Monday, October 16, 2006

women jockeys

? Why aren't there more women jockeys?

Women jockeys don't seem to last very long at the top levels, Julie Krone is the last one that I remember and she is now retired, but there are a few around, mostly at smaller tracks. It's still a man's world at the track, you have to be a tough woman to make it in any job around the racetrack, and a woman jockey has to be tough as nails.

What I notice about women riders is that since they can't and wouldn't be inclined to try to use muscle to get a horse to do what they want, they find a way to control horses with finesse instead. I think this makes for a better racehorse and usually also a more physically sound racehorse, because the horses don't use the wrong energy fighting their rider. There are many female exercise riders, at least in Kentucky. Being an exercise rider is still a hard life though for a man or a woman.

trainers don't seem to want "green" owners

? It seems like many trainers don't want to spend time with first time owners, I've been brushed off quite a few times when approaching a potential trainer that I'd like to work with.

You should understand that trainers are constantly approached by people who want to get involved but can't or won't put up the funds necessary to get started, and as a result trainers are mostly a cynical bunch I'd say. When they first meet you they have to figure out if you really have the money needed to get started, and that takes a fairly extensive question and answer session to determine. A lot of trainers just don't want to spend the time. So they brush off the average joe owner and concentrate only on acquiring wealthy owners as clients. I think it's important for a trainer to have owners at all levels, because I think the spoiled trainers with owners that pay bills without even looking at them tend to get lazy. Also it's silly for trainers to compete against each other for the limited pool of wealthy owners. It's important to bring new owners into the business at all levels.

how to become a trainer

? Please give me any information about how to take courses to become a race horse trainer. I live in Houston Texas.

The Texas Horsemen's Partnership at can give you some information, or the Texas Racing Commission at 8505 Cross Park Drive, Suite 110, Austin, TX 78754 (512) 833-6699. Please let me know if you have problems getting the information you need or contacting these organizations. They should have some kind of information package to send you that will explain the requirements for getting your trainer license.

In general there are not "courses" for learning how to become a trainer, most trainers work for another trainer starting at the bottom level job (hotwalker or groom) and working up to assistant trainer. Then you take the "trainer test" in the state where you wish to train when you feel that you are capable. If you already know horses and good horsemanship in general but you are not familiar with racing, you could possibly achieve this goal within several years, about the time it would take to get a university degree.

what to expect if I claim a horse

? If I tell my trainer to find me a horse to claim, how much involvement should I expect to have in that process?

It's a good idea to tell a trainer who will claim a horse for you that you want to go over the horse's past performances before making the final decision. You can ask him to fax the page of the daily racing form to you or you can ask the horse's name and which race he's entered in and look it up at or Then the trainer can go over the horse's chart with you and tell you why he'd like to claim that horse. Also ask the trainer what he knows about the horse, has he seen it in person, does it look sound, has he seen it race or train before, etc.

Horses are entered for a race only 2 days in advance generally so you may only have 1 day notice if you want to be there when the claim is put in. Also keep in mind that more than one owner/trainer could try to claim the same horse in the same race. When that happens they draw names to see who gets the horse!

Also you and the trainer may decide that a particular horse looks good on paper only to find that he looks terrible in the paddock before the race. So you could make the trip only to come up empty. Sometimes it takes several tries to successfully claim a horse, especially at Keeneland and Churchill where there are many people trying to claim horses.

If your trainer has a horse that is already racing that needs an additional partner, this is an option to consider. If he has such a horse he should fax you the pp's (or email them) and go over it with you. Or if it's an unraced horse, he should send you photos, full pedigree, description of it's training history and readiness for a race, and why he thinks the horse will be a winner and good investment.

Recoup your investment

? How soon will a horse make back its money in the terms of original investment or cost of horse?

This totally depends on whether you have a very knowledgable person pick the horse that can make up it's cost quickly - not an easy task. No guarantee you will make any money at all back on your original investment. Worst case scenario is that a horse is injured soon after you acquire it and requires a lot of vet care and time to recover. In that case you will likely take a loss. I'd say the chance of breaking even in 6 months is about 50%, in my mind the chance of breaking even in 1 month is about 5-10%. I would advise to plan on not breaking even, that way if you do make a little profit, it's a bonus.

The goal is to pay for the horse's expenses so you can enjoy yourself without worrying about how much it costs. And it's the same as going to the track to bet or going to a casino - more fun when you make a little money or come out with as much money as you went in with.

the owner's license

? Should I get a state or multi state license and where do I get those? Also what about taxes?

Your trainer would be the one to direct you on getting your license, so if you haven't got a trainer yet you need to do that first, and your accountant should advise you on taxes. You can also go to for info about the owner's license, and the National Racing Compact web site at for info on the multi state license - it's $225 plus $100 for KY, $25 for LA, $70 for IL, $40 for FL, for example.

If you don't use an accountant for your taxes, ask your trainer to recommend one who understands the tax rules on racing activities, you won't have to worry too much about that until it's time to file but wouldn't hurt to talk to an accountant to ask what the tax implications will be. Taxes and deductions on racing ventures vary from state to state.

How to find out about a horse's bloodlines

? How can I find out about the bloodlines of a thoroughbred? I entered a raffle to win a 2 year old filly, I know her name and her sire and dam, but would like a more detailed pedigree. Also if I win the horse how can I get more information about her background and training, and how do I proceed after that?

You can go to and get a pedigree report using a credit card. If you win the horse, ask the raffle organizers for contact info for whoever had the filly before the raffle, so you or your trainer can ask about the background of the filly. Probably if you win there will be no problem getting all the info you need on the filly, and there will likely be plenty of trainers around offering their services to help you with the horse. Your trainer can arrange to transport the horse, if you don't have a trainer lined up then definately do that first. The horse will come with the original registration papers which include a basic pedigree. The horse's papers are required to be on file at the racetrack where the horse will run, so generally the trainer gets the papers along with the horse when the horse is delivered, and they submit those papers to the racetrack secretary. The racing secretary keeps the papers on file until the horse is shipped to another track. I could go on and on but I'll stop there.