’d (see previous blog), then I’ve got you on my list. I’ll see you there!

Save the Date

The fun isn’t over yet. You’ve been personally invited by El Dorado Farms to attend their Open House and Stallion Presentation on Sunday, October 4.

More details to come.








Party RSVP

Please click here to RSVP for the party.

Event is open to ERC member plus two guests so please indicate how many in your party when you RSVP.

Races start at 2 pm on Sunday, September 27. Party will take place in the Trackside Tents rain or shine. It may be a little cool, so please dress appropriately. Non-alcoholic beverages and food will be provided.

See you all soon!


Race Doesn’t Fill – Charlie Will Not Run This Weekend


Charlie was entered in “Book 9” for Sunday, September 20. Book 9 was a $25,000 Claiming Race for three year olds and upward going one mile.

As you can see from the board, only one horse entered (Charlie) and the race was called off.

As of now, there are no further races in the condition book for three year olds and upward going long. So unless another extra race is written, Charlie Thomas is done racing for the season.

He has been entered every weekend for the past three weekends and unfortunately, the races just didn’t have enough horses to make them go.

Charlie Thomas will be sold privately. There is a small spin-off group from the Emerald Racing Club that is interested in purchasing him to continue running in California over the winter. If you are interested and have not yet emailed me, please do so at and I’ll put you in contact with the group.

Year End Party

The Emerald Racing Club year-end party is set for Sunday, September 27. An RSVP will be posted later this weekend so we can get a count on who can make it.

Thoroughbred Showcase – Saturday, September 19

Being a responsible racehorse owner means being responsible for your horse after their career has concluded. In the case of Charlie Thomas, he is fit and ready to continue racing and will be sold for that purpose so we don’t have to face the retirement question. But what if we did?

What happens when your horse can no longer race and you need to retire it? Not all horses are suitable for the breeding shed.

It is your responsibility as an owner to find the horse a good home, and plan for supporting the horse financially for however long that may take. Often, your trainer can assist in marketing the horse and helping to find it a good home but the ultimate responsibility falls to you – the owner.

Buyers are seeking different things when shopping for an off the track Thoroughbred (OTTB). Thoroughbreds can do just about anything, but the biggest demand comes from eventing, hunter/jumpers and dressage. And these buyers want a SOUND horse, meaning a horse without injuries that would prevent it from partaking in the rider’s chosen discipline.

If a racehorse continues to race with injuries, their after racing value drops in the eyes of the OTTB buyer. It becomes the responsibility of the owner to decide when the right time is to retire their horse with consideration for their quality of life and ability to continue on in a second career.

For that purpose the Prodigious Fund (remember the $5 payment to Thoroughbred Retirement?) is hosting the Thoroughbred Showcase. This is an event to bring together prospective buyers with horses looking for new homes.

The event is Saturday, September 19 and is held in the temporary stalls at Emerald Downs. We have 27 horses entered in the Showcase and expect 50 prospective buyers to be shopping for their new partner. The event is open to the public and begins at 9 am. (Available horses are posted at Consider making time to come to the Showcase. You’ll see some familiar names of horses that were running this year, and you’ll even see Starlet of Seattle, who was racing around Griffin Place when we went for farm visits.

Starlet of Seattle - a 12 year old broodmare ready for a new career. She'll be available for viewing at the Thoroughbred Showcase.

Starlet of Seattle – a 12 year old broodmare ready for a new career. She’ll be available for viewing at the Thoroughbred Showcase.



No Racing For Charlie This Weekend

Despite multiple attempts, the races for Charlie did not fill so he will not be racing this weekend. We had the same situation last week when Charlie was entered and he was the only horse entered in his race.

We will try again next weekend.

Just a note on barn visits – Sharon is going for knee surgery next week so she will not be at the barn in case you were planning to visit. Arturo will be in charge so if you visit, please be respectful of the barn help and know that they may be attending to other things.

A reminder to use caution around the horses. Charlie has been getting a bit spoiled and I know he tried to bite after the treats ran out!

Save the Date -ERC Year-End Party

Save the date for Sunday, September 27 for the Emerald Racing Club year end party in the trackside tents! More details will be forthcoming as it gets closer.

Win Photos

The win photo from Tribal Waters last race is available from the track photographer. Contact Erin Palmer 503-380-0430 or stop in the track photographers office.

Erin was also able to get some photos of Charlie training this past week. Sharon reports he is training well and ready to run if we can get a race.

_J3T4257 _J3T4258



Syndicates and Partnerships

Syndicates and Partnerships

A “syndicate” is a group of individuals combined to own a horse. Any horse could be “syndicated.”

Historically, in horse racing, racehorses were owned by a single person or organization/farm. You could easily see why it was called the Sport of Kings given the costs of racehorse ownership that we’ve been reviewing monthly.

