For Owners, Horse Racing a Sure Bet (to Lose)

The ponies are a labor of love with small stakes, high costs
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2009 12:55 PM CST
For Owners, Horse Racing a Sure Bet (to Lose)
A race at in the Adirondack stakes at Saratoga Race Course.   (AP Photo)

Thoroughbred racehorses aren’t cheap to buy—and then you have to house them, feed them, pay the vet, the trainer, the jockey, etc. And if you actually intend to make money, they have to win. And even then, since most horses never make the elite high-stakes races, owners have to be content with small purses. Fitting, then, that one owner got into the game after his accountant suggested he “get a hobby that loses money” as a tax shelter.

“Anyone who goes into this business expecting to make money, they're not playing with a full deck,” another owner tells the Los Angeles Times. In certain lower levels of the racing world, a horse might have to place first in every race for a year before an owner even starts thinking about breaking even. But that’s not what it’s about. “You get the pride of watching your horse,” one says. It’s “like owning your own sports franchise.” (More horse racing stories.)

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