Kicking off its third season, the Empire Racing Club (ERC) will offer a reduced price of $400 through the official re-launch date of May 15. In a departure from the first two seasons, 2021 membership is open to both licensed and unlicensed racing enthusiasts looking to enjoy the social and educational benefits of the Club. The 2021 ERC season will be limited to 200 members. The ERC will once again be managed by famed race-caller Tom Durkin. Training the current team of runners for the 2021 season are Hall of Famer Mark Casse; Hall of Fame nominee Christophe Clement, the leading trainer at Aqueduct's 2020 Fall meet; and Grade 1-winning trainer Tom Morley, based most of the year in the Empire State and husband of NYRA TV personality Maggie Wolfendale.
Team runners currently include stakes winner Proven Strategies (Sky Mesa), maiden turf filly Community Adjusted (Summer Front), and the team newcomer, unraced 2-year-old filly Boom Roasted (Practical Joke). Winner of Woodbine's Toronto Cup last season, Proven Strategies, campaigned by the Empire Racing Club and Leonard and Jonathan Green, is a 10-1 shot on the morning line for the $100,000 Elusive Quality S. at Belmont Park Saturday. Also running during Belmont's opening week, Community Adjusted finished fourth for Clement, who trains for the Empire Racing Club and Rob Masiello. Boom Roasted, also competing for the ERC and Masiello, is expected to join Tom Morley in New York in the coming week.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the members in person again–at the workouts, the races, and at our social gatherings where we can renew old acquaintances and share the experiences of up close involvement in racing,” said Durkin.
Spearheaded by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) in 2019, the ERC is a non-profit organization designed to introduce new fans to racehorse ownership.
One benefit of ERC membership is the ERC Educational Series, regular Zoom meetings for members which have featured leading professionals from all aspects of the industry, including Todd Pletcher, Clement, Spendthrift's GM Ned Toffey, jockey Tyler Gaffalione, Linda Rice, Starlight and StarLadies' Jack and Laurie Wolf, TVG's Caton Bredar, DRF's Mike Welsch and David Grening, etc. Topics covered during the first two seasons of the ERC included breeding, sales, racing partnerships and syndicates, the claiming game, equine health and veterinary care, Thoroughbred retirement, and handicapping.
“I'm really excited to kick off the new year with our members,” said ERC Board member Rob Masiello. “We were able to adapt to the challenges that last year presented and create a series of virtual meetings with our members that included several leading owners, trainers, and bloodstock agents.”
ERC members receive regular updates about their horses via conference call, email and social media. Once fans are welcomed back to the track, the Club will offer the opportunity to visit the backstretch for morning training and the paddock when the ERC horses run, and will host dedicated ERC events.
For more information, visit www.empireracingclub.wildapricot.org.