With the shrill ring of a bell, the starting gate flies open releasing
a field of powerful horses with colourful riders. They're off!!! Thoroughbred
racing is a spectacle of pulse-quickening excitement, courage, strength
and speed, starring the world's most beautiful equine athlete.
There us no subject more full of life, action and colour than a racehorse:
owning a Thoroughbred admits you to a fraternity unlike any other. The
thrill of seeing your colours surging toward the finish line simply
cannot be matched.
Ask anyone who has been there. They will tell you that watching your
colours come flying down the track aboard a thousand pounds of muscle
and magnificence, and basking in the limelight of the winner's circle,
are among the most thrilling experiences that the sporting world has
There is a magic about the Thoroughbred that has captivated Kings and
Queens, Presidents and Arabian Sheiks. But the appeal of this noble
creature transcends social status, for he belongs to all of us and,
anyone who wishes to, can become involved in the industry.
Thoroughbred racing is one of the most exciting and pleasurable investments
available, but it is also one of the most challenging. Those thrilling
seconds between the starting gate and the finish line are but a small
part of a complicated and highly specialized industry. Months of effort
and thousands of dollars are invested in the preparation of each horse
in a race; as are dozens of crucial decisions, which require special
knowledge and sound judgment.
From selection of the racing team...horses, trainer and staff...to
proper record keeping and financial planning, the Thoroughbred owner
must have a clear understanding of the workings of the industry and
of his own aspirations within it.
back to contents
Every business wants to expand; the Thoroughbred industry is
no exception. We need more owners. For the most part, insiders
recognize this and want to help newcomers succeed. As a new or
potential investor, you are encouraged to ask questions. We believe
you will find most industry professionals accessible, willing
to share their knowledge, and provide you with answers.
Keep in mind, while this is an exciting business with opportunity
for financial gain, it is speculative and should be entered with
discretionary funds. Horses are not machines; they cannot be programmed.
They need time off. They are often temperamental. Like children,
they don't always live up to your expectations. By acknowledging
these facts, you will be better prepared to deal with the ups
and downs, emotional and financial, of ownership.
If you are serious about becoming involved as an owner, we
would like to offer several general suggestions.
Yourself with the Thoroughbred Business
Read the industry publications and stay abreast of the issues as well as the bloodlines
- Daily Racing Form
- The Blood-Horse Magazine
- Thoroughbred Times
- Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine
- International Thoroughbred Digest
Attend the races and sales; observe the owners, trainers, consignors, buyers, and veterinarians, in action.
Contact the local owners' and breeders' organizations. H.B.P.A.
and C.T.H.S., ask about services they offer and membership benefits.
Reasonable Goals & Objectives
By defining your goals, you will be better prepared to make your initial purchase. Ask yourself:
How much money can I afford to allocate to my equine operation?
Decide on the amount of capital you are willing to allocate to this new investment, for the initial purchase and the daily expenditures. Have a budget. Your financial commitment is often one of the primary determining factors in establishing a suitable form if ownership and the level at which you will participate.
Do I want to own solely or in partnership?
Your degree of financial involvement, and the amount of time you have to spend on your horse activity combined with the level at which you wish to participate should guide you in answering this question. Basically you need to decide if you want to operate on your own or with others. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. While sole ownership allows you to have more control, have all the glory and keep all financial rewards, you also bear all of the risks associated with ownership.
What are my short and long-term goals?
How long are you willing to wait for a return on your investment? Are you looking for immediate action? This will help direct you to the most suitable mode of ownership.
At what level am I looking to participate?
Everyone wants a classic winner. Unfortunately, not all horses have the ability to compete and win at the top level. There are many levels at which you, as an owner, can participate: claiming, allowance, and stakes. Your financial resources may ultimately dictate this. If you want lots of action, (horses racing often), your strategy may be different from someone seeking the classic horse. Remember, the thrill of ownership does not diminish with the level of horse you own.
What do I want to gain from my experience?
Horse knowledge, new friends, financial gain, and social activity can all be obtained through Thoroughbred ownership.
Be sure to meet with your trainer/advisor (whose expertise you trust and respect) to discuss your plans. He/She may assist in evaluating your goals to determine if they are realistic.
Back to contents
Once you have decided upon a trainer/advisor you trust, the next
step is the acquisition of the equine "athletes," the
The horse may be purchased in any of three ways: through public auction, private sales and claim.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each approach.
