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Owning a horse in any race—Kentucky Derby or otherwise—is not a smart long-term investment plan.

By Dian Vujovich

I love the Kentucky Derby. In addition to the mint juleps and big brimmed hats there’s nothing quite like the thundering sound hooves racing round a track.

But being a spectator in that Sport of Kings is far different than owning a horse in the race. That game, the pros say, is pretty much of a losing one.

From a recent Registered Rep magazine story: “Losing money is “almost a sure thing,” says Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys Farm outside of Lexington, Ky. “We have racing syndicates and when we pitch them, that’s what we say. ‘You’re going to have $10 million worth of fun. This is not a financial play.'”

And he’s right. Ask any good investment advisor and they’re likely to say this financial play will more than likely wind up a sucker’s bet than lead you into a winners circle. Just don’t tell that to any number of Palm Beacher’s who’ve owned a pony or two throughout the years. They’ll likely tell you that there is a love of this sport—and of their horses— that measures more than dollars ever could.

From that same story, Kevin Queally, a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisor in Wellesley, Mass doesn’t consider racehorses as assets of any type when looking at a client’s portfolio. ” “They’re not even close to similar to collectibles.” How are racehorses different from, say, fine art or baseball cards? “They die,” Queally deadpans.”

Add to that, the simple fact that tough times have hit the horse industry. Winnings, for instance, are not what they used to be in the hay-day before the Great Recession pretty much because of fewer attendees at the track. In 2010, for instance, gross purses fell 12.6 percent, according to Equibase Company. And, The Jockey Club reported that the number of races has fallen too; 2010 marked the sixth straight year of fewer races.

So, love the horse, place your bets and drink the julips but think twice before buying the ride.

The full story, “Racehorses: Good for a Gamble, Bad for Investment”s
by Jerry Gleeson, is at: http://tinyurl.com/3vggp8n.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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