Tom Erisman

  1. What attracted you to the horse racing industry?  

When I was 9 years old I remember watching the 1968 Kentucky Derby on TV and even then, it seemed more glamorous and so different from the team sports that I followed as a kid in PA.  I did not fully understand the aftermath of that race with the DQ of Dancer’s Image (for butte) but that beautiful gray definitely made an impression and afterwards, I followed the triple crown races every year.  Then, after I attended my first Preakness in 1982 all bets were off!!  And since 1991 I have owned the same Grandstand Terrace reserved seats for Preakness weekend, missing only two running’s of the second jewel.

2. What aspect of horse racing do you enjoy the most?  

Well, I love the wagering aspect (and the thrill of victory as a horse “owner”) but I think it’s more so the camaraderie I feel with fellow horseplayers and as part of that group experience, I really enjoy visiting new race tracks with my friends and family whenever I can.  The history of some venues is incredible and there are so many tracks still on my bucket list.  I have enjoyed every track I visited, from Finger Lakes to Fairgrounds and many in between (even Charlestown).

3. Why did you join the Wasabi Ventures Co-Owner Club?

To be totally honest, at the beginning it was mostly positive peer pressure as 2 of my horse racing pals, Gary Quill and John Robison, joined WVS in its early stages and they were very enthusiastic; then, when I met TK one Friday afternoon at the Timonium OTB (of course), I knew it was not just “another syndicate” like I had experienced previously.  The flexibility to choose horses and participation levels makes it attractive for almost any horseplayer, and now with the new Stallion opportunity and other expanding facets of the club, the menu of ownership options is just so outstanding!

4. Who is your favorite horse?

I assume you mean in WVS but I am going to give you 3 answers: 1) All-time favorite is Afleet Alex (with Silver Charm a close second); 2) All-time WVS favorite (so far) is Thanks Mom because I followed her at Delaware Park last summer (2018) and that is how I became friends with Jesse Cruz; 3) Current WVS favorite is a tie between Uhwarrie Sky and Trapped N My Mind – Sky because I love how he moves so gracefully and effortlessly on turf and Trapped because I believe her full potential is so far from being realized and I have followed her everywhere to make that first photo!!  I know she may not race again but only if it’s in her best interests.

5. What issues in the industry would you like to see addressed?

While I am an industry enthusiast I am not an industry expert, so I have no expert insight. The high volume of breakdowns at Santa Anita this year were disturbing and hopefully an anomaly but for me personally, I would love to see Maryland get its act together with a higher level of transparency and integrity across all the governing bodies.  If the best plan is to move the Preakness to Laurel so be it but let’s do things in a respectful and apolitical way that benefits the industry as a whole. This type of approach should be applied on the national level (someday) as well as the state level.