Before you make a purchase, you need to decide what age/type of horse to buy. Outlined in the table below are some points to consider. Regardless of the point of entry you choose, you will want to seek advise from professionals and experts to assist in your selections. While bloodstock agents, and pedigree advisors, are available for hire at public auctions, trainers are often an excellent choice, if they have experience in purchasing at auction, and will not charge a fee. The trainer who purchases on your behalf will expect to train the horse throughout its career.
|| Reasonably Priced
Re-Sale At Profit Options
Can Oversee Growth
Vet Examination Available
Hard To Evaluate Ability This Early
18 months Until Ready To Race
|| Large Selection
Vet Examination Available
Can Oversee All Training & Breaking
Lifestyle / Family Enjoyment
| 8-12 Months Until
Ready To Race, or Ability Can Be Assessed
|2 year Old
|| Ready To Race
Better Able To Assess Ability
Vet Examination Available
| Smaller Selection
Horses May Be Rushed Through Training Program, For
|| Available At All Price
Immediate Race Action
Ability Has Been Established
Can Improve To Higher Level
Race More Often
| No Vet Examination
Inherit Any Existing Problems
Only Own Horse For A Short Time Before It Is Claimed
By Someone Else
The best way to learn about the sales is to attend a few. Watch what goes on; take notes; examine horses and try to estimate their selling price based on their appearance and pedigree. We strongly advise novice buyers to engage the services of professionals.
Some steps to follow:
- Decide how much you wish to spend; establish a budget.
- Do your homework before the sale; study the catalogue; estimate prices for the horses.
- Contact trainer/advisor to assist with work at the sales.
- Establish credit with the sales company.
- Review Conditions of Sale.
- If you do not have an agent to purchase on your behalf, arrange for a Veterinarian to do pre-sale and or post sale examinations and contact the vanning company and farm where the horse will be shipped.
Work Within Your Budget
- Decide how much you want to spend at the sale and stick to it. Do not get caught up in the excitement and overspend.
- Obtain the sales catalogue, which contains the pedigrees and hip numbers of all horses entered in the sale. It is available through the sales company several weeks prior to the auction at no expense.
- Review the catalogue, marking the progeny of specific sires/dams in which you are interested. Research the prices of horses with comparable pedigrees in the trade publications and the auction guides from previous years.
Work with Your Advisor
- Having outlined a plan, noting what age, type and quality horse you are seeking to purchase, your trainer/advisor should be able to assist you in selecting horses that fit your needs and budget. Equally important, they can help eliminate horses that do not match your specifications and fall in your price range. Basically, the value of a horse is determined by its pedigree and physical conformation. If the horse has raced, its race record is also a determining factor. Based upon your criteria, develop a list of horse to inspect at the sales grounds.
- Decide who will do the actual bidding. If you want your agent
to bid on your behalf, you will need to complete a Buyer's Authorized
Agent form, generally found in the front of the sales catalogue.
Establish Credit and Review Conditions of Sale
- Conditions of sale can also be found in the front of the catalogue. It is important to read each condition and understand implications. Pay special attention to types of defects that enable the buyer to return the horse and be sure to safeguard against them.
- Policies vary among sales companies on how to establish credit. Directions are listed in the front of the sales catalogue; most require bank and credit references.
- Sales tax varies by state; check with the sales company regarding
their state's policy and in particular the out of Country tax
exemptions if you are shipping the horse out of a foreign Country.
- You will want to note any programs and stakes to which a horse
has been nominated. In addition, to be eligible for the Breeders'
Cup, without paying a substantial fee, you will want to make
sure the horse is nominated.
Veterinarian Inspection of Horses
- Several veterinarians will be on the sales ground examining horses. Pre-purchase exams are generally performed on horses on which you intend to bid. The procedures include x-rays, endoscopic exams, physical exams of reproductive systems, etc.
- Some exams are required by the sales company before the horse is entered in the sale; these can be found in the Conditions of Sale. In addition, consignors may have x-rays and other test results (such as endoscopic exams) available. Often buyers require a second opinion to be certain. As these exams can be costly, you will want to reserve this procedure for horses, which you are seriously interested. Your trainer/advisor will help you find a veterinarian.
Transportation and Boarding Arrangement for Purchases
- Prior to removing the horse from the sales grounds, be sure to have a veterinarian physically inspect it to cover warranties provided by the sales company. For example, if you purchase a mare in-foal, confirm that she is in fact in-foal. If you have a problem, follow the guidelines set forth in the Conditions of Sale.
