By Adam Trenk, Esq.
For centuries, thoroughbred racing has been known as the Sport of Kings. Until the late 1970’s horse racing had the highest attendance of any sport in the United States. But beginning with the advent of Monday night football, as the commercialization of telecast sporting events has become so widespread; people now stay home to watch their sports. Consequently the unfortunate reality is that the prominence of horse racing as America’s most popular sport is fading.
Today, the popularity of television may reign supreme, but there is little to contest the adrenaline rush of attending a live horse race. Regardless of your level of interest, your local track has a lot to offer for a great value. In the Phoenix metro area, we are lucky to have Turf Paradise. Going to see the Diamondbacks, the Cardinals or the Coyotes can cost you an arm and a leg. But, for the price of one ticket in the nosebleed seats at any of those stadiums you can get admission for the whole family to the stands at Turf Paradise, and nothing beats the excitement of standing in the paddock at the track as the horses thunder by.
Despite a couple difficult years for the Arizona horse racing industry, with the shuttering of Yavapai Downs in 2011, Turf Paradise promises to give racing fans something to look forward to. Opening Day of this year’s meet at Turf Paradise, which is located at 19th Avenue and Bell Road, is Friday October 5th. Live races occur daily Friday through Tuesday and are simulcast to other tracks and OTB locations from coast to coast. For those who want to be a part of the excitement beyond spectating or placing a wager, there is always the allure of entering a horse of your own in the races!
Conventional wisdom tells us that only the super-rich can play at the Sport of Kings. But if you want a stake in the races, partnerships or syndications have become an increasingly popular and affordable way to get involved. Partnership agreements vary in complexity based on the needs and goals of its members. Generally, a partnership is comprised of a group that shares ownership of a horse and related expenses with the promise of sharing in its purse winnings. Control of the horse can be shared or it can be delegated to one of the partners or the horse’s trainer via a contractual agreement. A good syndication agreement will contemplate how to deal with unexpected expenses and an exit strategy. For more information on racing partnerships feel free to contact me (contact information below), and I would be happy to walk you through the mechanics of those agreements.
Obviously a horse’s racing career does not span the length of its entire life. So once horses are retired from the sport they need to find a new job. Thoroughbreds are a versatile animal and can be used across a number of equine disciplines besides racing.
The Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses, or “CANTER AZ”, is an affiliate of Canter USA (www.canterusa.org) established in March of 2011. CANTER AZ is a non-profit organization that works closely with industry organizations in an effort to transition thoroughbred horses to new careers after they retire from racing. The organization has two functions; (i) act as an intermediary that posts free listings for racehorse owners/trainers advertising ex-racehorses for sale or adoption, and (ii) to accept donations of ex-racehorses from owners/trainers to retrain the horse before placing it with a new home. To date, Canter Arizona has taken dozens of listings, and found homes for a dozens of horses. As of the writing of this article CANTER AZ has two horses in training that are ready for placement. With the start of this year’s racing season, Canter Arizona hopes to successfully place more horses in new homes with new careers when their racing days are over.
Whether you are a seasoned horse enthusiast or are just looking for something new to do, a day at the track is a great way to spend the day with family or friends and it helps support the local equine industry.
Adam Trenk is an Attorney at the Rose Law Group pc (www.RoseLawGroup.com and practices in the areas of Equine Law, Land Use, Public Policy, Community Relations, and Business Law. He is an Avid Horseman and Sits on the Board of CANTER AZ, a Non-Profit that Helps Rehabilitate and Adopt Out Ex-Racehorses. Mr. Trenk served as an Elected Member of the Cave Creek Town Council from 2009 to 2011 where he was a champion of the Local Equine Community and supported by the Arizona Horse Council. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 480-240-5647. See him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EquineAttorneys.