Now that we are close to having everything collected and in place, it is time to go shopping.

The first step will be to get the Club licensed in the two jurisdictions where we want to get a horse: Arkansas and Illinois. The only individual that will need to get licensed is myself but the group will need to be licensed and we will need to appoint our trainers as “authorized agents”.  This means that they can claim on our behalf.  The group license runs $50 in each jurisdiction and the authorized agent appointments are $8 in Arkansas and $25 in Illinois.  Once that is set and the money transferred we are ready to claim.

It looks as if we will have about 150 members this year or $37,500 to shop with.  The cost of a pair of horses in training is about $5000 a month.  I like to have at least 3 months worth of bills safely in the bank (preferably 4) which leaves us about $17,000 to spend on horses or about $8000 per horse (AR has a 9% sales tax on claims so that has to be figured in as well).

With licensing and parameters set, we move on.

About 80% of the races held in North America are claiming races or races in which the horses are up for sale. This process was instituted to keep each race as even as possible. You certainly weren’t going to risk your prize stallion if you knew he could be had for just a few thousand dollars! Claiming helps stratify racing and keeps a few good horses from beating up on those less talented.

Claiming levels vary greatly around the country. At some country fair and rural tracks the prices can be as low as $1000 while at the larger venues there can be $100,000 claiming races. The bottom line is the same: each horse is for sale for price laid out in the conditions of the race.

There is a very specific process you need to go through to claim a horse. It varies a bit from track to track but I’ll outline the generic process below.

First, you pick out the horse you want to buy. The trainers and I sort through Past Performances and check on possible targets. They also watch horses in training and on the track where a horse may catch their eye.  We’ll be looking for a pair of horses about $8,000 or less for the Club given our budget. Our criteria will be horse that has shown some consistency over a moderate (20 or so) number of starts and one that is perhaps coming from a barn that may not be as accomplished as our trainers’. In other words, something that our teams can improve upon with their training regimen.

Second, you check the horse out in person. You can’t walk up to a barn and say, “Hey, I’m going to claim your horse tomorrow, can I have my vet check him out?” but you do want some degree of comfort because, in most jurisdictions, claiming is the epitome of “buyer beware” because once you own the horse, you inherit everything that may be wrong with him.

So the trainers will take a close look at the horse as it walks over for it’s race and his behavior in the paddock. If they sees signs of a physical ailment (sore, crooked leg, etc) that could be an indicator of future issues, we pass. If they like what they see, we move onto step 3.

Third, you fill out the claim slip EXACTLY and then drop it in the claim box in the racing office or the bookkeeper’s office depending on the racetrack. Any error and the claim is voided. For example, one claim slip was filled out at Keeneland Race Course but on the “track” line, the trainer wrote in “Keenland” rather than “Keeneland”. The missing “e” cost them the horse.

The claim box is locked and the claim slips time stamped. Various tracks have different deadlines to have the claim slip in: 5 minutes to post, post time, etc. When the gates open, the claim box is opened and, if you have the only claim in on a horse, it’s yours from that moment forward. Should the horse pick up a check in that race, it goes to the old owners, but should the horse suffer an injury – or worse – in the race, the horse belongs to the new owners. Minnesota, New York, California and Arkansas have rules to protect new owners against catastrophic injury, but very few other jurisdictions. When the horse comes back after the race, a track employee is there with a tag that is snapped onto the bridle and the horse heads off to the new barn.

Should there be more than one claim on a horse, a “shake” is instituted. In a case like this, each claim slip is given a number which corresponds to a number on a small pill/ball. The pills are placed in a bottle, shaken and tipped. The number of the claim slip that corresponds to the first pill out of the bottle wins the horse. A horse we were looking at for the Alumni group last year had 16 claim slips dropped on him, for example. Oaklawn, especially, is a real hotbed of claiming activity.

Over the next few weeks, this is the process we will follow to try and get at least one – and hopefully two – horses for the Club. We may be successful, we may not and will claim here at Canterbury when the meet starts, but either way the process has begun!

