Racehorse ownership – first steps

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

Well, first we’ll need somebody to train our horse. And 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? We did it the old school way, putting pen to paper and listing 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 50 to 100 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. 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.

Larry and Sharon Ross begin the new Emerald Downs season with a moderate sized stable of about two dozen horses (1/2 in CA, 1/2 in WA). The smaller stable means the Ross’ can accommodate our Emerald Racing Club members while not disrupting the daily barn routine.

To that end, 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 13, and post a blog for those unable to attend).

And because we will provide weekly blogs by our media team would visit for regular updates, this was an important element to have an open line of communication.

About that history of success, a quick glance at the Emerald Downs Media Guide highlights the trainers’ tremendous success and achievements:

· 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 candidate, 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. As of today there are 73 confirmed members in the Club.