Fresh off a Group 2 win last week at Royal Ascot, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' founder Aron Wellman joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Wednesday morning to talk about his ownership strategies, how he talks to new partners about concerns in the industry and much more.
Asked about Eclipse's ever-evolving purchasing power, Wellman, who called in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week said, “We made a point when we launched Eclipse about 10 years ago to really try to prove ourselves at being good at just about everything in terms of trying to buy horses. We believe that a good horse can come from anywhere at any time. I really cut my teeth early on in the game by starting to claim horses, because that was the immediate-action way to go. Then it evolved into trying to buy horses privately, going overseas and getting them to the States. We've been very fortunate to get support from our partners at the yearling sales as well as the 2-year-old sales and have been very lucky to buy Grade I winners and Classic winners out of them. It's tough to be really, really elite at all of those avenues by which you can acquire horses. But we've certainly done our best to provide our partners with a variety of opportunities year in and year out and the track record, fortunately, has spoken for itself that our partners continue to believe in the process.”
Wellman also commented on the challenges he faces in recruitment considering the scandal that has surrounded racing for the last few years, saying, “It's certainly a barrier to entry. It's a conversation that I have with just about every prospective partner that comes through Eclipse's doors. I think that the industry is slowly but surely making good strides towards appropriate reform. It's never enough and it's never fast enough, but on the Eclipse side, we try our best to surround ourselves with good people. We've always believed in that philosophy. I am a big proponent of the industry getting more serious about the penalties handed down to trainers who are violating the rules. We can't allow anyone, I don't care who you are, how big you are or how small you are, to operate by a different set of rules. There's no question that we need a unified, centralized governing body here in the United States to oversee the industry. For too long, we've swept issues under the rug. We've protected guys because we were concerned about the public image and guys that are too big to fail. Thinking maybe it would be worse for the industry to expose them rather than to protect them. But we've been accomplices for too long. We've aided and abetted for too long. It's really high time that we took swift and serious action.”
Elsewhere on the show, which is also sponsored by West Point Thoroughbreds, the Minnesota Racehorse Engagement Project and Legacy Bloodstock, the writers discussed a bombshell investigation of Bob Baffert in the Washington Post, talked about a possible hope for Arlington Park's survival and projected the successes and challenges of fixed-odds wagering. Click here to watch the podcast; click here for the audio-only version or find it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.