Coming Down to the Wire

There is about a week left to sign up/re-join for the 2017 Canterbury Racing Club.  Members receive free admission for the season with their VIP card, a chance to be in the paddock before a race, be in the winners’ circle if we’re lucky enough to win, a place to gather on race days (when available), backside tours and special morning events in addition to a glimpse behind the curtain on what goes in to owning and racing a Thoroughbred.

The Club is a not-for-profit educational experience open to anyone.  The cost of membership is $250 with no other payments required.  The Club is designed to be interactive with questions and answers here on the blog as well as at the various events through the summer.

We will begin looking for horses a week or two after the Club closes.  We have a pair of trainers lined up for 2017, Clay Brinson and Nevada Litfin – provided there is enough capital for two horses – to increase the number of racing opportunities as well as to provide a wider experience with different barns.

A couple of folks have noted that for some, payday is Friday, March 3 while the official Club deadline is February 28th.  We will not turn you away for bein a few days late, please just let us know ( or that it will be on its way.  However once we button up and start shopping for horses we will be closed to new members.

For easy reference below are the sign up and re-up forms.  Hope to see you this summer!

For returning members: 2017-horse_-ownership_club_membership_agreemenr-rollover

For new members: 2017-horse_-ownership_club_membership_agreement-w-email

Some Facts and Figures


Some of you may be aware of Jim Bastyr, a long time Clubber and Canterbury Park employee, but aside from being a passionate racing fan and a heckuva good guy he is the official unofficial Club historian/statistician.

Below are a couple of documents Jim created.  One is a PDF of the results charts for all the Club races this season.  The other is a color coded breakdown of every club season sine inception.  The latter is a fascinating document out lining all the starts and highlighting the “best” – highest payoff ($12.00), highest purse ($13,000) etc.  It also breaks down the stats at the various tracks we’ve run at over time.

Some observations on my part:

  • Boy do we wager!  The $12 win was the largest payoff by far. The next highest was $7.20.  We certainly love to back our charges!
  • The Club’s lifetime winning percentage of over 30% is incredible.  Keep in mind that that stat took a bit of a hit this season with only 1 win.  That kind of winning percentage is unheard of.  I hope we get back to that average this coming season!
  • We crush at Hawthorne (60% winners as opposed to 21.2% at CBY – which is still pretty darn good!).  I think this is attributable to the time of year we run there.  We’re more aggressive in our placements there because we need to get the horse out of the stable before the end of the year so we’ll place the horse a level – maybe even two or three – below where we would normally run that type of horse.

All the credit goes to Clay Brinson, Tammy Domenosky and the other trainers, their staffs and the riders for making the winning possible and taking great care of the Club horses.

Enjoy the docs and look forward to working with you all this season!



2017 Rollover Form Now Available

We finally have it done!  The last vet bill came in yesterday and we finalized everything overnight and this morning and the results are attached.

For 2016 members the Club is returning $42.93 to each member.  That means to renew for 2017 you would fill out the attached form along with a check or credit card for $207.07.  Should you wish to not renew for 2017, please let either Jeff ( or I ( know and you will receive a check in the mail.

Attached are both the rollover form and the final financial spreadsheet. Once again, while not the most financially lucrative year we have ever had but we certainly learned an awful lot and, hopefully, had some fun along the way!

I hope that we see many, if not all, of you this summer as we start another journey together. Please have your renewals in by February 28, 2017. THANK YOU!



Welcome to 2017!

Welcome to sign ups for the 2017 edition of the Canterbury Racing Club.  Clubs have started popping up all over the country and  you have the opportunity to join the original!

The guidelines haven’t changed much this season:

Members will pay $250 to join the Club. There are no additional fees and the only additional expense will be if we are fortunate enough to get into the Winners’ Circle, there will be small charge for a photo.

The Club ends at the end of 2017 or when we have sold off our horses. As an example, in 2013 we closed in November because our last horse was claimed then and it made no sense to claim a horse for only a few weeks. Last year, however, we raced straight until December 30th and we sold Vanderboom Ridge the next day.

Members get admission to Canterbury Park for the season as well as, if available, a special location to watch the races, rotating paddock access and – again, if we’re lucky – access to the Winners’ Circle. We will conduct a few backstretch tours during the season as well so we can visit the barns and get a glimpse at life on the backside.

You get to follow YOUR horse(s) during the year!

Members can only get back as much money as they put in. This is a not for profit venture and is used as an educational experience to get people familiar with all the ins and outs of race horse ownership and “pull back the curtain”, if you will, and de-mystify the game.

We’re launching our “open enrollment” period, if you will. We’ll be looking to close out by February 28, 2017.  Clay Brinson will once again be our trainer but we are also looking to add a second trainer to the Club, Minnesota native Nevada Litfin.  We have averaged about 150 members over the past couple of years and if we have this many again we will look to have one horse with each trainer and, ideally, have them in place to start the 2017 Canterbury Park season.

