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

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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

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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!


Charlie Thomas Runs Second

Charlie gave us a thrill with another game effort to finish second to Coach Royal – a horse that is now 4 for 4 for the meet.

Full chart is here.

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

And a special congratulations to Mary Beth and Jim Perkins (Aithon Stable LLC), members of the 2014 Emerald Racing Club, who won the Washington Oaks with their fine filly Belle Hill.

almost charlie2 tongues

Yearling Sale

Tuesday, August 18 is the WTBOA Annual Yearling and Mixed Sale. The sale is open to the public and takes place at the MJ Alhadeff Sales Pavilion located at the North end of the Emerald Downs property (instead of turning at the stop sign by the Quarterchute Cafe, continue North and you’ll see the building). The sale starts at 2 pm.

The seating is free and completely open, no reservations required. You are permitted to move freely from the sales pavilion to walking area to barn area. Just don’t sit in the very front rows as they are typically reserved.

There are hot dogs and beverages available for purchase. Children are welcome as well but must be watched and be well-behaved as the yearlings can be very jumpy and they need to perform their best for potential buyers.

Viewing of yearlings takes place beginning Saturday, August 15, 8 am – 4 pm up until the time of the sale. The viewing can be accessed through the NORTH stable gate located right near the Pavilion. Then walk straight back to the temporary stalls (white barns) where they are all housed.

If you’d like a catalog, pop in at the WTBOA offices located adjacent to the Sales Pavilion and they have them available. They are free. The catalog is also available online.

Many of the yearlings also have their photos posted.

If you’ve never been to a sale before, take a quick look at this video of Zenyatta selling as a yearling at Keeneland (if you are viewing this in your email, the video won’t show. Visit the blog to see the videos)

In the Thoroughbred industry the sales are the main mechanism for owners to acquire racehorses. A sale may be for yearlings, two-year-olds in training, horses of racing age, breeding stock, or mixed sale. The WTBOA sale is primarily for yearlings (hip # 1 – 105) and then has a small number of horses in the mixed sale (hip # 200 – 208). The hip number is referred to as such because an identification sticker is placed on the horse’s hip. The horse is then referred to as “hip #1”.

The horses you’ll see at the sale include the yearlings that you saw on the farm tours earlier this spring. If you took a fancy to one of them, you may bid on the horse!

Sales can be exciting and are fun to watch. In order not to be overwhelmed, pick out a couple of horses from the catalog that you like. Maybe you recognize the name of the sire or dam or even remember them racing at Emerald Downs. Then go view that yearling in the stable area and be sure to watch it go through the ring to see how much money it sells for.

A couple of you expressed an interest in possibly forming a partnership to purchase a yearling. If this is of interest, please send me an email at and I’ll get you all in communication with one another.

As it gets closer, there are also a few members of the WTBOA board that have volunteered to walk Emerald Racing Club members around and show you the yearlings.

Hip 28 is a colt by Atta Boy Roy out of 2011 Broodmare of the Year Peaceful Wings. Sold by Blue Ribbon Farm.

Hip 28 is a colt by Atta Boy Roy out of 2011 Broodmare of the Year Peaceful Wings. Sold by Blue Ribbon Farm.

Paddock List for Saturday, August 8

Paddock List:

  • Joe Hawks
  • Brian Guenther
  • Vicki Wilson
  • John Pierce
  • Laura Doerfler
  • Joan Jones
  • Jason Matthews
  • Marla Kay Ray
  • Jeremy Chung
  • Jet Parrett
  • Christi Walkley
  • Larry Streck
  • Debra Westwood
  • Vicki Wilson
  • Dan O’Brien
  • Jennifer Hallett
  • Kathleen Glassburn
  • Lauren St. Pierre
  • Kris Jackson
  • Chad Fischer
  • Scott Hutchison

Please meet by the paddock immediately following the 7th race.

A reminder to everyone that Breakfast at the Wire runs 8 am – 10 am tomorrow morning. So if you want to come out for breakfast and to watch training it’s the perfect time to do so.

