Craig Bernick is the president and CEO of Glen Hill Farm in Ocala, Fla., where he took over for his grandfather, the late Leonard Lavin, at the young age of 28 in 2008. Craig grew up in Chicago, is a graduate of Tulane University and is currently on the boards of Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association (TOBA) and Breeders' Cup Ltd.
Who was the first horse you ever owned?
The first horse I ever owned myself was called What a Present. I asked for a horse for my Bar Mitzvah, and thankfully my Grandfather gave her to me. She got hurt before she ever ran. The second horse was called Embezzlement. She was a gift for my high school graduation. She won a few races and was a nice prospect but died of EPM. So I became conditioned to bad news early on, which is important for a horse owner. Thankfully it's gotten much better since.
What else can you tell us about your background in the Thoroughbred industry?
Glen Hill Farm was owned by my family, and I grew up in Chicago, so I didn't have the most traditional horse upbringing. I have always been interested in handicapping, racing, and pedigrees so that was my background and probably what I'm best at now. I worked in the real world for eight years after college and finally my family gave me a chance to take the horse business over in 2008, and I've been learning and trying to improve what we do since then.
What do you love most about horse racing?
I love the whole process of owning horses. The camaraderie of our team is special, and the quiet days hanging around the farm or the barn are the things I enjoy the most. That and of course the special days when we win stakes races. Whether they are a multiple generation homebred or a horse we picked out at a yearling sale, I really like the process of finding the horses and hopefully managing their careers as well as possible.
What is the main reason you co-own with others?
The best reasons to co-own with others is to share risk and hopefully experience positive results with friends.
If you were horse racing commissioner for a day, what one change would you make?
If I were commissioner, I'd try to task our industry organizations with specific responsibilities to improve the horse business, whether through fan development, growth of wagering, aftercare, integrity, etc, and hold them way more accountable than they currently are.
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