Meet Tony LaGuardia, Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club Member
When did your interest in horse racing develop?
I’ve always loved horses. When I was a child, I had ponies and was around other horses quite a bit. My grandfather had an interest in horse racing, and we would go together to Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey from the 1970s and on into the 1980s.
What aspect of horse racing do you enjoy the most?
I gamble a little bit on racehorses, but it’s not the main reason I like horse racing. I like the sport mainly because of my love for horses and the excitement of racing. I’ve always enjoyed being around horses.
I really love going to a stable to see the horses that I have partial ownership of. Watching them race is the most exciting aspect. I also enjoy talking to the trainers and co-owners…just the whole atmosphere of being at the track.
What is it about horses that appeals to you?
When I was younger, I always enjoyed riding horses. But I don’t know if I could specifically say what it is about horses that attracts me to them. I’m not a huge animal or pet person. At home we don’t have any dogs or cats, but horses have always been a love of mine.
As a young child, my uncle had a stable in New Jersey and I remember visiting the horses, riding them, and going to horse auctions with him.
What issues in the industry would you like to see addressed?
I would like to see stricter standards set up regarding how trainers treat racehorses. Some trainers don’t look out for the best interests of the horses in their care. Even though I’ve only been a Co-owner with Wasabi Ventures Stables since November 2017, I’ve noticed that everyone — from the founder, TK Kuegler, to other Co-owners — is on board with ensuring the wellness of the horses. They make sure the horses are taken care of, the trainers are treating the horses well, and the horses are not being raced when they shouldn’t be.
In recent years, there has been more focus on the welfare of retired racehorses. How have you seen the industry improve in this regard?
I’ve seen owners, trainers, and racehorse owner partnerships trying to implement better retirement plans for racehorses in recent years. Either a horse will go to a farm where they can become a pet or he or she learns another skill, such as show jumping or another equestrian sport. These former racehorses gain a second career or second life, and I look forward to seeing this happen even more.
Through visiting horses at different tracks, I’ve come to see how much they love to run. They’re bred to run. They get excited when they get saddled because they know they’re about to run. It’s what they do. So, to see retired racehorses given a second chance in aftercare is a wonderful thing.
Why did you join the Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club?
I haven’t had good experiences with certain racehorse owner partnerships. Some of them are not very transparent. They’re friends with you when they want to get you involved, and then afterwards you don’t hear from them very much. Or, if you do hear from them, it’s not in the most cordial way. Owning horses is a hobby for me. It’s not something in which I’m looking to make a lot of money. I want it to be enjoyable. Unfortunately, I’ve had other partnerships that were not that way as time went on.
With the other partnerships, the bills can be vague, but with Wasabi Ventures Stables it’s a one-time payment for the fractional ownership portion of the horse and that’s it. You’re done paying fees, whether the horse wins, loses, retires, or gets claimed. It’s great.
How did you find out about the Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club?
In November 2017, I happened to stumble across Wasabi Ventures Stables while searching online for racehorse owner partnerships. Before joining, I had a great conversation with the founder, TK Kuegler.
I have to say that everything I read on Wasabi Ventures Stables’ website and spoke with TK about has exceeded my enjoyment level so far. That’s a lot to say for horse racing. The sport can have a little bit of a dark cloud above it due to the way some trainers treat horses in their care and the gambling aspect of it.
What have you enjoyed so far as a Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-owner?
I’ve been a Co-owner in six horses so far, and I really love interacting with the other Co-owners on Slack. I check it every day. I chime in when one of my horses is running. I had my first Thoroughbred winner, a True Gentleman, in March 2018. I already got my winner’s circle photo in the mail.
For every three horses purchased through WV Stables, a Co-owner gets an 8’X10’ stable picture showing the three horses. Some of the horses that I’ve had partial ownership of have been claimed away, and that’s fine. At least I’m getting something back from my investment in the horses. I can either get a check back with my share of what a buyer paid to claim a horse or use my share towards the balance to purchase another horse.
One of the other things that’s great about WV Stables is the nice incentives that are offered to co-owners. For example, after a co-owner buys a certain amount of horses, he or she gets a credit that they can use to buy merchandise in the Wasabi Ventures Stables Swag Store. I have a $50 credit right now. I’ve bought a few things from the swag store, such as a down vest and a button-down shirt. Again, it’s fun, and that’s the key reason I’m involved with WV Stables.
I’m very busy with my family and life. Owning racehorses is something that I enjoy as a hobby. The way Wasabi Ventures Stables Co-Owner Club is structured is very conducive to that.
Who is your favorite horse?
With WV Stables, my favorite is A True Gentleman because he brought me my first Thoroughbred racing win. I have the photo to prove it. I just framed it today, and I placed it with my other horseracing mementos on a shelf. Unfortunately, A True Gentleman was claimed away in the same race, but that’s the horse racing game.
Outside of WV Stables, I’m a fan of Secretariat. I’ve always had an intriguing desire to learn all I can about him.
Wasabi Ventures Stables’ summer racing season is coming up, which means there will be more opportunities for our horses to compete! In the webinar “Learn About WV Stables and Our Horses” on May 9, 2018 at 7 p.m. ET, founder TK Kuegler will share our Summer 2018 plans, including answering questions about our Co-Owner Club program. Register for the webinar here: http://bit.ly/2HtbnOW