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New to the Racing Industry

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  • New to the Racing Industry

    After college, I am looking into bloodstock to breed racehorses and maybe even race them once I become established. Any advice on how to start a successful thoroughbred farm?

  • #2
    Have you worked for anyone in the business?

    Do you have a bazillion dollars? (Half kidding...)


    • Original Poster

      Haha no, I do not have any experience in the racing world. I have competed up and down the East coast in the hunters and jumpers, though.


      • #4
        Talk to a Tb breeding farm and pick their brains about how to set up and manage a breeding farm. Also ask their opinion on how they choose the best broodmares for their farm. You also have to consider what you're going to do with the foal. Are you going to sell it as a weanling, yearling, 2 year old in training? Are you going to sell privately or use a consignor and go through the sales? Do you know how to sales prep a horse? It's a little more then just grooming them daily.

        Your best bet to see if anything in the racing business is suited for you is to go work for a farm that does breeding and sales prep. That way you'll know first hand if it's something you could do or not.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
          Have you worked for anyone in the business?

          Do you have a bazillion dollars? (Half kidding...)
          This. No offense but that is like asking "how can I start my own space program?" Maybe after MANY years of working your way up from the bottom you might be able to go out on your own but even then the likelihood of making money is slim without a bankroll behind you. Get a job as a hotwalker and go from there.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            Originally posted by Corsica80 View Post
            Any advice on how to start a successful thoroughbred farm?
            1. Hit the PowerBall.

            2. If you don't hit the PowerBall, then you need to find investors. You'll need to buy or lease property, and invest in good quality stock. This will cost oodles of money (which most recent college grads do not have.)

            Of course, to find investors, you will need to convince people who have money that:

            a) you know a lot about bloodlines and nicking
            b) you have experience in the racing industry and TB sales
            c) you have a realistic business plan. A lot of foals are bred every year, and a lot of them never even see the track (some spectacularly bred, even). Of those who do, an extremely tiny fraction actually "succeed" and make it to the stakes ranks.


            3. Be prepared to lose money. For every winner you have, you will have 10-12 that aren't. You might be able to sell some at sales in the $50,000 range, but only if you invest twice that in breeding them.

            4. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul, and prepare your investors for the same. It might take a dozen years or more to build a consistent quality program.

            5. Go broke.

            Really, it's not so different from any other horse industry. It takes a lot of money and time to do it right and really build a quality program. The other side of this is EXACTLY like the h/j world. Anybody can hang out a shingle and say they're professionals who can produce, that doesn't mean it's true. And to get investors and money coming in, people need to know you have experience and have produced good results before.

            You might be great at what you do, but I know very few people who would be willing to invest money in a program started by someone fresh out of college with no experience in the racing industry. Now, if you'd worked for ten years under well known trainers, and at "known" breeding farms where you became an integral part of their business, then maybe.

            There are lots of people who do OK and survive breeding regional or local quality horses whose future is the low claiming ranks, but even for any one of those programs that works OK (by which I mean the people running it are able to feed themselves and pay their mortgage), probably 10 fail miserably.
            "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

            My CANTER blog.


            • #7
              I'd recommend applying for an internship such as KEMI - Kentucky Equine Managment Internship. It's starting at the bottom, but you'll get good experience and meet lots of people, which is key in this industry. The program has its students placed working on thoroughbred breeding farms and they have classes, lectures, and outing requirements as well.
              The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. I know people who graduated from the program that have stepped up into other positions on farms and working for bloodstock agents.


              • #8
                How do you plan on financing the breeding operation? Do you have seed money, or will you need to rely on boarders?


                • #9
                  Mostly, do have whopping great gobs of cash on hand and/or a fantastic credit line? And if you're breeding, as mentioned, what is the object? Race or sell? If it's to sell, see above about money to get the mares who have the bloodlines that will go in the sales ring and for the stallion fees. If it's to race, what's your plan for the majority who aren't going to make stakes company? Who's your trainer going to be? Do you have all the licenses you'll need? Are you okay with most horses ending up in the claiming ranks, unless you have VERY high-quality animals?

                  Unless you're already SO wealthy you can do this as a hobby, I'd take the suggestion to go work for an operation and get some experience before trying to set up your own business. It's not something likely to make money at the start, and if you can't afford high-quality stock all you'd be doing initially is putting out more mediocre horses when the non-racing market for washouts has bottomed out.
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                  • #10
                    It sounds like you're in over your head. I can't imagine just deciding to start up a breeding operation from nothing. There are alot of factors you have to consider. Do you already own a farm? Are you thinking of buying one, or are you going to buy land and build from the ground up? You already posted you don't have any breeding stock.

                    If you're serious, I'd write up a business plan thoroughly detailing every single detail of what you want to accomplish. Make a list of every expense you're going to incur: not just vet, farrier, and labor--think halters, feed, shavings, water buckets, basic first aid medicines/wraps, manure disposal, etc etc. Boarding a horse out is alot different than keeping horses on your own property, especially if you're going to have several bred mares.

                    I also echo the opions of people telling you to do an internship first. I think you'll find TB breeding alot less glamorous than it seems, and you can really talk to your coworkers and bosses about the labor and expenses that come with running a successful farm.
                    R.I.P. Eagles Hill. 4/6/00-12/10/11.


                    • #11
                      Just what the industry needs. Another breeder with no knowledge. Great. If that sounds harsh, sorry...it's the truth.

                      Buy a share in a race horse. Then you get to be an owner.


                      • #12
                        Be prepared!

                        If the feedback so far seems harsh, it's for good reason.

                        You are in college, which means that you are a young person with a dream, which is wonderful and you should absolutely reach for the moon and prepare to land in the stars.

                        Some of us have been around the pike and are steeled to the realities of the racing world. It's not a business for the weak of heart or shallow of pockets.

                        I would recommend that you cut your chops as a grunt on the backside of the racetrack...any racetrack...because that is the only way you will get an insight of the racing world from the bottom up. You will be exposed to myriad horses who may have crap breeding and may have stellar breeding. They may end up in the right hands or in the wrong hands and owners who spend enormous sums for prospects are disappointed and others who invest in cheap stock are rewarded. There often is little rhyme or reason for the discrepancies.

                        Breeding is one thing. Bringing the youngsters along to maximize their abilities and optimize their longevity is another bailiwick that is a crapshoot at best.

                        Don't even think about a breeding operation until you understand the industry from soup to nuts, and, then, monitor your sanity and competence daily!


                        • #13

                          Go to school at the University of Arizona's Race Track Program. Then do a KEMI internship, or an Irish National Stud Internship, and apply to be in Darley Flying Start.

                          Those are the best ways for racing newbies to get into the industry outside of walking hots and mucking stalls. And even then you still end up working hard, and will hopefully put in hours in the foaling barns and backside to appreciate all the hard work that goes into racing.

                          Also-marry rich And listen to these people who put in the long hours and the hard work for a not so great (financial) reward.