A few figures for yearling sales
by Trey Nosrac
“There is no joy in possession without sharing.”
No, this is not one of the countless website passwords that, once upon a time, we wrote down and can never find. Even if we find the missing password in our wallet or junk drawer, the dang thing does not work. At some point, a message will suggest we use our phone to receive a code to reset our lost password using a stronger password that contains a capital letter, a letter in century Gothic script, a hieroglyphic symbol of a bull, and the name of an Italian Opera.
These numbers represent my various percentages of yearling ownership over the last decade. The descending sequence roughly mirrors the success of the previous yearling purchase and, ergo, my available disposable income. Thinking back, a review of my ownership misadventures reveals an interesting phenomenon: the percentage of my ownership seems to make zero difference in my hopes and dreams for each yearling. In fact, due to a lack of fiscal pressure, my lower percentages of ownership were “more” enjoyable.
At this point, you may scoff, “If you find yourself racing a sires stake champion, you won’t be happy that you only own a minor percentage of that racehorse.” Should I ever own a trotting champion, and the odds are about the same as me dunking a basketball over LeBron James, I will write a book-length report about my emotions. The weird thing is, I believe my excitement would be over the moon at any percentage of ownership of a phenomenal racehorse.
Of course, you may be a wealthy lone ranger, an owner who likes to control the decisions, risk all the money, and earn all the money; and that’s great. Harness racing affords that option. But in my humble opinion, the key to having fun in this sport is sharing the ride with a few people on your wavelength. For some of us, sharing the ride, sharing the dream, talking, rejoicing, and moaning about the progress of a yearling is the engine that drives us down the difficult road of racing young trotters and pacers.
During various assignments and tomfoolery, I have crossed paths with three wealthy gentlemen who play the yearling game. These super-nice guys have more funds than they can spend in several lifetimes. Early in their long involvement in our sport, they were solo ownership acts. These days, each one prefers to have a few pals and gals along on each harness racing yearling ride.
As I look back at my percentage of ownership, my favorite percentage range is between 10 and 25 per cent. This number allows me to squeeze my budget beyond reason, participate in a yearling that sells in the middle range, and keep the training bills low enough that I do not need to (yet again) drain the rainy-day fund.
Another excellent option is fractional ownership via operations like Thestable. After lurking in the shadows, watching a few of his non-stop videos, and talking to participants, they report that Anthony MacDonald offers them a nice ride. Fractional ownership also puts a layer of professional selection between you and your investment and frees you from the details of yearling and young horse ownership. No doubt there are other fractional ownership groups worth looking into.
Here is another little factoid in my troubling psychological and fiscal world. Twice in the past decade, for some reason (see finances), I did not own any portion of a yearling. However, my close pal had a few racehorse prospects during my hiatus. My emotional involvement in his horses amazed me. Even without a dollar invested, each step of the journey and each race found my heart racing and breaking with the racetrack results.
To sum up something you already know, while this sport is a livelihood for some folks, most of us play for something other than money. And playing is more enjoyable with friends.