Open Enrollment Time!


We still have room for you in the 2017 Emerald Racing Club!

Open enrollment began Thursday–meaning newcomers and returnees alike are now eligible to register for the Club. It looks like we have a great balance of newcomers and veterans in 2017!

I’m trying to email everyone individually as each account is processed, and returnees should begin hearing from me this week. Every couple of days I send Jan Baze in the racing office and Debbie Hopkins of the Washington Horse Racing Commission an updated list of ERC members for 2017. This lets them know when you’re clear to get your WHRC license. (Current licensing hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday thru Friday).

Our main objective now is to acquire horses for the Emerald Racing Club. Nothing yet, but we’re looking hard.

Orientation will be Sunday, April 9, 12 p.m. at Emerald Downs. You all will be notified via email with the specifics of the event.

I’m generally at Emerald Downs Monday to Friday and you’re free to visit my office on the 6th floor. I’ll be happy to walk you back to the stables and show you where the Ross and Puhich barns are located and answer any other questions.

I hope you enjoy the remainder of President’s Day weekend!

Speaking of which, one good thing about lousy weather is that it allows me to catch up on my reading. And while thumbing through a defunct horse publication called Classic, I stumbled upon a quote attributed to 94-year-old Tom Clay, a lifelong horseman asked how he had endured a rough and tumble profession.

“People are always asking me the key to longevity,” he said. “The main thing, obviously, is to take care of myself. But I also give credit to the horses. They are tonic for the soul; the most honest creatures God put on this planet. Unless some damn fool spoils it, most any horse will give his best in a race, working on a ranch or on a trail.”

2017 Emerald Racing Club Registration

Happiness Is A Happy ERC!


Several of you have raised some excellent points regarding our new registration policy for 2017. In fact, I’ve received phone calls, emails and letters expressing disappointment that newcomers get first crack at registration, mainly wondering why we chose to institute a new policy without fair warning.

It’s a point well taken and one that should have been explained better when we began 2017 registration last week.

First of all, it’s a tribute to ERC founder Sophia McKee for creating something people are so passionate about and also trainer Sharon Ross for skilfully developing the horses while making the barn so accessible and enjoyable for club members. In short, Sophia created something so fun and affordable that people are returning in droves every year.

That’s great! I have been amazed and heartened by the enthusiastic membership of the Club; you folks support the horses win or lose. In discussing the future of the Club with Emerald Downs’ President Phil Ziegler, however, we examined the long-range goals and simply thought newcomers should be allowed a short window to be first up for 2017. One of the club missions is to hopefully develop new owners and new fans for Thoroughbred racing and Emerald Downs.

But we don’t wish to exclude anybody and have even discussed the possibility of separate clubs for newcomers and returnees. For this year, though, I’m pretty confident in saying there’s room for everybody who wants to return in 2017!



Announcing 2017 Emerald Racing Club!


Archie Graham returns to Ross barn, February 2, 2017

Emerald Racing Club Returns

For the fourth consecutive year Emerald Downs will have a racing club composed of 200 (maximum) Thoroughbred enthusiasts.

Registration for the 2017 Emerald Racing Club began Thursday and please note first-time club members have priority until February 15.

Cost remains only $500, with Larry and Sharon Ross and Mike Puhich our trainers for 2017. Simply complete the attached registration form below and you’re on board for 2017!

We can’t wait to get started and look forward to seeing everyone at the races!

Founded in 2014, Emerald Racing Club has compiled a 7-4-3 record in 24 starts including two wins last season by Archie Graham.

Here are just some of the benefits of becoming a member:

• Ownership in Thoroughbreds competing at Emerald Downs. Our 2017 season runs April 8 through September 17.

• Official Owner License issued by the Washington Horse Racing Commission ($108 value)

• Free admission for the entire season ($490 value)

• Owner Parking Pass ($490 value)

• Access to the restricted backstretch area to watch your racehorse train

• Paddock access on race day

• Guest passes to bring your friends and show off your racehorse!

• No hidden costs, no additional training fees or bills

Here is the official registration form:

2017 Emerald Racing Club Registration

Pictured: Archie Graham won two races for Emerald Racing Club in 2017 and is back with Larry and Sharon Ross for the 2017 season. Now owned by Left Coast Thoroughbreds, the 5-year-old gelding’s charming personality and considerable racing talent made Archie a big hit with ERC.