North America's Leading Owner: Richard Englander

(Editor's Note: Through Aug. 20, Richard Englander was North America's leading owner by gross purses earned with $6,515,495. Englander's 1,289 starters and 275 wins through that period were also tops in their respective categories. Reprinted below is an edited version of an article that was published in The Blood-Horse issue of Sept. 9, 2000.)

By Kristin J. Ingwell
For someone who describes himself as "risk averse," Richard A. Englander's occupation and avocation indicate otherwise.

A stock trader since 1981, Englander added horse trader to his resume in November of 1998 when he claimed his first horse, Virginia Punch, for $14,500. Unlike first-time owners who are hooked after one win, Englander's initial success came slowly. The mare failed to place in four starts.

"She was more like Virginia Punchless," he joked.

Undaunted, Englander continued to acquire horses, increasing the size of his stable to more than 100 in less than two years, without buying at auction. Success has been just as fast.

"I think I've gotten lucky, but you also make your own luck," said Englander. "By being in this business for almost two years, I'm learning more and more every day about what's important."

There is nothing haphazard about Englander's strategy. Although an element of risk is inherently involved in horse racing, his decisions are calculated, relying on assistance from employees, eight trainers in as many states, and an ever-changing cadre of runners. So far, more than 200 different horses have carried his green and white silks.

To ferret out those horses, Englander utilizes as many types of information as he can get his hands on, including Youbet's racing coverage, Thorograph sheets, his trainers' opinions and on-site evaluations, and his own business sense.

"When I started out, I was just looking to buy a couple of horses," he said. "Horse racing is my passion, but numbers is my strength. I started to kick around numbers, I got into New York, and New York was an instant success. My near-term goal is to win 20% of our races and be in the money 50% of the time. I think if we can be 20-50, we're going to be profitable."

A typical day for Englander, 40, starts at the Westchester County, N.Y., home he shares with his wife, Gina, and their sons Benjamin, 4, and Shane, 1. He arrives at his Ardsley, N.Y., office around 7:30 a.m., takes care of the previous and current day's trades until about 10:30, then spends up to five hours on the horses. He receives updates on new additions to the stable, the condition of horses who raced the previous day, and handicaps the next day's races with new claims in mind.

Englander does not handle this logistical nightmare on his own. He has hired two friends, Andrew Rosenfeld and Scott Steight, to assist him with the day-to-day needs of the business.

"I consider them partners," Englander said. "I might be making the investment, but they're my best friends. I was nervous about it going in, but we all complement each other real well."

From Larchmont, N.Y., Rosenfeld manages Englander's books; paying bills, keeping track of the racing operation (plus his three broodmares) on a computer system, and churning out statistics Englander uses to keep his numbers-minded thumb on his stable.

From Selmers, Conn., Steight feeds Englander sire profiles and lifetime past performances on the horses he is eyeballing and keeps track of the van travel involved with so many horses. A recent addition to the team is his father-in-law Robert Griffith, who handles the Midwest branch of the stable from Bloomington, Ind.

Englander speaks to each of his eight trainers--John Baird, Brian Brennan, Nick Canani, Dale Capuano, Scott Lake, Mike Pino, Mike Revis, and Rick Schosberg--on a daily basis. So far, the system has worked. Englander has had five stakes winners in his colors; A Lot of Mary, Northern Prince, On Time Airline, Roberto's Pride, and Spit Polish. He took five horses to the Claiming Crown in August, and two came home winners.

"Day trading to me is the same as claiming horses, except it's a thousand times faster," Englander said. "Your goal is to buy low and sell high; that's just what a day trader wants to do. If the horse continues to do well, you want to ride your winner."

Related Story: Englander Horse Wins 2001 Claiming Crown Jewel