- Van companies usually have representatives on the sales grounds to assist with your transportation needs. The sales company can provide a list of carriers to be present. Your advisor can also assist here.
- Often your trainer/advisor can recommend farms, breaking/training facilities, where you can send your purchases if they are not going to the track.
Back to contents
While auction and claiming are the two most popular methods of acquiring a horse, they may also be purchased privately. Private transactions offer the buyer value and opportunity as well as the option of a pre-purchase exam.
There are two scenarios to consider:
- You want to make an offer on a horse, which is not known to be for sale.
- The current owner is actively trying to sell a horse through advertising and by word of mouth. In either case, you should protect yourself by having the horse thoroughly inspected by one or more professionals including a veterinarian and trainer.
Agreement of Sale and Purchase & Bill of Sale
Your agreement to purchase a horse should be documented in writing
with an Agreement of Sale and Purchase, which will include: names
of parties; identification of the horse (name, colour, sex, year
of birth, sire and dam); offer, acceptance, and terms of sale
including price and payment method; warranties of sale, if any;
contingencies, such as pre-purchase veterinary exam or certification
of soundness for racing or insurability; deadlines for closing,
payment, and passage of title and risk of loss; and site of the
transaction, in the event that liability for sales tax is a consideration.
In addition to obtaining a contractual warranty of title in the
Agreement, you may wish to verify the seller's title to the horse
is unencumbered and free and clear of liens by searching public
records for any UCC, bankruptcy, or unpaid tax lien filings.
At closing, passage of title and risk of loss should be documented with a Bill of Sale, signed by the seller and accompanied by the Jockey Club Certificate of Foal Registration, properly endorsed for transfer by the seller. You may also wish to request copies of health/medical records and special feeding or management instructions, if any. If any portion of the purchase price remains unpaid at closing and is to be paid in installments after closing, the seller also may require a promissory note and a security agreement to secure payment of future installments.
Having completed the transaction and made payment, you should be prepared to
take possession and should have made the proper transportation
and/or stabling arrangements.
Back to contents
Claiming races constitute the majority of Thoroughbred races.
Each horse entered in such a race is subject to sale or "claim,"
at the value stated in the conditions of the race. Despite that
fact, all purse money earned is the property if the person in
whose name the horse started.
The primary advantage to claiming is that it offers immediate racing action. Likened to purchasing a used car, the buyer may be obtaining a horse which, with a change in training routine, may develop and excel or may turn out to be nothing more than a lemon. Unlike purchasing a horse at public auction or privately, the buyer is not entitled to perform a veterinary examination prior to purchase.
If you are interested in acquiring a horse through claiming, consider the following:
1. Review the claiming rules.
- If you have not raced a horse in Ontario in the current year, you must become eligible to claim via the initial claim rule. Basically you pay $100.00 for a background security check and once you are approved to be licensed, you can claim a horse. The horse that you claim under the initial claim rule must run back before you can claim another horse. Complete rules are listed in the O.R.C. Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.
2. Complete the paperwork
- Obtain an owner's license. To be eligible to claim
you must possess an owner's license in Province/State in which
you intend to claim. Racing is a highly regulated industry and
the Ontario Racing Commission controls licensing in Ontario.
If you intend to claim at a track outside of Ontario, you must
obtain a license from that State or Province's licensing board
- Establish an account with the racetrack's horsemen's bookkeeper.
Prior to the claim being made, an owner's account must have
sufficient funds to cover the transaction, meaning the claiming
price plus the appropriate tax.
- Apply for a GST number. The horsemen's bookkeeper will
require that you have a GST number. You will be able to claim
back the GST amount charged to your account for jockey fees
- Complete the claim slip. Claims must be made on the day of the race and filed at least 15 minutes before the start of the race. Claiming forms are available in the racing office. The information on the claim form must be absolutely correct; a misspelling of a name can invalidate the claim. You may choose to appoint your trainer to be your authorized agent and he/she would then be permitted to make claims on your behalf.
3. Take possession of the horse
Title and risk pass to the new owner immediately upon selection as the successful
claim. As the new owner, you will be expected to take possession
of the horse at the conclusion of the race.
Back to contents
Many first time owners elect to become involved in the Thoroughbred industry through partnerships or multiple ownership of horses. Through sharing costs, risks, and rewards, many people can afford to own a horse and share the thrills and experiences associated with it.
