Contact: Christina Bossinakis                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Empire Racing Club Coordinator                                          Feb. 18, 2020


The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) today announced the 2020 launch of the Empire Racing Club (ERC), a non-profit organization designed to introduce fans to racehorse ownership. Created in 2019, the ERC will again be managed by famed race-caller Tom Durkin. Training the current team of runners for the 2020 season are seven-time Eclipse Award-winner Todd Pletcher, Canadian Hall of Famer Mark Casse, and multiple NYRA meet leading trainer Linda Rice, the first woman in the modern era to win a trainer’s title at a major U.S. racing circuit when earning the title at Saratoga Racecourse in 2009.
“ERC has been an enjoyable and rewarding experience for me,” said Durkin. “Having been in an 8x10 announcer's booth for 40 years was a fun way to watch the races, however, a bit confining. ERC in its first year has given me the opportunity to see the sport and fans of the game up close and to experience the sport as never before...onto to my sophomore year!!!”
The ERC will be limited to 200 members. The cost to join will be $500 for the term, with no further outlay by the participants, providing members with the racing and horse ownership experience without the pitfalls and costs often associated with the business. For more information go to https://empireracingclub.wildapricot.org/ and to join, visit https://empireracingclub.wildapricot.org/join-us.
Here is what a few of the ERC members had to say about the inaugural season:

     “I feel ERC has definitely gone over and above what I expected. The expertise and knowledge along with the level of hospitality offered is at such a high level, I am so happy to be in with this group.”
        “Thanks to the ERC! What an amazing first year our club has had! We went to the Breeders’ Cup! and the Woodbine Mile! Incredible!”
        “I am finally getting in a comfort zone, in terms of having some knowledge and a few contacts, where I feel I may look to get licensed as an owner and find a trainer!”
        “Thanks for a wonderful outing at Belmont Park. Everything was top notch, the people were great, the racing was fantastic, all in all a great day!”
        “One of the reasons I joined this club was putting the horse’s priority first and I am more than satisfied. I have enjoyed the programs you have put on and look forward to more...this is a class act!”
        “Thank you so much for your hard work with ERC! You have opened up a world I always had a passion for since I was a child. You are just so gracious, know what questions to ask and make sure things are done so expertly."

        "The horses are so special! It is so much fun to see them learn and grow with experience. To actually experience the Breeders’ Cup with a horse and the people behind him is beyond what I could ever have imagined!! Thank you again for all you have done!”

Team runners currently include stakes-placed Proven Strategies (Sky Mesa), Now and Again (Awesome Again) and Starlit Daydream (Can The Man), a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Gas Station Sushi (Into Mischief).

Proven Strategies finished runner-up in Saratoga’s Skidmore S. last summer before finishing fourth–beaten only two lengths–in the GI Summer S. at Woodbine in September. In his 2019 finale, the Casse trainee was in front midstretch in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita before finishing sixth, two lengths behind winner Structor. Marking his 2020 debut at Gulfstream Park Feb. 2, Proven Strategies was a closing third. Now and Again finished fifth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, at Aqueduct Jan. 23. Starlit Daydream, trained by Todd Pletcher, was a productive third after setting a pressured pace in her career bow at Gulfstream Park Feb. 9.
A few of the ERC events highlighting the inaugural season: morning workouts at Saratoga; educational seminars at Fasig-Tipton in Saratoga; Lunch and Learn on Thoroughbred Aftercare in Saratoga’s 1863 Club; race day events and dining at Belmont Park, Saratoga Racecourse and Aqueduct; Breeders’ Cup social at Aqueduct; a guided tour with Tom Durkin in Saratoga’s National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and much more.
Also featured throughout the season were teleconferences with Club trainer Todd Pletcher, in addition to a wide array of industry experts, including Keith Lawton DVM (Equine Care), Len Green (Equine Accounting), DJ Racing GM Jon Green and Rob Masiello (Thoroughbred Ownership), and bloodstock agent and horse owner Aron Yagoda (Claiming 101).
"We are very excited to officially kick off the second year of the Empire Racing Club,” said NYTHA Board Member Rob Masiello. “Our partners have been able to experience the thrill of horse ownership, including a trip to the Breeders’ Cup with two-year-old colt Proven Strategies, at a fraction of the typical cost. We've also worked hard over the past year to create events for our members, specifically Q&As with industry leaders in virtually every facet of the business, and to give our members a better understanding of the ins and outs of horse racing. The response to our club has been overwhelming so far and we are looking forward to bringing in even more new members in the year ahead."

In addition to the live racing excitement, ERC members will receive regular updates about their horse via conference call, email and social media, and will meet with other members at dedicated ERC events and race days. They 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

For more information: https://empireracingclub.wildapricot.org/
To join: https://empireracingclub.wildapricot.org/join-us
Contact us: empireracingclubny@gmail.com

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The Empire Racing Club is registered as a 501 (c) (7) not-for-profit social club.
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