Small Investors Racing To Horse Syndicates
There are even possible tax benefits to horse partnerships, says Robert Masiello, a 30-year old equity trader, and partner through West Point Thoroughbreds.
If you can establish yourself an “active” owner to the IRS, which requires far more involvement in the ownership of the horse than the mere writing of a check, you can depreciate the cost of the horse over three years (it was once seven). And any yearling horse counts as a capital expenditure, and can be written off immediately.
Masiello, however, downplays the financial upside of horse ownership. For him, ownership has been a journey of adventure, hopes realized and friendship.
He first became interested in racing as a college student at John’s Hopkins University, which is near Pimlico Race Course, and hosts the Preakness Stakes.
But as a successful trader he had a little extra money to invest, and called West Point in 2005 with $10,000. He conferred with Finley and they decided to put the money into a filly named Precious Penny, who raced well enough to pay off the investment. Masiello was hooked.
He has since invested close to $1 million through West Point.
Still, what has meant the most to him is not the amount of races won, but the friendships forged in the racing community.
“I used to spend every year in the infield at the Preakness,” he says. “To go from that to being on the other side, and having a horse running in the race, with all the other owners and trainers. That’s why you do it.”