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Owning a Standardbred


What better time to be involved

With the lucrative prizemoney on offer in Western Australia it is the ideal time to invest in the Harness Racing industry in this state.

With minimum metropolitan stakes of $18,000 per race and $7,000 for provincial class races there is a great opportunity for prospective owners to get a return on investment all whilst enjoying the social aspects and the unique thrill of racing ownership.

The longevitiy of the Standardbred

Unlike the thoroughbred which has a shorter racing career, Standardbreds will often race for a period of 5 to 8 years meaning they regularly race up until they are 10 years of age. In addition to a longer racing career, it is not uncommon for the Standardbred to race at least every week for extended periods of the racing season, meaning they can have 30 - 40 or more starts in the calendar year.

Although the current stake money levels in harness racing are not to the same level as thoroughbred racing, this is counterbalanced by the increased racing opportunities and therefore stake earning potential for Standardbreds. This combined with the cheaper purchase prices for yearlings, gives harness racing owners a realistic chance to garner a return on their investment.

Some well known examples of long and prosperous Standardbred racing careers in WA, include:

Horse Starts 1st 2nd 3rd $$
Im Themightyquinn 111 58 21 13 $4,567,456
Has The Answers 240 76 40 25 $1,326,582
David Hercules 104 39 18 15 $1,259,019


For a more cost-effective way of buying into a Standardbred, syndication will give you a lesser percentage share in the horse but still the same involvement.

Being involved with a syndicate can be a nice way to get a feel for the harness racing industry giving you a share in a horse without having to bear the full brunt of the associated costs.

Syndication also presents the opportunity to make some great new friends while following your horse. Many syndication groups co-ordinate social events for their members and encourage the large groups of syndicate members to meet up and cheer on their horse on race night. A lot of syndicates are enjoyed together by workmates, team mates, family members and friends.

Syndicates normally have 10 – 20 members and need to be registered with Racing and Wagering Western Australia with a representative or Manager appointed. The Syndicate Manager is responsible for overseeing the finances of the syndicate, and is expected to report to the fellow members on a regular basis. In most cases, any prizemoney earned by your racehorse is sent to the Syndicate manager to be distributed to the syndicate members.

Leasing a Standardbred

Leasing can be a practical way of owning a Standardbred without the initial outlay. A Standardbred owner can lease a horse to a person, group of people or syndicate. When this occurs the lessees incur all costs relating to the horse and has control over its racing career for the period of time outlined in the lease agreement. Once the term of the lease is complete, the horse will be returned to the owner unless terms to renew or purchase have been included.

Breeders and trainers will often lease horses they wish to retain ownership of, often for breeding purposes while keeping a small interest in their racing careers. A lease arrangement can be a win-win situation for both parties involved with the lessee receiving a horse to race without the initial setup costs and the initial owner often receiving a percentage of the stake money without the ongoing costs.

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