It costs around $30,000 to keep a thoroughbred horse in training and racing for a year. That’s after you’ve paid the $20,000 – $40,000 to buy a flash-looking thoroughbred with race experience. This is why most of us think that such an extravagant hobby is well beyond our means.
The secret is that while race horses are generally owned by families who breed and train them, some of the top contenders on the North American racing circuit are are owned by syndicates comprised of investors who pool their money to buy, manage and care for the horse — and divvy up the winnings.
This means that for putting down less than a lease on a sports car, and for a few grand a year, you can have the privilege of casually dropping, “My horse is racing this weekend, would you like to come feed him some mints with me?” Since almost every woman is at least latently horse-crazy, she will agree to tolerate your company, if only to be around the horse. Syndicate members can visit their horse at the track during racing season, or at the farm where it is stabled (within an hour of the track) in the off-season.
The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society is arranging and managing syndicates for new horse owners in Canada,which is more common in the UK and Europe.
The practice is gaining ground in North America. Traditionally, racing horses has never been a wise way to get a return on an investment, and the only profits came in the form of honour and glory for the victors. But the government in Ontario is making it worth our while by allocating a portion of slot machine revenues to the pots for race winners at Woodbine, which means that racing horses can actually be a profitable venture.
And nothing will sweeten all that honour and glory like a cigar, a steak dinner and a fancy new pair of shoes for your girl.
Canadian information about syndicates and horse ownership can be found at The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, The Jockey Club of Canada, and The Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of Ontario.