A limited partnership consists of one or more persons who are called general partners, and one or more persons who contribute in actual cash payments a specified sum as capitol to the partnership, who are called limited partners. The general partners are jointly and severally liable to the full extent of their assets for the debts and obligations of the partners. The liability of the limited partners is limited to the amount contributed by them as capitol. The rights and powers of partners are governed, in the case of Ontario, by the Limited Partnership Act and the common law relating to partnerships.
The limited partnership makes it possible for individuals to
pool their resources allowing an investment in a higher quality
prospect or perhaps allowing diversification, by spreading the
risk over a number of animals and minimizing the impact of the
potential financial and emotional disappointments. Most importantly,
the general partner will provide effective professional management
of the venture, hopefully avoiding or limiting those expensive
lessons learned by some horse owners. To some, this may seem a
disadvantage as only the general partner(s) may take part in the
control of the horse and it's career. A limited partner may examine
the progress of the venture but will become liable as a general
partner if he takes part in the management or administration of
An Agreement in writing between the partners is advisable to
deal with those matters which the Limited Partnership Act contemplates
may be changed to suit the individual ventures or for which it
does not make provision, and to reiterate for the partners the
restrictions and requirements imposed on them by the Statue and
common law. Provisions often included relate to percentage administration,
management, training, racing, care and control and other day-to-day
decisions. Allocation of expenses and tax-deductible losses together
with distribution of profits should be addressed as well as transfer
of shares and dissolution of the partnership. Without a carefully
worded limited partnership agreement, the thrill and satisfaction
of owning a successful racehorse can quickly turn to frustration
and anger with one's partners.
An alternative and popular form of multiple ownership is syndication or co-ownership. Each owner holds an undivided interest in a horse and agrees through a co-ownership agreement to terms similar to a limited partnership agreement, which define the management of the horse and the relationships between co-owners. While the advantages of limited liability are not available, there is no additional liability assumed other than that which the co-owner would have if he were the sole owner. Each co-owner can enjoy the advantages of having part interests in several horses, each with different co-owners as well as offsetting losses suffered on one horse against profits from others for income tax purposes.
Form a partnership with friends.
This is more time consuming than joining an established outfit, however, the advantages may outweigh the disadvantages. Basically, you along with your fellow investors make the decisions as a group and should run your partnership as a business.
Have a trainer match you with others
Often trainers know of others looking to invest, but want to share
the responsibilities and expenses. You may want to consider going
into business with these people. The personalities and goals of
the individuals should be matched and a designated individual,
usually the trainer makes final decisions on behalf of the group.
Back to contents
A horse's value is often determined by three factors:
3. Race Record
Pedigree refers to a horse's family tree, with its paternal
ancestors - sire/father - on top, and its maternal ancestors --dam/mother
-- on the bottom. A horse's pedigree offers insight into its potential
ability and value. Conformation is the physical attributes of
the individual horse - the way the horse is put together. A horse's
Race Record reflects its performance on the track.
Back to contents
There are as many theories about pedigrees as there are theories about how to make money in the stock market. For example, some pedigree consultants pay particular attention to in-breeding and out-crossing, while others elect to focus on the physical or performance characteristics of the horse. Because beliefs differ so greatly, you should be as familiar with as many as you can, and select that or those theories you find most appealing.
Note: Stakes winners are denoted in black type and are in all caps. Horses who are stakes placed appear in upper/lower case.
"In-Breeding" is the term utilized to describe breeding in
which the same ancestor appears two or more places within the first
four generations of the pedigree.
Out-Cross breeding is the opposite of in-breeding in that there is no repeat presence within four or more generations.
This refers to the sire, or paternal, portion of the family. A few points to consider about the stallion:
- Percentage of his progeny that are starters, winners, and stakes winners.
- Number and size of his foal crops.
- Type of horses the sire produces; turf or dirt, colts or fillies.
- Does he produce better two-year-old runners or do they develop more slowly?
- Age of the stallion: young/unproven or older/proven.
- Racing and produce record of the female side, listed by generation, usually going back to at least two, more often three generations. Did the mare win at two years old? May indicate soundness, desire.
- How have her foals performed on the track? How many made it to the track and started? What was their race record; number of starts, percent in the money, and purse money earned. How long did they withstand training?
- Have any of the full and/or half siblings been stakes performers?
back to contents
Like a human athlete, a horse's physical conformation comes in a variety
of shapes and sizes. There is no perfect horse. Remember that in examining
a horse the purpose is to exclude those with physical faults that your
advisor(s) considers unacceptable.
