Archives for October 2012


The horse racing and breeding businesses require much of their workforces.

Trainers and grooms start their day before the break of dawn and finish after the last race of an afternoon or night card. Jockeys and exercise riders labor on the weekends and most holidays. Farm employees and veterinarians often maintain irregular hours, especially during the breeding and foaling season.

This grueling routine creates a fertile environment for job burnout. The Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as “a special type of job stress–a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”

In July 2012, the floundering Yahoo! named the intensely-driven 37-year-old Google executive Marissa Mayer as its sixth CEO in the past five years. Mayer was one of the earliest employees at Google–working well over 100 hours a week to get the fledgling company off the ground–and was later in charge of its lucrative search business.

When she accepted the arduous turnaround challenge at Yahoo!, she was seven months pregnant.

Mayer recently expressed her view on the root cause of job burnout: “Burnout is about resentment… (People)… will become resentful if work makes them miss things that are really important to them.”

Hard work and long hours do not by themselves lead to burnout, but rather burnout develops when work becomes so all-consuming that an individual is unable to count on participating in special activities way from the job.

To assuage resentment among her employees, Mayer “insists” they have the scheduling flexibility to make room for the things that matter most to them in their personal lives.

The Mayo Clinic concurs that “lack of control” is a leading cause of job burnout: “An inability to influence decisions that affect your job—such as your schedule, assignments or workload…”

Job burnout and resentment often precipitate employee dissatisfaction, lowered productivity, and high staff turnover. One proven way to reduce these costly outcomes, as Mayer and the Mayo Clinic suggest, is to provide employees with meaningful discretion to plan their work and to carve out time for the personal activities they value the most.

This may be difficult to do in the demanding enterprises of horse racing and breeding, but other extremely demanding businesses have shown that it is not only achievable but is imperative for morale, productivity, and employee retention.

Copyright © 2012 The Blood-Horse and published therein. Used with permission.


On October 12, Horse Racing Business published the article “Richest American Race Horse Owners, 2012.” It identified and provided background on six people on the latest Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans who are involved with horse racing. On October 22, the Forbes article “Follow the Money” showed the largest Forbes 400 contributors to political candidates and organizations in the current election cycle.

Two of the biggest contributors are in horse racing and another is prominent in casinos and gaming. All three of them support conservative candidates and positions. By far, the biggest donor is Sheldon (and Miriam) Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, who has given $36.25 million. B. Wayne Hughes, owner of Spendthrift Farm, has given $1 million, as has Kenny Troutt of Winstar Farm.

Forbes writes: “Plenty more cash has been given anonymously to political groups that operate under the guise of nonprofits.” Forbes 400 donors range from James Simons and Irwin Jacobs on the left to Adelson and Harold (and Annette) Simmons on the right.

Racing participants have a long history of putting lots of money into political campaigns to achieve their objectives. Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, for example, was heavily supported monetarily by racing interests in Kentucky in two gubernatorial campaigns.

Copyright © 2012 Horse Racing Business


The 30th anniversary of the Forbes 400 was published in the eponymous magazine of October 8, 2012. It took a net worth of $1.1 billion to make this year’s list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

Following are six billionaires on the Forbes list with a current connection to horse racing. (There may be others on the Forbes 400 involved with horse racing that I am not aware of.) Billionaires Carl Icahn and Robert McNair were formerly very active in horse racing but no longer are.

Lee Bass (Ramona Bass), age 56
Fort Worth, Texas
Net Worth: $2 billion
Rank on Forbes 400: 239
Source of Wealth: Oil (Bass Enterprises Production), Investments

The Bass horses run in the name of Ramona Bass, wife of Lee Bass.

Forbes: “Funded Fort Worth Bass Performance Hall… Lee…is a dedicated conservationist who raises black rhinoceroses.”

Daniel Gilbert, age 50
Detroit, Michigan
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Rank on Forbes 400: 250
Source of Wealth: Quicken Loans, the largest online lender in the United States.

Mr. Gilbert is a partner in Rock Ohio Caesars, the parent company of the horse racetracks Turfway Park in Kentucky near Cincinnati, Ohio and Thistledown in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He is a self-made serial entrepreneur. Mr. Gilbert owns the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association.

Forbes: “Gilbert founded, owns, or controls about 40 loosely connected companies… Now he’s trying to create a tech hub in downtown Detroit.”

B. Wayne Hughes, age 79
Lexington, Kentucky
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Rank on Forbes 400: 250
Source of Wealth: Self-Storage

Mr. Hughes is the founder of Public Storage and owns the fabled Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

Forbes: “Hughes opened his first self-storage facility in 1972; that one location led to the Public Storage chain… (Hughes is) a Thoroughbred enthusiast.”

Brad Kelley, age 55
Franklin, Tennessee
Net Worth: $1.9 billion
Rank on Forbes 400: 250
Source of Wealth: Tobacco

Mr. Kelley founded and sold Commonwealth Brands. He owns the legendary Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky and is the majority owner of Kentucky Downs racetrack in Franklin, Kentucky.

Forbes: “Farmer’s son, he peddled discounted cigarette brands… Now a rancher, he owns 1.7 million acres in Texas, Florida, and New Mexico. Mostly used to propagate rare animal species, like the pygmy hippo and okapi.”

Sidney Kimmel, age 84
New York, New York
Net Worth: $1.2 billion
Rank on Forbes 400: 360
Source of Wealth: Retail

Mr. Kimmel is a racehorse owner and the father of trainer and veterinarian John Kimmel.

Forbes: “Founder of Jones Apparel Group, now focuses on his movie production company…”

Kenny Troutt, age 64
Dallas, Texas
Net Worth: $1.2 billion
Rank on Forbes 400: 360
Source of Wealth: Telecommunications

Forbes: “Bartender’s son made his money in telecom. He now owns Winstar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.”

Copyright © 2012 Horse Racing Business