The Empire Racing Club is an initiative created by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association to let you experience the thrills of racehorse ownership at minimal cost and no risk. New York’s beloved retired racecaller Tom Durkin will serve as managing partner, and Eclipse Award-winner Todd Pletcher will be the Club trainer.
Owning a racehorse can cost more than $50,000 a year, with no guarantee that your horse will ever make it to the starting gate. Membership in the Empire Racing Club gives you behind-the-scenes access and all the excitement at a fraction of the price. You will visit the backstretch, leaning on the rail with a cup off coffee while rubbing elbows with New York racing’s luminaries as your horse goes through his morning training. You will meet with your trainer and jockey in the paddock, getting a close-up look at the competition from the sidelines, rather than the stands. And, with racing luck, you will cheer your horse to victory and pose for a photo in the winner’s circle at one of NYRA’s beautiful racetracks!
Empire Racing Club membership open only to individuals who are not currently licensed as racehorse owners or trainers.
Proceeds from the Empire Racing Club, a not-for-profit tax-exempt social club, will be used to pay the expenses of the horse and the Club. Any excess funds will be distributed to a 501 (c) (3) non-profit aftercare organization. The Club membership agreement specifically names New York’s TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program as the designee.
Club members will receive regular updates about their horse via conference call, email and social media, and will meet with other members at dedicated Club events and race days. You will also learn about the Thoroughbred industry from the experts. Topics will include:
➢ The Basics of Horse Ownership: Licensing, credentials, stable names, silks, budgeting and bills
➢ So You Want to Own a Racehorse: Buying at the horse auctions
➢ The Claiming Game: How do you claim a racehorse?
➢ How to Train Your Racehorse: The basics of horse training
➢ Want to Bet? Handicapping and wagering 101
➢ Riding Into the Sunset: Equine aftercare
➢ And more!
EMPIRE RACING CLUB FAST FACTS:
- Based on first-come first-serve enrollment, the Club will be open to a maximum of 200 members, with a $500 annual membership fee. Currently licensed owners and trainers are NOT eligible to join.
- Registered as a 501 (c) (7) not-for-profit social club.
- The Club’s mission is to raise awareness of the sport of horse racing, and to create new fans, handicappers and horse owners.
- The Club is organized as a not-for-profit social club, and members do not join the Club with any profit motive or expectation of profit.
- Proceeds from the Empire Racing Club, a not-for-profit tax-exempt social club, will be used to pay the expenses of the horse and the Club. Any excess funds will be distributed to a 501 (c) (3) non-profit aftercare organization. The Club membership agreement specifically names New York’s TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program as the designee. If there is a profit, membership dues up to $500 may be reimbursed. That is the maximum that can be returned to members.
- Racing Club members will not have owner credentials, and will not be licensed by the Gaming Commission. We will be providing trips to the backstretch and event days at the track with a visit to the paddock, where the members will have all the access that owners do, but in a more supervised setting.
- Membership fees are NOT tax deductible.
As a perk, the Club will partner with NYRA Bets, which will offer a $200 Wagering Credit to members who sign up as new NYRA Bets account holders.
THE CLUB MANAGING PARTNER:
Tom Durkin was the voice of New York racing from Aug. 29, 1990 through Aug. 31, 2014. During a career over a span of 43 years, he called approximately 80,000 races. He was the voice of the Breeders’ Cup for its first 23 years. He also worked as an analyst, feature producer and commentator for over 20 years for both ESPN and NBC. In New York, he served on the board of the Backstretch Employee Service Team for 18 years. He is currently a Board member emeritus of that organization. He is the winner of numerous industry awards including the Eclipse Award of Merit, The Jockey Club Gold Medal, Big Sport of Turfdom, Thoroughbred Club of America Honoree, Saratoga Race Course Walk of Fame and ThoroFan Man Of The Year, among other awards. He is currently a resident of Saratoga Springs, New York.
THE CLUB TRAINER:
Todd Pletcher, one of the most successful trainers in racing history, will oversee the daily management of Empire Racing Club runners. Born in Texas in 1967, Pletcher learned the horse business from his father Jake Pletcher and later apprenticed under Hall of Fame legend D. Wayne Lukas. He saddled his first winner in 1996 and quickly established himself as one of the stars of the game. In 1998, the Dallas native earned the first of 13 (to date) training titles at Saratoga; in 1999, he garnered the first of his 13 Belmont titles during the Spring Meet. He notched the first of a record seven Eclipse Awards in 2004, when his stable stars included Breeders’ Cup winners and champions Ashado and Speightstown. Fittingly, his first winner of a Triple Crown race came in 2007 when the filly Rags to Riches outfought Curling to win the Belmont Stakes. He has since saddled two additional winners of the Belmont, with Palace Malice taking the “Test of the Champion” in 2013 and Tapwrit winning in 2017. Pletcher’s first Kentucky Derby triumph came courtesy of Super Saver, and he added another win in the “Run for the Roses” in 2017 with Always Dreaming. Those are just some of the highlights in a career that has already seen him win over 4,700 races. His runners have amassed more than $371 million to date, and they finish in the top three—“in the money”—52 percent of the time. He resides in nearby Garden City.
THE CLUB HORSE:
The Empire Racing Club entered into an agreement with Spendthrift Farm to lease a filly bred by the Lexington, Kentucky nursery this year. By Spendthrift stallion Can The Man, two-year-old is out of graded-producer Five Star Daydream, making her a half-sister to last season’s GIII Beaumont S. winner Gas Station Sushi, who is by Can The Man’s sire Into Mischief. Club members were given the opportunity to suggest names, and the winner was Starlit Daydream, and it was Meghan Krebs of Connecticut who came up with the winner. Starlit Daydream is currently in training in Saratoga. “She’s doing well so far,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Her first breeze was very easy for her and she’s catching quickly at the starting gate. She appears to have speed.”
For more information, call us at (516) 488-2337, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Empire Racing Club Board of Directors
Christina Bossinakis, Empire Racing Club Coordinator