What attracted you to the horse racing industry?
A friend of mine at work kept asking me to go see the races. I didn’t have any interest in going, but in 1991 I finally gave in. When we got to the track, I was just blown away the minute I walked in the doors — the colors, sounds, smells…everything. It was amazing. A couple of weeks later, we went to one of the smaller tracks in Nebraska where my friend’s dad was a veterinarian. After watching the races, we went to the backstretch to watch him go through his rounds. I actually saw him scope a horse. From that moment on, I was hooked.
Do any of members of your family enjoy horse racing?
Horse racing was huge in Nebraska in the 1960s and 1970s. When I was younger, I remember my grandma going to races every weekend, but I wasn’t attracted to them at the time.
What aspect of horse racing do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy it all, including the gambling. I’ve been involved in a couple of racehorse owner partnerships, and I like choosing which horse to pick.
I also enjoy watching the big races. It’s so neat. I follow them on TVG, which is on in our house pretty much all day every day. Usually by Sunday, I tell my wife I’m never going to watch another race again, but by Tuesday or Wednesday it’s back on again.
What was the name of your first racehorse?
The couple I bought the horse from had two sons, named Blake and Eric, so they combined their names and called the horse Blaeric.
Are horses your favorite animals?
When I took my first trip to a race track in 1991, horses became my favorite animals. After that, I bought my first racehorse in 1994. That’s how enamored I became with horses.
Blaeric didn’t have much success in his 3-year-old year, but in his 4-year-old year he made a lot of money. After that, I kept buying more and more horses.
What issues in the industry would you like to see addressed?
There aren’t any set rules for stewards to follow across the sport. Each jurisdiction’s rules are different. For example, the standards for disqualification in New York are different than those in Ohio, California, etc. To me that’s ridiculous. I’ve seen a lot of inconsistencies in various stewards’ rulings. It’s not a matter of whether everyone agrees or disagrees, just be consistent.
Why did you join the Wasabi Ventures Co-Owner Club?
When I first became interested in horseracing and bought a couple horses, I was single. Then I met my wife, Wendy, while she was working at one of the concession stands at the 2002 Belmont Stakes when War Emblem was going for the Triple Crown. Eventually, we had four kids and I couldn’t afford to own horses anymore.
The Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club is one way for me to stay in the industry in a small way and still raise four kids. I’ve been watching and following Wasabi Ventures Stables since it started in March 2016. The Co-Owner Club seemed very cool, so I decided to join and see what it’s like.
How long have you been a member of the Wasabi Ventures Co-Owner Club?
I’ve only been a member for a little over a month, but it’s been great. The founder, TK Kuegler, is a super guy. When I joined the program, he sent a direct message asking me what I liked and disliked about it. I didn’t answer him right away because I wanted some time to think about it. But then I read his interview in 5 Minutes to Post and afterwards I messaged him back saying, “There’s nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know.”
I also love the communication with Wasabi Ventures Stables as well. I rarely get an email from the other racehorse owner partnerships I’m in, but I get the bills every month on time. Emails and other communications from those partnerships are not the best.
Who is your favorite horse?
I started following racing in Japan and Hong Kong very closely in the last couple years, and there’s a horse in Hong Kong named Blizzard. For some reason, I’ve fallen in love with that horse. I stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning to watch him run. He’s just a step below the best in Hong Kong and runs 3rd or 4th in the races.