Belle Sold

The group that bought Belle was finalized yesterday, the check was made out and a group of 9 – nearly all former Clubbers – bought Belle for $2000.

Keep in mind, this is the same amount that we sold Vanderboom Ridge for at the end of last season – and he won his last race at $4000.  There were a couple of things working against us to get her sold off for more money.  The primary issue we have is the one we we always have – God and everyone know we have to be horseless by 12/31.  Secondarily we had a filly that could not win her last race at $5000 and she then proceeded to cut herself in her stall which did two things: kept us from racing her again to show she’s just fine and absolutely cuts back on the “eye test” factor.

We may have been able to get $2500 from a third party for her but the additional $500 for her to go someplace we don’t know didn’t seem to be the way to go for an additional $3 for everyone.  Additionally our mission is to try and educate folks about ownership so they want to do take a run at ownership, either solo or in a partnership.  This was a way of accomplishing that goal.

She had a nice run for the Club even though we ended on a bit of a down note (though a third place at Churchill Downs is pretty cool) she did give us a pair of wins – both at home.

Her first win was in a nice starter allowance race where she returned $28.40 to her backers.  This is the highest mutual that a Club horse has ever returned.  I would have to delve a little deeper but it could also be the Club’s first win in a starter allowance as well.

Her other win was a romp in a $6250 claiming race where everything seemed to go her way and she took full advantage of it.

A couple of things I would have done differently: I would have sent her to Hawthorne after Canterbury and tried to win as many as we could before we got claimed as we have done in the past with Ask Eddie and others.  Keeneland and Churchill may have been too tough for her, especially since we were looking to get her claimed.

To that end I would have stepped back from plans to try her longer on the turf.  That was a mistake on my end.  I should have opted to go shorter and cheaper.  If she got claimed then, no big deal.  It was the end of the meet anyhow and while it is nice to follow a horse through the fall, it’s also nice to win at home and it’s not the end of the world if we lose a horse at the end of the meet.

However she did return over $20,000 to the Club and helped make up a little bit for the mis-step with Jerry’s Two Tickets.

As mentioned in the last post, we will be gathering bills and auditing the account and by the end of January we should have a solid final accounting. I hope that you will seriously consider rolling your return into the 2018 Club – we’d love to have each and every one of you back!

For those of you following along, look for details and sign ups for new members shortly after the first of the year.


Not With A Bang, But A Whimper

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot:

This is how the season ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Belle recovered from the cut in her leg but with weather curtailing training at the Trackside Training Center at Churchill Downs, we have run out of time to get her ready enough for a start at Delta Downs.

The good news is that a group formed from current and former Clubbers will be picking her up to race her in 2018.  After shopping her for a bit but not getting any serious takers the decision was made that if we had to sell her inexpensively (like we did Vanderboom Ridge last season) it made more sense to let some Clubbers buy her and continue up the ownership ladder.

The money is being gathered now and the group formed so the deal should be consummated by the middle of next week.

We will collect bills at the end of the month, finalize expenses and put the 2017 Club to bed in mid-January (hopefully) –  Just in time to kick off the 2018 Club!

There will be no change in fees for 2018 and I would anticipate enrollment again staying open until the end of February and be able to start shopping Oaklawn with Nevada and either California or Illinois with Clay in March.  While there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to get two horses, enrollment has held pretty steady around the 150 mark which should allow us to move forward on two fronts.  If we’re able to draw more participants – all the better!

Belle’s final stats for the Club were 9 starts with a pair of wins and a third with over $20,000 in earnings.  We’ll do a more complete recap soon.

Belle: Work, Move, Race

Belle will be moving to Arkansas with the rest of the Litfin stable in about a week.  Before she leaves she’ll get a breeze at the training center to test her out and make sure she’s ready to roll and we’ll enter her at Delta Downs.  She’s been training well and her ankle is healing nicely, though slower than we would have liked – though she’s finally nearly ready.

We are also actively looking to sell her off.  If that comes first we may forgo shipping to Delta and adding the extra cost. If we can sell her in Kentucky, we’d do that as well.

While she’s caused her own issues at the end here, I think if I had to do it again I would have sent her to Hawthorne with Clay.  With the lower level of racing there we perhaps could have won a race or two and had her claimed in the process because she would have looked more attractive there than she did in Kentucky.  Hindsight is 20/20, though, and we’ll make the most of it.