To Play the Game

So I was working the red carpet for the TOBA awards dinner Saturday Sept. 8th.

I was really inspired by the winner of New Owner of the Year. Jeff Bessa was interviewed on the red carpet, and gave a great speech on how he used The Racing Game and TOBA to get started in the Thoroughbred Industry.

You can watch that video here.

What does it take to race and play the game?

I have always wondered what it took to get involved in the industry, to start a breeding program and develop training regiments. After learning a lot from listening to all the interviews of the red carpet, listening to the speakers at the dinner, and doing some research here and there I have come to this conclusion.

This wonderful sport is accessible to anyone who does the research and holds dedication at hand. This could be good and bad, with some people in the game that might not be such a great presence, but it's great to hear how people were race fans and just had to find out if they could get in this industry.

When I read stories of the business men who own Underarmor or Vitaminwater for examples, then see how they want to help the sport or be involved, that excites me. I do have a slight capitalist streak in me, so I enjoy reading about business men who are young and making wise investments, yet are willing to try out a dream of improving the variety in our industry, which I think could grow stale if not injected with new energy and fresh perspectives.

The TOBA dinner itself was a real treat, post the camera shooting. So here is a shout out to Matt Goins and Carlos, who are amazingly talented photographers, and awesome guys to talk and joke around with Matt Carothers and his great interviewing wisdom and all the organizers of the event, especially Pete, Erin and Jennifer, also the crew who I was on duty with.

What a experience and how neat to hear and meet the faces I have read and heard about over the year or so. They just all seem to be genuinely passoinate about the horse industry.


Leave a Comment:

Robert M.

A racefan, whether small wagerer or big wagers, the big and fun step for a Horse Fan is to become the owner of a thoroughbred horse. Though, I have never owned a horse, I have investigated some computer information on a few partnerships. I am intrigued by some partnerships in the claiming game where I can invest as little as $350.00. Though I won't win a million, I may not also lose that million either. My suggestion is to google on the computer one of your favorite horse trainers at the track you like to follow. They may have listings for partnerships in owning a horse.

18 Sep 2008 5:05 PM

Hi Matt...Certainly enjoyed reading your piece and of course the accompanying video..Just have to weigh in on your thoughts as you have omitted the most vital and essential component in buying into this game and that is that you have to have the financial resources..irrespective of what stratum you are playing...Whether its buying into the West Point Thoroughbred Partnerships..The Dogwood and Cot Campbell..Team Valor..or just the claiming ranks w/$5000.00 co-ownership horses somewhere... and so can perform all of the due dilligence in the an august trainer(s)..bloodstock agent... ad infinitum..sans that discretionary and disposal income..there is no buy in...the risks are so very high and only an modicum of owners are statistics will reveal..However the rewards..if successful are overwhelming and most gratifying..will leave an indelible mark on you forever....Just make sure your expectations are tempered w/realism...Hope to see you in the winners circle in the not to distant future.....Thank you always for the window..Best regards..Steve Stone..East Hanover..New Jersey

18 Sep 2008 5:35 PM
Delia L.

It is also encouraging to hear praise for the new people in the sport.  I believe that racing partnerships are an excellent way for people of modest means to experience the camaraderie and excitement of owning a racehorse.

18 Sep 2008 8:51 PM

a decent job, $3,500 US funds & some good honest folks...u r in...a computer & you can even see your Horse breeze live!!!Long Live The King & Bellwether!!!

18 Sep 2008 11:51 PM
Helen W., Relatively Stable

Good to see new owners and participants in this great business of horse racing being rewarded with both commercial success and more importantly the ‘pride of belonging and contributing ‘to the success of a winning race horse.

I share the same goals and aspirations of all small owner/breeders that make it through the financial and emotional ups and downs of breeding and racing horses.  That is to achieve the ultimate goal of standing in the winners circle with my ‘first bred’ while breaking even financially (the breaking even might be a dream and not a goal!).

Your article was an affirmation and an encouragement that the interest and love this sport has generated for so many millions of people for so many generations might not only survive but thrive.

19 Sep 2008 7:59 AM

Adam: Bellwether is right on.If you want to get in on the game good for you.You've got a wealth of imformation on your doorstep so to speak. Just play smart and dream but not to high. I've rubbed some nice ponys in my life(I didn't own) but the thrill of watching one you own win a race is the most amazing feeling in the world.We just bought in a half share with the inlaws, first time in 8 years owning one. I forgot how you feel when you run up to the top of the grandstand to get a good view when they spring the latch. They turn for home and the horse is packing 150 pounds more cause your race riding him down the lane. No amount of drugs can give you the high you get when they cross the wire in front.

19 Sep 2008 1:01 PM
Jeff Bessa

Surreal to see a blog with my name in it but I've been on a ride for the past year.  A couple rough patches (one bad claim and a 2yo that is costing a bit) but some incredible highs.  In the claiming deal, I bought in the first time for $1000K for a 10% share and then bought in again for $2500 on the second claim.  I'm free rolling from there.  Incredible ride.  Of course we all want to win the KD but I'll take a listed stakes race right now.  Anyway, we claimed back Dyna's Diva for $10K and she's won 4 of 5 for his overall at Remington and we are sending her to a TX bred stakes the first weekend in October at Retama.  And we have a claimer running tonight in race 5 at Remington (Favorite Jazz) with a shot.

 My advice is to stick to the claiming route and stay small and local.  Hopefully you hook up with a great bunch of guys (like On the Mark racing) that love to banter back and forth helping you make great claims.  Be patient too, read between the lines and assume the worst.  Look at it as your golf game or boat hobby and you'll love every minute of it!

19 Sep 2008 3:45 PM

Thanks everyone for the great feedback, advice and experience. Good stuff.

Jeff: I really appreciate you taking time to comment and give great advice. Good luck tonight in  your race!

19 Sep 2008 3:53 PM

Jeff: Just read the results from the 19th at Remington.Man your horse gets beat a length for it all. Must have been a good one to watch, a couple noses and a half length separate the first four. Nice purse for 15 thou claimers. Good luck with your filly at Retama.

22 Sep 2008 3:42 PM

If you want to get into the breeding end of horseracing, You may want to consider finding a sound, well conformed horse for a breeding stallion. The breeding industry has enough lame, and poorly conformed sprinters out there that can run really really fast,  but don't last long if they last at all, and they contribute to making the breed weak and frail.  Also,  you may want to inherit alot of money because you are going to need it. Good luck!

23 Sep 2008 10:29 AM

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