The most famous syndication was when Secretariat was retired to stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. He was syndicated as a stallion for 32 shares at a total price of over $6 million dollars. No word on the syndication price for American Pharoah.



We could also classify the Emerald Racing Club as a syndicate. With 188 owners, you each owned .53% of the horses.

Syndicates evolved to spread the costs of racehorse ownership among multiple individuals. It’s a great way to “buy-in” on a racehorse without huge financial outlay and you can find the level that is appropriate for you – whether it’s 50% ownership share, or just 5% ownership share.

Say for example, a group of you got together to buy a yearling. That’s a syndicate. Or one person could purchase a yearling and then seek out partners to campaign the horse – that would also be a syndicate.

A syndicate or partnership would be a logical next step if you’d like to continue to dabble in racehorse ownership outside the realm of the Emerald Racing Club.

For your convenience, we’ve gathered together a list of 2015 Syndicate and Partnerships that race at Emerald Downs and the contact person. This is by no means a complete list, but it is a starting point. Each syndicate is a bit different, so find the one that is right for you!

Here are some questions to consider to enter a syndicate responsibly:

  • Ask questions! It’s your money and you are entitled to know how it’s being spent. What percent of the horse will you own? What percent of expenses will you pay?
  • Understand the structure – who will make the decisions regarding the horse? Is there a syndicate manager? Will the trainer make the decisions? Or will it go to the person with the majority interest in the horse?
  • What expenses are involved, how much will you owe, and what can you earn back?
  • What type of horse or horses do you want to own? A yearling that may take two or three years to make it to the racetrack (if it makes it)? An actively racing horse? A first time starter?
  • Will you be able to visit your horse? Is this important to you?
  • Where will the horses race? If it’s important to you to see your horse race in person, then a local syndicate is a good option.

Some of you have indicated a desire to further your interests in racehorse ownership, be it this year or in the future.

Missing Tribal Waters? Want to claim him? Consider putting together your own ownership group!

If you could email me at, I will begin putting you in touch with each other in case you’d like to band together to start your own partnership.


I also wanted to pass along an excellent video series produced in the UK “How to Make a Racehorse.” It follows four youngsters as they develop for the races and is quite a good little online series. Keep in mind some of the terminology and methodology is a bit different in Europe versus the US.

Tribal Waters Wins, Is Claimed

Tribal Waters did it again! Tribal Waters won the 9th race under jockey Leslie Mawing.

Full chart here.

You can watch the replay at > Racing > Race Replays.

Tribal Waters was claimed out of the race by John Parker and goes to Candi Tollett’s barn.

Photos will be posted later this week. Based by the crowd in the win photo – I believe most of you saw the race in person!



Paddock List for Sunday

Please meet by the paddock immediately following the running of the 8th race.

Paddock List for Sunday, August 16:

  • Kris Kierulff
  • Rober Crowe
  • Maggie Kenison
  • Dennis Erwood
  • Rob Young
  • Devin Ganwich
  • Andrea Talkington
  • Marilyn Holmberg
  • Becky Hunter
  • Jeff Campbell
  • Gina Goodyear
  • Gerald Boures
  • Jennifer Hallett
  • Jennifer Gans
  • Zee Straight-Weiss
  • Rick Dalzell
  • Brad Meyer

Railbird Rally

If you are chomping at the bit for the Mile, be sure to attend the Railbird Rally. It runs 11 am – 1 pm in the Park. It’s a fun mix of handicapping talk and special guest speakers. Admission is $5 or free with your Rewards card (swipe at kiosk for your ticket voucher).

See you tomorrow!

Tribal Waters to Run Mile Day

Tribal Waters is entered to run on Sunday, August 16 – Mile Day. He is in the 9th race (The Mile is race 8), and will break from post position 8 of 8 horses under jockey Leslie Mawing.

Overnight is here.

The race is a claiming $12,500 – $10,000 for three-year-olds and up for non-winners of two.

But if we look at Tribal Waters Past Performances we see that he’s actually won three races! So how can he be eligible?

Let’s look at the extra race as it appeared on the overnight:


In parentheses it reads “(Maiden races, Claiming Races and Starter Races for $10,000 or Less Not Considered)”.

Based on that, his first victory on May 24, 2014 doesn’t count. And, because his second win on May 2, 2015 was for $6,250, that also doesn’t count.

Which means based on the conditions of the race, the only win that counts was his most recent victory for $12,500 claiming. He meets the requirements!

Paddock List

RSVP for the Paddock by Saturday, August 15 at 5 pm. Again, preference will be given to those that have not been in the paddock yet, and then will go to random draw to fill any remaining slots. Honor system please.

