I’ve got the horse right here

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Chasing Time is my Secretariat. Photo/John Angelo

Timely WriterI entered the highfalutin world of thoroughbred racehorse ownership about two years ago. How big is my stable? It’s a one-horse stable. To be more precise it’s a 1/5,000th of a horse stable.

His name is Chasing Time and in 18 tries at eight major racetracks he’s won four starts and about $350,000. As my two microshares at myracehorse.com cost me $125 and I receive about $10 every time he wins…I’ll let you do the math. He was briefly on the Kentucky Derby radar in the spring of 2022 and that, sports fans, was worth the price of admission.

Vet and some training bills are included in the price but as the saying goes the best way to earn a million as a thoroughbred owner is to start with 10 million.

How small is 1/5,000th? Each day of the decade of the 2020s represents 1/3,657th of the 10-year period. I thus can own the horse outright for about 15 hours in the decade, should the other owners agree, or a teensy weensy piece each day. Lorrie says we own the white blaze on his forehead and that’s good enough for me. One of the perks of owning a slice of Chasing Time is that I receive nifty videos of the horse jogging on the track or getting a bath. As many workouts take place with the sun an early morning afterthought, I have to assume they’re accurate in IDing Chasing Time.

Frankly, I’ll roll my share of Chasing Time’s earnings into a 401-K retirement plan for him. Thoroughbred aftercare programs are badly needed and while the sport of kings has done better in this regard there is still a long way to go. 

My nom de plume, Timelywriter, is actually a tribute to 1981 New England champion thoroughbred Timely Writer. He would have gone off as the favorite for the 1982 Kentucky Derby but ingestion of a piece of moldy straw resulted in a case of colic. As horses can’t vomit, this is like you trying to run the Boston Marathon immediately after downing four tacos and a Corona with a lime. Good luck finding a bathroom.

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Lorrie says we own the white blaze on the forehead. Photo/John Angelo

In a previous life I worked on chart crews for the Daily Racing Form, the industry’s bible. Trouble is it contains more lies than Russia’s Pravda as chart crews are expected to call margins between horses during the live running of the race. I spent the summer of 1993 at Atlantic City Racecourse and each night they would run at least one five-furlong race (a furlong is an eighth of a mile) with 12 horses. Calling the start and the margins of the horses at three separate points of call meant 36 names with margins in a minute. I didn’t get one right the entire summer.

But not to worry… there will always be a chart. As the late Jim Bishop, a fixture at New England tracks, liked to say, “Don’t worry ‘bout nothin.’”

Speaking of New England thoroughbred tracks, they are now all history. At the site that was Rockingham Park in Salem now sits a giant outdoor mall called Tuscan Village. To feel at home here bring three cars. They paved paradise… They have a bocce court on artificial turf. Say no more.

Much has been made, and rightly so, of the clusters of thoroughbred fatalities at major tracks. Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, is but the latest to scrape and then lay down an entirely new racing surface. Some have called for an end to the sport. Yes, it’s true that a combination of animals, people and money can be a bad one and laying down new tracks is not the answer as long as American breeders seek precocious speed at the cost of soundness.

Judging how fast a racehorse will be as a three-year-old based on one all-out furlong breeze as a yearling is like trying to pick out future Olympians based on a single three-legged potato sack race.



About this Author

John Angelo

John Angelo’s humor has appeared in “Publisher’s Weekly,” “Writer’s Digest,” and “American Bookseller.” He is a frequent contributor to the “New Hampshire Business Review.” For a Christmas concert at his Catholic grammar school, the nuns told him to mouth the words and that he’d better not make a sound under any circumstances.