If you have any questions, please fire away in the comments section. Remember, the Club is designed to be a learning experience and we presuppose no level of knowledge so there is no such thing as a bad or stupid question!


Racing Club Financial Update Through August

We’re back at the track today and it’s always a weird feeling when the live race meet ends. It’s quite a ride during the season and it’s an odd letdown when it all comes to an end. This year, it’s quite a different mood here as the cooperative marketing agreement between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake Casino ensures that racing will not only be here in 2013, but it will be here in a big way.

Here’s a look at the club’s finances through the end of August.

Final Balance as of 7/31 – $17,122.90


Lovely Tak 3rd Place Finish 8-17: $1,080*

High Spirit 3rd Place Finish 8-18: $1,210

High Spirit 1st Place Finish 9-2: $5,400

High Spirit Claim: $3,500

Sale of Lovely Tak: $1,500

Total Racing Club August Earnings = $12,690


Lovely Tak Day Rate (31 Days at $60 per Day) – $1,860

Great Bam Day Rate (31 Days at $60 per Day) – $1,860

High Spirit Day Rate (30 Days at 60 per Day) – $1,800

Lovely Tak Shoes (8/10) – $120

Great Bam Shoes (8/23) – $175

Lovely Tak Pony to Post (8/17) – $25

High Spirit Pony to Post (8/18 and 8/30) – $50

Equine Retirement Fees – $2 per Start – $6

Jockey Fee to Nik Goodwin for Lovely Tak (8/17) – $65*

Jockey Fee to Denny Velazquez for High Spirit (8/18) – $75

Jockey Fee to Adolfo Morales for High Spirit (8/30) – $540

Trainer Fee to Clay Brinson for High Spirit (8/18 and 8/30) – $661

Coady Photography for High Spirit Photos – $1,092.27

July Veterinarian Expenses:

Great Bam

Equine Pain Medication – $53.58

Thyroid Supplement – $22.75

Lovely Tak

Raceday Medication – $103.58

Electrolytes, Vitamins and Enzymes – $176

Thyroid Medication, Joint Lubricants and Supplements – $510.25

High Spirit

Floating Teeth – $80

Raceday Medication – $35

Electrolytes, Vitamins and Enzymes – $85

Thyroid Medication, Joint Lubricants and Supplements – $458.25

Total August Training and July Vet Expenses – $9,853.68

Total Remaining Balance – $19,959.22

* Lovely Tak originally finished fourth in her race on 8/17. However, Royal Gamble (the second place finisher) was disqualified for a positive test following the race. Therefore, we were awarded third place money.

You’ll note that this statement does not include September racing transactions which would include a second place finish for Great Bam worth $2,600 before expenses or the August vet bill. These will be reflected on the next statement.

Clay’s first group of horses will ship Saturday. Not sure if Bam is part of the first group yet or not. We’ll let you know when we find out more.

Great Bam Finishes Second

As was our concern, Great Bam simply came up short in his first race in the past 145 days. He looked good early in the race, maybe moved a touch too early around the turn and then didn’t have quite enough gas left in the tank in the final furlong.

It’s a classic example of why horses typically don’t run their best race first time back off a layoff. Clay said he came back tired but that is to be expected with that kind of layoff.

As was outlined in the group agreement at the beginning of the year, the hope was to run the club through December unless it became prudent to cease operations at an earlier date. With that in mind, Clay told us that the plan is to ship to Chicago early next week and get him ready to run when the Hawthorne meet opens up in early October.

We’ll have a post updating the finances later in the week. We hope you enjoyed coming out to watch your horses run this summer. It was nice to get a couple of win photos for the group. We’ll obviously continue to keep you updated via the blog!

Great Bam and High Spirit Plans

Jeff talked to Clay this afternoon to get an update on Great Bam and to discuss an alternative plan for High Spirit.

