Craig Henderson hit a homerun in his first at bat when he purchased a share of millionaire mare Put On A Show.
Put On A Show, who missed her entire 4-year-old season due to injury, makes her third start of 2012 in Saturday’s $101,750 Overbid final at the Meadowlands. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover will start from post three with driver Brian Sears in the race six feature. Trained by Chris Ryder, Put On A Show is the richest mare in the field of 10 with $1,898,275 in earnings. The 2010 Dan Patch Award winner and Breeders Crown champion set a combined earnings record at ages two and three after selling as a yearling for $75,000 at the Lexington-Selected Sale.
Henderson vowed he would never buy a thoroughbred again after investing in Put On A Show with partners Richard and Joanne Young of Coconut Creek, FL.
“I thought that story had some mold on it, until [Meadowlands racing analyst Bob] ‘Hollywood’ Heyden assured me at last fall’s Harrisburg Sale that it’s one story that never gets old, especially in my case,” said the president of C.W. Henderson & Associates, an investment advisory firm.
Henderson, 58, is a native of Grosse Point, MI and a long time resident of Chicago.
“When I was 12, I visited my grandfather in Rochester, NY, and I became interested in racing when he took me to Finger Lakes and Batavia Downs,” he said. “Eventually, I got into owning some thoroughbreds, and had one good one, Bavarian Belle. After I moved to Chicago, I had an owner’s box at Arlington and for a while.
“One time I was playing golf, and some guy in my foursome asked me what I liked to do in my spare time,” he continued. “I told him I played online bridge. Believe it or not, he knew Richard Young, who also played on the same bridge site. That’s how we hooked up. I went to Florida to visit Richard, and he had offered me opportunities to become a partner for several years before Put On A Show came along. When I finally bought into her [in October, 2008] it was just the right time, but Richard insisted on keeping 51 percent because he wanted to make the decisions. She was the only yearling he bought at Lexington [for $75,000] in 2008.”
During that round of golf in Florida with Young, Henderson was convinced he had a much better chance of breaking even buying harness horses, yet insisted on waiting to learn more.
“Finally, when the stock market was crashing in 2008, Richard said he needed me to change his luck,” he said. “So, I took a third of Put On A Show for $25,000.”
Henderson is flying in to watch Put On A Show race on Saturday at the Meadowlands. He has since purchased two more yearlings on his own and gotten other friends involved.
“We’re going to watch [the 2-year-olds] train with Chris Ryder on Saturday, “ he said.
Henderson will also be the In The Sulky guest on the Meadowlands’ pre-card broadcast, which airs live at 6:30 p.m. in-house and online at MeadowlandsRacetrack.com.
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