- Balance - Is the horse well proportioned? Does the frame suit its muscle?
- Bone - Does it appear to be substantial---not too fine/light?
- Intelligence - Does the horse seem in control, aware of its surroundings, alert?
- Athleticism - Does the horse look physically fit and capable?
Lateral or Side View
- Feet - A horse's hooves must be able to withstand a great
deal of pressure. Consider proportion, substance, and size of the
hoof. The underside of the hoof should have a round, slightly oval
shape with some depth. Some believe that larger feet indicate an aptitude
- Pasterns - The pastern should be at a 45-degree angle. Its length should be proportionate - too long a pastern could indicate weakness and tendon strain, while if too short it may absorb too much concussion thus stressing the bone structure.
- Ankle - As with the pastern, the ankle joint size should be proportionate to the rest of the leg.
- Cannon Bones - Ideally, the cannon bone should be short, strong and have mass.
- Knee - Bones in and leading to the knee should line up in
a balanced manner - not tilting forward ("over at the knee")
or back ("back at the knee").
- Shoulder - The shoulder should have the same slope or angle as the pastern. Stride length is largely determined by the shoulder.
- Neck - A horse's neck should be sufficient in scope so as
to provide adequate wind for the horse, and be well tied in at the
withers, while not being too low or "ewe necked". In short,
does the neck fit the rest of the body?
- Head - Nostrils should be of adequate size. The head should be broad enough to permit adequate air passage. Generally, the distance from the back of the jaw to where the head ties into the neck should be about the size of a fist.
- Eyes - The eyes should be big and bright. Look for an "intelligent,"
keen, alert eye.
- Back - The distance from the withers to top of croup or hips
should match the length of the horse's neck from the poll to the withers.
- Hip/Buttocks - The croup or hip should have a gentle slope - not too steep or flat. The gaskin should depict strength.
- Hocks - A horse's hocks should not be straight as a post,
nor curved so deeply as to be sickle hocked, or behind the body like
a German Shepherd Dog. The horse should be standing balanced and straight.
- Feet - Look for balanced feet on both sides and symmetry. Avoid misshapen, dished, or cracked feet.
- Cannon Bones - From the front, the cannon bones should appear straight and of the same length.
- Knees - It is best if the knees are set squarely on the top
of the cannon bones, not off to one side or another - "offset
- Chest - A horse's chest should be broad, and appear powerful.
Narrow chests or slab-sided horses are said to lack power.
- Shoulder - Look for balance and symmetry.
- Hocks - From the rear, the hocks should appear to point straight
at you, and not turn in or out -- "cow hocks."
- Hip/Buttocks - Note that much of the animal's athleticism
and power comes from behind. Definition and development are key attributes.
- Front/Rear view - The horse should move straight toward and away from you. Observe whether the horse toes-in or toes-out as it walks.
- Side view - Check for the overstep, meaning do the hind feet
reach beyond the front hoof prints? Observe the horse's head. Be certain
it does not bob unusually when walking as this may indicate soreness
- Walk - Look for a smooth long stride.
Remember, every horse has some physical "fault" with regard to pedigree
and conformation. The art or science of evaluating a horse is deciding
which of those faults are less likely to adversely impact the intended
use of the animal. Everyone has different thresholds with regard to
what constitutes acceptable faults. Establish you own thresholds, but
be realistic considering your budget.
back to contents
The tax rules relating to horse racing (farming) vary considerably from other businesses.
The three most significant areas are:
- Reasonable Expectation of Profit
- Deductibility of Losses
- Calculation of Profit and Loss
Reasonable Expectation of Profit (REOP)
The first consideration in determining tax consequences is the nature of your involvement in the horse business. If your activity is basically one of recreation and personal enjoyment and you are not particularly concerned about earning money, any expenses you incur can only be used to offset income from Thoroughbred racing and / or breeding operations. You are considered to be enjoying a hobby rather than carrying on a business. On the other hand, if you are actually pursuing a profit, operating in a business-like manner, and have sufficient resources both in terms of finances and knowledge to operate in a profitable manner, then you are carrying on a business. In this case, profits must be reported on your tax return and losses can be claimed (within certain limits).
While it is relatively simple to classify people at either end of the spectrum, a large number of horse owners fall into the grey area between a business and a hobby. These people not only find their profit readily taxed by Revenue Canada but also find that their losses are frequently not allowed by Revenue Canada.
