News Releases

Thursday, June 03, 2021Contact: Gary Falter (859) 224-2803
Intricacies of the Claiming Business the Focus of Fourth Panel in Owner Conference Series

The Thoroughbred Owner Conference series held its fourth virtual session June 1 with a discussion on the ins and outs of claiming horses. The conference series is hosted by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and presented by Bessemer Trust, Dean Dorton Equine, Stoll Keenon Ogden, and Stonestreet Farm.

The fourth session of the series was sponsored by GlycoGuard, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and McPeek Racing. It was moderated by TVG’s Gabby Gaudet with panelists Gary Contessa, trainer; Sal Spedale, owner; and Kirk Wycoff, owner.

Contessa described claiming horses as “the backbone of the entire industry.” When compared to the process of purchasing a horse before it has raced, Contessa said, “If you want to have instant gratification and the opportunity to support your stable, claiming is the way to go.”

Spedale stated that the main goal in claiming horses is to be able to turn a claiming horse into one that is competitive at the allowance or stakes level, which he acknowledged can be like finding a needle in a haystack. However, “Once you find those needles, they’re unbelievable.”

There was also a spirited discussion on the voided claim rules that exist in different states. While Contessa believes that the stricter rules have given his owners more confidence in investing in the claiming game, Wycoff critiqued the application of the rules in certain circumstances.

All participants mentioned the inherent risk of investing in claiming horses without being able to have their veterinarian examine the horse beforehand, and Wycoff suggested that owners consider horses of racing age sales if they want to invest in race-ready horses that can be inspected up-close in advance of purchase.

The fifth session of the series, “Owners & Trainers,” will be held on Tuesday, July 6, at 2 p.m. ET. It is sponsored by West Point Thoroughbreds, Taylor Made Stallions, and The Green Group. Moderated by Carolyn Conley, panelists will include Mark Casse, trainer; Len Green, owner; Jack Knowlton, Sackatoga Stable; Don Little Jr., Centennial Farms; and Barclay Tagg, trainer.

All sessions will be recorded and made available to registered guests. There is no registration fee for the live or recorded virtual conference series, but registration is required. For more information about the owner conference series, including the full schedule of panels and registration, please visit or contact Gary Falter at

OwnerView is a joint effort spearheaded by The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association to encourage ownership of Thoroughbreds and provide accurate information on aspects of ownership such as trainers, public racing syndicates, the process of purchasing and owning a Thoroughbred, racehorse retirement, and owner licensing.

The need for a central resource to encourage Thoroughbred ownership was identified in the comprehensive economic study of the sport that was commissioned by The Jockey Club and conducted by
McKinsey & Company in 2011. The OwnerView site was launched in May 2012.