First, Clay was reasonably happy with the level of Great Bam’s conditioning after watching him workout and cool down yesterday. He is planning on trying to run him in a non-winners of two claiming race on closing day. As of now, that race would be for a $10,000 claiming price, but we’ll have to see how things progress. In the final week of the meet, lots of horses are usually looking to race, so we’ll need to keep an open mind and see if we can find the right race for him.

As for High Spirit, an extra race came up on the overnight yesterday for Thursday. The race is a $3,500 claiming race for horses that haven’t won two races in the year going one mile and seventy yards on the dirt. This is likely to be an easier spot than the race on closing day. Hopefully we can get this race to go and we’ll have a chance to run on Thursday.

Keep your fingers crossed! We’ll let you know when we know more.

High Spirit Entered, Financial Updates and Tour Plans

First of all, it’s going to be a busy weekend for you! High Spirit has been entered in a $5,000 claiming race for non-winners of two races in the year. The race went with 8 entries and will be run as the fourth race on the card on Saturday.

Denny Velazquez is again named to ride and the field looks a bit easier than the group we ran against last time.

Yes, that means that you have a horse entered on Friday night (Lovely Tak) and Saturday afternoon (High Spirit).

Therefore, we are going to split the paddock groups as follows:

Friday (Lovely Tak – Race 4 – 8:28PM): Last Names Beginning with A – L

Saturday (High Spirit – Race 4 –  Approx 3:00PM): Last Names Beginning with M – Z

Per usual, if you would like to join the group in the paddock, please be sure to arrive outside of the paddock shortly after the conclusion of the previous race.

Plans for a Second Backside Tour

We are going to host a second tour on Sunday, August 26 at 9:30 a.m. Please RSVP with Jeff or Andrew by e-mailing them at

We will take a spin through the backside, see the pool, visit the barn and watch a workout (if time permits).

Update on Club Finances

Below is an update on the status of the account. Earnings are listed first with expenses following. As you can see, it certainly helps to win a race. However, without one member of the stable being able to run, it does make it difficult to make money.

Balance as of July 5 – $19,168.55

July Earnings:

Lovely Tak Fourth Place Finish on 7/12 – $540

Lovely Tak First Place Finish on 7/27 – $5,400

High Spirit Third Place Finish on 7/27 – $1,210

Total July Earnings – $7,150

July Training Expenses:

Lovely Tak Day Rate (31 Days at $60 per Day) – $1,860

Great Bam Day Rate (31 Days at $60 per Day) – $1,860

High Spirit Day Rate (28 Days at 60 per Day) – $1,680

Equine Retirement Fees ($2 per start) – $6

Pony in the Post Parade ($25 per start) – $75

Jockey Fee to Nik Goodwin (Lovely Tak Fourth Place 7/12) – $55

Jockey Fee to Nik Goodwin (Lovely Tak First Place 7/27 – 10%) – $540

Trainer Free to Clay Brinson (Lovely Tak First Place 7/27 – 10%) – $540

Groom Bonus for Winning Horse (Lovely Tak First Place 7/27) – $50

Jockey Free to Denny Velazquez (High Spirit Third Place 7/27) – $75

Trainer Fee to Clay Brinson (High Spirit Third Place 7/27 – 10%) – $110

Shoes for High Spirit on July 19 – $125

Quarter Crack Patch, Glue on Shoes and Protective Plate for High Spirit – $306

June Veterinarian Expenses:


Electrolytes, Thyroid Medication and Joint Supplements – $282.55

Raceday Medications – $35

Great Bam

Electrolytes, Antibiotics for Burst Blood Vessel and Thyroid Medication – $285.08

Lasix for Workout – $15

Lovely Tak

Thyroid Medication and Joint Supplements – $203.75

July Miscellaneous Expenses:

Win Pictures from Coady Photography – $1,092.27

Total of June Vet Expenses and July Training Expenses – $9,195.65

Final Balance as of 7/31 – $17,122.90

Lovely Take Entered for Friday

Lovely Tak has been entered for Friday. She drew the sixth post position in the fourth race (estimated post time 8:28pm). She’ll face some familiar foes and it will certainly be a more difficult race than her last. She is the third choice on the morning line of seven participants.