In order to establish that you are operating a business, it is recommended that you manage your horse affairs following sound business practices.
- Prepare a plan before you start
- Prepare projections of income and expenses for at least one year
- Obtain a GST number
- Maintain proper books and records separate from personal accounts
- Subscribe to horse journals
- Continuously oversee your horse operations and make changes as necessary
Court Interpretations (from a publication by Prenick Langer LLP Chartered Accountants)
In a recent case, Buvyer and Walls (November 23, 1999), the Federal Court of appeal has strongly reiterated that the REOP concept does not apply where there is no personal element to the investment. In particular, the fact the investment is tax driven (i.e., done as a tax shelter) is not a reason for denying the losses. Of course, it remains true that where there is no real business being carried on, and merely the appearance of a business set up as a sham to claim tax deductions, no losses will be allowed. That is quite different, however, from the REOP test.
Deductibility of Losses
Many individuals have visions of significant tax deductions. While there are tax breaks available to horsemen that are not generally available to other businesses or investments, there are some specific limits. Assuming you can meet the first requirement, which is that you are operating as business with a reasonable expectation of profit, you can deduct losses incurred. However, unless your main source of income is farming, which includes racing of horses, your loss will be restricted to a maximum of $8,750. per taxpayer in one year. In order to claim this maximum amount, your losses would have to be $15,000 because the tax loss deduction is 100% of the first $2,500 of losses but only 50% of the next $12,500 of losses. If your main source of income is farming then you can deduct unlimited losses from a racehorse business. Unused restricted losses can be carried forward up to 10 years for application against farming (including race horse) profits.
Calculation of Profit and Loss (Part time & Full Time Farmers)
Because the Income Tax Act defines farming to include "maintaining
of horses for racing," all persons in the business of breeding,
training or racing of race horses are, by definition, farming. For this
reason, you are allowed to report income and expense on the cash basis.
Income is reported when it is earned. Expenses are reported when they
are paid rather than when they are incurred. Income includes racing
purse money, horse sales, board and training fees received etc. Expenses
include all reasonable and necessary costs incurred in operating your
horse business. This can include horse purchases, feed, training fees,
veterinary, blacksmith, jockey, interest, GST, subscriptions, etc. The
only costs that are reasonable and necessary that cannot immediately
be claimed are capital costs. These include the costs of significant
long-term assets such as a barn, horse trailer. These capital items
must be depreciated over a period of years in accordance with the income
tax rules relating to capital cost allowance. If the expenses exceed
the income for the year, the loss must be reduced by the tax value for
inventory owned at the end of the year. For most inventories such as
hay, oats, straw and medical supplies, the tax value is cost. For horses,
inventory value is 70% of cost if purchased during the year or 70% of
the previous year's tax value if purchased prior to the beginning of
the year. Horses bred by the taxpayer have no value for tax purposes.
The maximum value for mandatory inventory adjustment is the amount of the loss for the year so that no taxable income need be created by this inventory adjustment.
You must prepare a statement of income and expense and include it in your tax return. The profit or loss that you claim will then be shown on your tax return under income from self-employment - farming. The rate of tax you pay (or save), is determined by the total of all your income and deductions.
Whatever your level of involvement, you should keep records of all your income and maintain proper receipts for all expenses. While tax considerations are not the only reason for horse ownership, they also cannot be ignored. More tax problems are caused by lack of records than any other single reason.
The tax rules are complicated and the new owner is advised to seek assistance from a professional, knowledgeable in horse tax matters.
Back to contents
GUIDE TO A THOROUGHBRED'S TRAINING PROGRAM
Although Thoroughbred racehorses are produced through selective breeding
to exhibit speed, stamina and the will to win, training is necessary
to actualize the latent potential. The trainer's job helps each horse
reach its potential and maintain its condition. No trainer is able to
make a horse run faster or farther than nature intended.
It takes time for a horse to reach race readiness; the length of time
is almost always dependent on the horse's learning ability and recuperative
The training process begins with familiarizing the horse with human
contact (trainer and rider), bridle, and saddle. It is crucial during
this early training that the horse's attitude is not traumatized by
this early training. This stage is still inappropriately referred to
as "breaking." The word derives from the method used by long-gone
cowboys who used brute strength to accomplish their goal. Empathy and
finesse have been the method of choice by most horsemen for many years.
