By Jennifer Gish
Times Union, Albany, N.Y.
Sheila Rosenblum learned about thoroughbred ownership the hard way — pretty much the only way in a sport with horsehair-thin odds — with bad buys, bad decisions and good money thrown after bad.
“I have really just paid my dues, the trials and tribulations, and had a very, very expensive, difficult learning curve,” says Rosenblum, who just started a second syndicate that encourages women to join, one of several female-owned syndicates to enter racing in recent years.
“Everything one could do wrong, I’ve been there, done it. But I’ve persevered and tried to show some sort of resiliency.”
She tends to think of women as particularly resilient, though she wouldn’t say she’s a feminist. Her former worlds of ballet and modeling were hardly easy ones, and they were also where she developed the steel to push on when things got tough.
The infusion of more women in horse racing — a sport in which female trainers and jockeys are still rare and you’ll find more women who own horses with their husbands than alone — is great news for the “sport of kings.”
And sure, you could talk about how you’re bound to draw a wider group of fans with wider representation by having more female ownership, but the better news for horse racing is that you’ve got fresh bodies in the sport. Period.
“It’s time. I don’t think it needs to be only a boys’ club or a blueblood club. It could be people that are from all venues,”
Rosenblum says. “There’s absolutely room to share at the top. There are wonderful syndications out there, but I think a little good competition is a great thing, and it keeps people on their toes, and it could keep people more honest.”