The hope is that we will broaden our chances to come into the season with 2 horses ready to go as well as to give folks another perspective on training and racing.

I will be posting again once we close out 2016 and will have the rollover form available at that time as well. We are aiming for the end of January for the rollover forms.  Clay is very prompt with his billing, the same cannot always be said of the vet bill, but hopefully…

Sign up forms are at the bottom of this post. At the bottom of the form is the information to mail in your agreements. Please let us know if you have any questions either by leaving a comment here or contacting us directly at or jmaday@canterburypark.

2017 Canterbury Racing Club Membership Agreement

Closing Out 2016

In the win/loss column we’ve had better years.  I would even venture to say that in comparison to the past two seasons it was downright abysmal.  However, was the year abysmal or simply more typical of how difficult horse racing is?

In a fantastic blog post ( by my friend and proprietor of Castle Village Farm, Steve Zorn, he outlines the economics of racing in New York state. Though it’s from 2008, the basic tenants are sound. His conclusion:

The moral I take from it is that we’d all better be in this game for the thrills, the excitement, and the beauty of thoroughbreds, and be willing to pay a bit for the privilege of being associated with them. If we’re looking at race horse ownership to pay the rent, we’re in the wrong business. If we’re even hoping our horses will pay for themselves, we’re probably dreaming. Yes, that highly unusual, very good horse — the one we all hope to have every time we look at those two-year-olds in the Fasig-Tipton sales barns — will more than pay its own way. But most won’t — and we’ll all be in a better, more pleasant frame of mind if we can remember that.

2016 was a year like that for us; where we were reminded that: not all claims work out; that if a horse is too damaged to race anymore (see Ms Owell) that she deserves a safe landing; that winning is hard; and, hopefully, we were able to learn a little something and have some fun along the way.

It does seem like the fumbles and pitfalls we avoided over the past few years (bad claim, screwing up the entry at the end of the summer, injuries, rain outs, etc.) all piled up on us this season.  The truth is, though, they DO happen – and more often than we’ve had to experience over the past few seasons.

In my opinion, aside from the win, the highlights of the summer were the backstretch tours.  It is so much fun to show everyone what life is like back there, watch horses work, answer questions and see everyone that wants to be able to take some pictures with and feed their horses mints and carrots.  If you’ve never been able to get on board for one, I hope you’ll be able to this summer.

We also tried out a “closing breakfast” near the end of the meet which was well attended and, I think, was enjoyed by everyone.  I can certainly see us repeating that this summer and maybe even adding on a “kickoff” breakfast as well.

I feel like there were fewer questions this year than in past years but that is also bound to fluctuate with membership make-up.  I hope that we were able to answer your questions and you were able to learn a bit more about racing and that we were able to de-mystify it a bit for you.

Right now I am closing out the year.  We are waiting on December’s bills.  We should be closed up by the end of this month and, while it certainly won’t be as much as in past years, there will be some money eligible to roll-over into the 2017 Club.  We will post the roll-over form when the financials are completed.

There will also be a post later in the week for folks that wish to join us that were NOT members this past year.  Most of the parameters will be the same (ie cost) but there will be some tweaks to try and ensure that we come into the season with a pair of horses (based upon the membership) ready to roll.

On behalf of everyone involved with the Club, thank you so much for your participation!  We’re looking forward to 2017 and hope that you will join us again (or for the first time!).


Boomer Nets Win

In control from start to finish, Vanderboom Ridge gets the Club a winner on the 2nd to last day of 2015.

First off congratulations!  Though we’ve been spoiled the last couple of seasons, we learned this year that winning is hard.  However, we get one and it STILL feels terrific!

If folks are interested in buying winners’ circle photos, you can contact Four Footed Fotos.  Here is their information:

You can find the photos on the date of the race and call (425) 391-9193 to order.

Secondly, Vanderboom has been sold.  He will race again in 2017 and will continue to reside in the Brinson barn but for new ownership.  He was sold for $2000.  I really thought we were better than 50% to get claimed today but unfortunately that did not occur.  As we need to be horseless by the end of the year (tomorrow!) our backs were rather against the wall, but it’s done and I can start closing out 2016.

This is the process from here:

  • Clay will transfer the purchase money to us tomorrow;
  • I will close out the account at Hawthorne and have all the money sent back to Canterbury;
  • We will await Clay’s final bill as well as the final vet bill which, hopefully, will be all settled by the middle of January;
  • The final financials will be posted and folks will have the opportunity to receive a check for their share or roll it over toward the 2017 Club (pricing will be the same – $250 a share).

There will be more details shortly on the 2017 Club, but most details will remain the same.  We are hoping to hold an informational meeting over the next couple of months to answer any questions folks may have in person.

Thank you all so much for being a part of the 2016 Club and congratulations on the win!!