Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Winner's Circle!!!

So we spent the past few days between Christmas and New Years down in Maryland visiting Stewart and Janine and Emma and Ellie. Mom drove down with us as usual which is blessing for that long car ride - she keeps the kids sane and pays for the gas and food too!!!

The weather was great (warm) and we opened gifts, spent time at the park running the kids ragged (click here for slideshow) as well as at the big indoor pool and water park which has become a regular destination on these trips. But the highlight of the visit was an excursion to Laural Park near Baltimore to watch one of Stew's horses run!

Stew founded Winner's Circle Partners which operates several partnerships that individuals can buy into and own a share of one or more thoroughbreds. Mom has actually bought into one of the partnerships and experienced the thrill first-hand. Stew had a good horse running on Saturday that he thought might do well so we all packed into the cars and headed up to Laural about 30 mins away from their house.

We arrived about 20 mins before the race and checked out the horses as they prepared. Stew's horse was named "Broadway Baby". It was #5 and ridden by a jockey wearing a green Winner's Circle Partners jacket which I thought was cool.

SIDE NOTE: - The race had a $35,000 purse and was considered a "claim" race which in the arcane rules of horseracing means that another owner can "claim" the winning horse for the purse amount - meaning you must involuntarily sell it at that price! Apparently this happens all the time, kind of a compelled business transaction that adds some intrigue to the decision making process of whether to run a horse in aparticular race of not. If it wins, you better be prepared to part with it, and if the purse is smaller than what you think the horse is worth don't run it in that race.

We meet some of the other partners who own a share of Broadway Baby. Together we watch her and the other horses saddle up, jockey up, and then line up on the far side of the track. As we head to the grandstand area I look up to the sky and ask Dad for a little mojo for Stew and Broadway Baby and kind of smile to myself in affirmation.

The race starts and Broadway Baby is pretty much in the lead from the get go. We're cheering her on and whooping it up as they come around the bend. She widens her lead and crosses first right in front of us!!

The best part of all was we all got to stand down below in the "winners circle" with the jockey and horse and get our picture taken. Then, just as we're about to head out Stew's phone rings and he learns that someone just "claimed" Broadway Baby! At first there is confusion, then Stew explains that this is actually a great thing because the partners just made $35,000 on her (a great price) and a % of the purse as well (approx $12,000) for a net take of approx $47,000. Not bad for 2 mins work. Now they'll plow that back into a new horse and start again.

Afterwards we headed to the stables to feed some of the other horses. And then we headed home. For a slideshow of all pics click here.

Way to go Stew!!! Thanks for an amazing and memorable day!

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