Nik Goodwin will again have the call. The race is a $3,500 claiming race at a distance of six furlongs.

Sounds like Clay will enter High Spirit on Wednesday with the hopes of running him on Saturday. However, we will have to wait and see what happens there.

More information (including an update on bills) will be provided on Wednesday. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday afternoon and make plans to be here on Friday night!

Lovely Tak Entered – Faces Familiar Foes

As you have likely already found out, Lovely Tak was entered in tomorrow’s first race of the evening. The final Claiming Series Qualifying Races for Fillies and Mares. Nik Goodwin will ride and the race is scheduled for 7:07PM.

She faces five others in a field of six including Downerbythemeadow – now owned by Zephyr Racing Stable and trained by Valorie Lund. Overall, she has 2 points in the 2012 Claiming Series and she will be one of only six horses to have run in enough qualifying races to be eligible for the $25,000 Final on August 2nd. Obviously, let’s take one thing at a time.

Last names starting with M through Z are eligible for the paddock tomorrow night. Plan on being in front of the paddock no later than 6:45 if you want to get in.

Jeff and Andrew have a pretty full night with the hot tub show and summer school. Molly will be around to help guide everyone through the paddock process and Jeff will join the group shortly after the hot tub show concludes.

We have some space in Silks (main level to the left of the winner’s circle) for the group to congregate afterward to enjoy the remainder of the races.

Post any questions or comments here. Otherwise, let’s hope for a good trip!

Bills & an Update on the Equines

Jeff and I went back to discuss the newest acquisition and the entry of Lovely Tak for next Thursday. Below, Clay goes over the two charges:

Here is a look at the account as of this afternoon. We have accumulated all training bills through June and all vet bills through may. Additionally, we accounted for the claim that we made on Tuesday.

Balance as of the End of May = $28,466.45

Plus the following revenues:

20% of the Purse for the Second Place Finish – $1,500

20% of the SMSC Purse Enhancement Bonus – $300

20% of the MN Breeders’ Fund Supplement – $630

Claim of Downerbythemeadow by Zephyr Racing – $3,500

Total Revenues – $5,930

Less these expenses (training expenses through June and other expenses through July):

Great Bam

30 Days Training for Great Bam ($60 per Day) – $1,800

Farrier (Shoes) – $120

May Vet Bills – $303.05


8 Days Training for Downerbythemeadow ($60 per Day) – $480

Jockey Fee for Denny Velazquez – $121.50

Trainer Fee for Clay Brinson on 2nd Place Finish (10% of purse earnings) – $180

Farrier (Shoes) – $120

Post Parade Pony – $25

May Vet Bills – $56.35

Equine Retirement – $2

Lovely Tak

15 Days of Training for Lovely Tak ($60 per Day) – $900

Farrier (Shoes) – $120

Training Expenses through 6/30 & Vet Bills through 5/31 – $4,227.90

Other Expenses

Claim of Lovely Tak (6/14) – $3,500

Claim of High Spirit (7/3) – $7,500

Click here for High Spirit’s Career Past Performances

Click here for Lovely Tak’s Career Past Performances

Other Expenses through 7/3 – $11,000

Ending Balance as of July 5 – $19,168.55

Horse #3 Joins the Team!

Clay claimed another horse for the group today out of the eighth race. #9 High Spirit was claimed out of the 7 and 1/2 furlong turf race for $7,500. Clay said that he likes the horse’s ability to run on both surfaces and believes that he’ll be able to find a good spot for him.

This time, we actually won a 3-way shake!

High Spirit went favored but wasn’t able to come with his typical late kick as the field let Bravo Prado get away to a pretty easy lead and go gate-to-wire. He ended up finishing mid-pack not being able to mount a serious charge down the stretch.

We’ll update the group on the horse after we have a chance to talk to Clay.