The "breaking" process takes between thirty minutes to a few
days depending on the horse, the trainer and the method. Most horses
receive their lessons between September and November of their yearling
year. Most trainers advise that the horse remain in light training following
being "broken" to ensure that the lessons have been thoroughly
learned to familiarize themselves with the training routine, and to
help the development of the growing horse. Some trainers give the horse
one to three months to rest and mature after being "broken"
but others believe recent studies that show horses need the constant
pounding of light training to develop strong bones.
When the two year-old commences training the trainer will commence with light training for a short period of time to refamiliarize them with the routine. After a week of jogging (trotting) the horse will be ready to begin a daily regime of slow gallops (cantering) usually accompanied by a horse of similar maturity. This stage develops a foundation of endurance, strength and responsiveness, which is enhanced when serious training commences. Laying the foundation takes between 60 and 180 days depending on the horse, trainer and weather conditions.
After the horse has signaled its readiness to commence serious training,
some trainers will have the horse's knees x-rayed to determine if they
are "closed" which means the horse’s bones are mature enough
to handle intensified training.
The intensified training involves inserting "breezes" into
the horse's training program. "Breezing" involves allowing
the horse to increase his speed for a timed workout over a specified
distance. The horse is not asked for maximum speed and often must be
"rated" by the rider to ensure a controlled training program
devoid of potentially injurious displays of precocious speed. Breezes
are usually scheduled on four to seven day intervals. A rest day for
recuperation usually follows a breeze before regular gallops resume.
The gallop itself usually covers a distance of 1 to 2 miles. The breezes
initially cover one furlong, (one eighth to one quarter of a mile),
with one furlong increments when the horse shows he/she is ready to
The term breeze is often synonymous with workout. "Breezing"
also describes the way in which the workout was performed. "Breezing"
is a workout with the rider "rating" (controlling or restraining)
the horse's speed. "Handily" describes a workout in which
the horse received encouragement from the rider.
The easiest way to understand workout times is that a furlong is covered
in 12 seconds. The farther the horse is able to work while churning
12-second furlongs, the more impressive the workout. Almost every Thoroughbred
can cover two furlongs in 24 seconds. Only a precious few can work 6
furlongs in 1:12. Workout times are largely dependent on the type of
track, track condition, horse's condition, weight carried, stage of
training, as well as the natural speed of the horse.
The number of breezes required for race readiness depends on the horse,
trainer and distance to be covered in the initial start. This number
can vary from five to upwards of twenty. Four to seven visits to the
gate are usually necessary for the horse to "break" from the
gate quickly and properly. Once the horse has had one or two solid works
from the gate that meet the approval of the trainer and Starting Gate
Crew, it is usually ready to race.
Horses seldom run more than twice in a 30 day period. More than 15
starts a year can be considered a busy campaign for a Thoroughbred.
The key to making money with a horse is to race when and where it will
be successful. It is the trainer's responsibility to ensure that the
horse is campaigned wisely and that the horse remains fit, healthy and
Some trainers like to give their horses a "tightener" about
four or five days prior to a race. This workout is designed to enhance
the horse's fitness and speed. The length and intensity of the "tightener"
will depend on the horse, the horse's previous schedule, and the type
and distance of the upcoming race.
back to contents
OF THOROUGHBRED OWNERSHIP
| Training at Track
|| $70.00 / day
|Training at Farm
||$30.00 - $45.00 / day
|Boarding at Farm
||$18.00 - $ 25.00 / day
|ORC Owner License
|Registration of Partnership
|Registration of Colours
||$46.00 (life $118.00)
||$180.00 - $250.00
||$200.00 (3 times per year)
||$90.00 / mth track
||$200.00 - $500.00 / mth
back to contents
PURSE STRUCTURE 2002
|MDN CLAIM 80,000
|MDN CLAIM 62,500
|MDN CLAIM 50,000
|MDN CLAIM 40,000
|MDN CLAIM 32,000
|MDN CLAIM 25,000
|MDN CLAIM 20,000
|MDN CLAIM 16,000
|MDN CLAIM 12,500
Back to contents
[home] [profile] [woodbine]
[ownership] [contact us]
49 Princess Anne Crescent | Toronto, Ontario, Canada | M9A 2P3
Reade Baker Direct: 416-207-1783 | fax: 416-207-1785
Copyright © 1997, Reade Baker
Engineered by Emerge2 Digital Inc.