Approximately 250 people attended the three-day event, including both longtime horse owners and new or prospective owners. Future editions of the conference are planned for the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Championships and the 2017 Breeders’ Cup will be held at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.
Like its predecessors, this edition of the owner conference featured panel discussions with prominent owners, trainers, jockeys, and other personalities from the racing industry who shared insights and experiences about their involvement with the sport.
In the keynote address Wednesday afternoon, Olczyk described his passion for Thoroughbred racing.
“I love horse racing and I love being an owner,” he said. “If you’re a new owner, you’re getting into a great game.”
Olczyk emphasized that his interest in the sport revolves around the people on the backstretch. “The hotwalkers, trainers, grooms, vets, exercise riders, and jockeys are the people that make this sport go,” he said.
Former NYRA announcer Tom Durkin once again served as the master of ceremonies, and television journalist Nick Clooney hosted a “Hollywood Goes to the Races” segment on Tuesday afternoon featuring author Laura Hillenbrand, the author of “Seabiscuit: An American Legend.”
“Keeneland has maintained a commitment to Thoroughbred owner development in a variety of ways over a long period of time, and we believe that these conferences provide potential owners with a unique opportunity to learn about the sport from people who have been deeply involved in it,” said Bill Thomason, president and chief executive officer of Keeneland Association. “This week’s conference was extremely educational and informative not only for newcomers but for anyone attending it, and Keeneland was proud to be a presenting sponsor once again.”
“The Stronach Group is always looking for innovative ways to bring new people to our sport and our sponsorship of this conference is just another example of that,” said Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group’s Racing and Gaming Division. “It has been especially exciting to welcome owners and prospective owners to our beautiful facility here at Santa Anita Park in the day’s leading up to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.”
Peter R. Bradley III, a longtime Lexington, Ky.-based Thoroughbred owner, adviser and syndicate manager, said the Thoroughbred owner conference “is the best vehicle to educate new owners that we’ve ever had. The panelists don’t sugarcoat anything: they talk about the cost, the excitement you feel as an owner and all the highs and the lows. The conference gives people with an interest in the sport a good underpinning of what they are getting into.”
Paul Piergross, a self-described “newbie” owner from Delran, N.J., who participates in the West Point Thoroughbreds partnerships, attended the Thoroughbred Owner Conference for the first time and said it was educational.
“I found it to be very informative and I was impressed by how honest many of the panelists were about the investment opportunities,” he said. “None of them made this out to be a get-rich-quick scheme. I thought the variety of panelists and perspectives were interesting, and it’s hard to beat a location like Santa Anita.”
A video replay of all panels at the conference will be available at ownerview.com within the next week.
OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.
The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.