Paddock list will be posted to the blog Saturday evening.

Mile Day is a special day and will be extremely busy. Seating in the horsemens section is based on a first come, first serve basis and please be aware that other sections that are normally open may be sold.

Breakfast at the Wire


Breakfast at the Wire is Saturday from 8 am – 10 am. Will Brewer, president of the WTBOA will be a special guest and will be talking about the yearling sale. He’ll cover how to read a catalog page as well as other tips for taking in the sale.

He also graciously offered to walk around with any ERC member that would like to learn more hands on during the yearling preview. He’ll be busy during the sale Tuesday, but Will has a wealth of knowledge to share. So be sure to seek him out if you go see the yearlings between tomorrow and Tuesday! And for transparency, Will does not have any horses in the sale and has offered his services for educational purposes only.

The Mile – Sunday, August 16

Reed (273)

Around here it’s simply referred to as “The Mile.” The richest race in the Northwest, the Longacres Mile’s purse is $200,000 and it is the only graded Stakes race at Emerald Downs.

“Graded” refers to an assignment of Grade I, Grade II, or Grade III (also Grade 1, 2 or 3).

A race is assigned it’s “graded status” by the American Graded Stakes Committee. All grades issued, denied, or altered are voted upon by a quorum of the Committee at a duly called meeting. A quorum, for the purpose of grading races, is a majority of TOBA (Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association) members on the Committee and a majority of Racing Officials on the Committee. Eight affirmative votes are required to upgrade any race and six affirmative votes are required to downgrade a race.

In a nutshell, grading is based on purse money, quality of horses competing over time, and establishment of the race. You can read more about the criteria here.

Stakes races, and in particular The Mile, function differently than a normal race.

1) There’s a nomination process. In the case of The Mile, nominations closed Sunday, August 2.

2) There is a nomination fee of $250. A horse must be nominated in order to be eligible to enter.

3) Once the list of nominated horses is complete, then the racing secretary assigns the weights. This is what constitutes a “handicap” because the horses are assigned weights based on their past performances. Theoretically, the best horse receives the highest weight, and the least competitive horse receives the lowest. The aim is to level the playing field and make the race as competitive as possible.

4) Weights are released Saturday, August 8 with “high weights preferred.” This means that if more than 12 horses enter, the twelve with the highest weights will get preference.

5) Regular entries are taken on Wednesday, August 12. An additional $1,500 is due at entry. Once entries are closed, we have the ceremonial “post position draw”.

6) On race day, an additional $1,500 is required to start. The additional entry fees all go into the purse.

The above process is specific to the Mile and is outlined in the condition book. The Mile is a unique race with tremendous history behind it. The Mile is the culmination of a series of Stakes for three-year-olds and up: the Governor’s Handicap (May 17), Budweiser Handicap (June 14), Mt Rainier Handicap (July 19).

Last year the Ross’ won the Mile with Stryker Phd and they are looking to defend that title on Sunday. If you’d like to keep up to date on everything Mile, head on over to

Reed (203)

Stryker Phd captures the 2014 Longacres Mile under Leslie Mawing.

Mile T-Shirt Giveaway

And don’t forget that the first 5,000 fans receive an American Pharoah Triple Crown T-Shirt! You’ll have to go through the admission gates to get your voucher so if you plan to walk up from the Quarter Chute, you’ll miss the voucher.







You may have heard the term “conformation” many times as we refer to Charlie or TW. And as we move into the yearling sale, you’ll hear it even more frequently.

“Conformation” simply refers to how the horse is “conformed” or built. Just like us, all horses are built differently. The reason we are so concerned with conformation is that it can ultimately affect performance and efficiency of movement.

Are you pigeon-toed, splayed footed? Walk like a duck? If you have any of these conformation “faults” then you may put stress on your joints and be more prone to injury. The same applies to horses. It’s not to say that a horse with one of these faults can’t be successful or fast, it just may mean that they may be more susceptible to injury because of their structure.

When the “experts” talk about conformation, they are tending to compare to certain ideal standards. They are also looking for proportion and balance. Both lend themselves to performance.

I’ve included some diagrams here as a reference. Forgive the spelling mistakes on the images – I pulled these from elsewhere online.

Leg Conformation 

horse-front-leg horse-rear-leg

This video was produced by Purdue University students to explain conformation and is worth a watch even though it isn’t Thoroughbred specific. Good conformation is applicable for all breeds and disciplines (this video won’t display in your email, so visit to watch it within the blog).

It is perhaps easiest to talk conformation when you are able to make comparisons. For this, see the image below and weigh in on which order you’d place them in based on their conformation!


Have your favorite? Check this link for the expert’s evaluation of these three horses and see if you picked correctly!