Who says you can’t make money in horse racing?
Don't let it be said there's no money to be made in the horse industry.
Consider the case of Rochitta, a 4-year-old daughter of Arch out of the stakes-placed Trempolino mare Lady Ilsley, who raced in France.
Rochitta, bred in Pennsylvania by London Thoroughbred Services and Derry Meeting Farm, won just once in a 15-race career, that lone victory coming in a maiden special weight contest at Mountaineer Park last October.
If the name Rochitta is familiar to you, it's not likely because of her racing ability but due to her connection to a lawsuit horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian recently lost against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Jamgotchian claimed Rochitta out of a $40,000 maiden claiming contest when she was making her eighth career start for owner Rabbah Bloodstock and trainer Eoin Harty at Churchill Downs on May 21, 2011. It was her first time in a claiming race.
Jamgotchian likely knew the filly sold for $150,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, was a half-sister to two Group stakes winners and had a great deal of black type and stallion-producing mares in her family.
He wanted to run her at Penn National in her next start, presumably because the competition in maiden special weight races would be easier, and any kind of win in open company would increase her residual value as a broodmare. But Kentucky Horse Racing Commission rules forbid claimed horses running at any other track until the meeting from which the horse was claimed is over.
So Jamgotchian sued on the basis of the claiming rule being a violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In a ruling handed down in late November, Jamgotchian lost.
Only a few days after that court ruling, Rochitta was sold again, this time for a whopping 300,000 guineas at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale in Newmarket, England. That's over $500,000 in converted U.S. dollars. In foal to the Sunday Silence stallion Hat Trick, who stands at Gainesway Farm for $15,000 live foal, the 4-year-old was purchased by Mattock Equine of Ireland.
A $40,000 claim that sold for more than $500,000 would be a tidy profit of over 1,000% had Jamgotchian been the seller. However, Rochitta was consigned by Baroda & Colbinstown Studs of Ireland, a joint venture of David Cox and Dave Myerscough. David Cox of Baroda Stud said he and Myerscough purchased Rochitta privately for about $80,000 and bred her to Hat Trick shortly after her final career start at Tampa Bay Downs in January 2012. For Cox and Myerscough, who formed their partnership in 2011, it was a major score.
“Her catalogue page looked very strong in Europe, with sires like Bodemeister in the family,” Cox told the Paulick Report. “She's a big, good-looking mare who had a great walk. Obviously it helped that the market was so strong here.”