Breeders and bookies
Meet Shaun, a 5th generation Lexingtonian who knows everyone who’s anyone in horseracing. He’s been to 30 (count them, 30) Kentucky Derby’s, and runs a poker table attended by those who desire not to be mentioned, but pretty much dominate horseracing. He’s the man who drove us around, sharing the wonderful details that require an NDA, but oh, I see a suspense-thriller taking shape.
About every question posed has an answer where Shaun starts by saying in a low, rolling drawl… “Let ol’ Shaun tell you…” then we get a fantastic ditty about a person, place, event or whatnot. About an hour in, I learn he has the mind of a booky, and started testing him~~
– What happened in the fifth race at Belmont in 1983?
– Who won the Kentucky Derby in 2009?
Not only could he recite the winners, but what happened on each corner, who came in second, third and so-on. When I said I didn’t understand the economics behind racing (ergo, with all the costs, does any farm really make money?) he proceeded to give me the PhD-level breakdown on the cost per breeding (actual mating expense) what the newborns then yearlings sell for, how many are sold per year, (by Farm!!), who they sold to, the gross amount per farm, the expenses then net profit. My mind started to melt half-way in. It was like me pretending to be a hedge-fund professional when all I see on the screen are ones and zeros.
The best part? He’s got three sons and a daughter who got her masters and is currently working on her doctorate at Oxford. Can we just say wow—and here he is, giving us the peek at the world behind the world.
It, and he, were, and are awesome.
The farm in this series is one where the owner breeds a variety of horses, but keeps the Clydesdales for fun–and when Shaun is calling a horse–its’ because so many of the thoroughbreds know him, they come when called. He got out just to show us–and sure enough, they came to the fence, and we took turns loving on them.
Another guy joined us who wasn’t much for talking. He was slightly disheveled, crumpled shirt, crazy hair–turns out he’s one of (if not the most) in demand horse trainers in the US. He came because he had a few hours to kill and apparently loves answering questions posed by racing Luddite’s such as myself. But I digress….