Please note that Saturday and Sunday is the EmD 3-on-3 Basketball tournament so the north Preferred Lot is being used for the tournament.

See you tomorrow!

Charlie Thomas to race Saturday, August 8

Charlie Thomas is in!

He is entered in the 8th race on Saturday, August 8. It is a $25,000 – $22,500 claiming race going one mile. He has jockey Leslie Mawing aboard.

This is a “step up in class” for Charlie. While it’s only a six horse field, he’ll be running against Coach Royal, Polish Dollar, Until You, Kiss Sin Goodbye, and Southern Solution. These are all horses that have been competing at this level all year.

Paddock List

We had a short list for the paddock last weekend so I’m opening up the RSVP for everyone. I’ve added a question to indicate if you’ve been in the paddock already this year and first time visitors will get preference. For everyone else, we’ll start over with a random draw again and start a new cycle.

RSVP by clicking here (I made some edits, so if it doesn’t work, please let me know right away).

Paddock list will be posted here on Friday night.

Tribal Waters Update

TW came out of his race in great shape and is back on the track training this week.

Tribal Waters Wins

Tribal Waters won!

Tribal Waters lay in third throughout the early stages of the race and then made a late run to win by a comfortable three lengths. Full chart here.

If you’d like to relive the race again you can find it under>Racing>Race Replays.

Also, because it was the feature race of the day, you’ll find the recap story at the end of this post.

The win capped an emotional day for the Emerald Racing Club with the earlier retirement ceremony for Dancing Yodeler.


Tribal Waters leads the field down the homestretch.


Tribal Waters at the finish line with jockey Leslie Mawing.

_V2U9424_MG_0005If you’d like to order the win photo (or additional photos of TW, Charlie or Yodeler), you may do so by visiting the Track Photographer. They are located on the first floor of the Grandstand immediately to your left before you exit the admission gates. They are here during race days. Erin Palmer can be reached by calling 503-380-0430.

DVDs may be order by calling Customer Service at 253-288-7711 or by visiting the Customer Service booth on Track Level.


A fond farewell to the first Emerald Racing Club horse – Dancing Yodeler. Officially retired by Left Coast Thoroughbreds.

The following story is from our media department and is posted on


AUBURN, Wash. (August 1, 2015) – Tribal Waters surged late and scored a three-length victory Saturday in the $13,600 Muckleshoot Casino Purse for 3-year-olds and up.

The pride of the 188-member Emerald Racing Club, Tribal Waters ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:15.98 and paid $11.20, $4.40 and $2.60. Leslie Mawing rode the winner for trainers Larry and Sharon Ross.

That makes four wins for Emerald Racing Club in just two seasons—Dancing Yodeler won twice last year, and Charlie Thomas and Tribal Waters each have a victory this year. In fact, Dancing Yodeler, the 7-year-old gelding that thrilled ERC with two come-from-behind victories last year, was given a special retirement ceremony between races Saturday.

Mawing, who has ridden all four ERC winners, said the strategy Saturday was to lay behind speedsters St Nicholas Becky and Tribal Waters.

“The plan was just to lay off the two speed horses and make one big move,” Mawing said. “It worked out perfectly.”

Tribal Waters made his move in mid-stretch, overtaking St Nicholas Becky and Cinematic Cat, then holding off Raspberry Ala Mode for the victory.

A 4-year-old California-bred colt by Tribal Rule, Tribal Waters was acquired privately in Northern California, having been scouted by Larry Ross at Golden Gate Fields. Saturday marked Tribal Waters’ third start at Emerald Downs, with the win upping his lifetime mark to 3-1-1 in 13 starts and the $7,480 winner’s share boosting his earnings to $48,153.

Raspberry Ala Mode, ridden by Diego Sanchez, closed ground to finish second and paid $4.80 and $2.80.

St Nicholas Becky, ridden by Gallyn Mitchell, held third and paid $2.40. Zoomzoomania and Cinematic Cat completed the order of finish; Fable Haven was a late scratch.