All of us Thoroughbred racing fans have a story. A story about how, when, and why our love for the sport began. Some of us have taken that story and turned it into something we never could have fathomed. This rings true for two horsemen from Long Island, NY, who had a vision and turned it into a reality, and that reality is where “champions are crowned; in the Final Furlong.”
Vincent Roth and Daniel Zanatta met in the early 2000’s. Dan was interning at the office where Vince worked at the time. One day, Vince, who was still fairly new to the racing world, was browsing some horses that were for sale. Dan walked by and curiously asked Vince what he was looking at. They conversed,and Vince had piqued Dan’s interest enough for him to then want to invest in a horse with him. The two took the plunge and soon enough, they branched out into owning shares of horses with multiple stables to try their luck. Through all the excitement of owning, Vince and Dan both agreed after a short time that something was missing.
“We felt like we weren’t really ‘partners,’ so to speak, but more along the lines of ‘outsiders,’ as the transparency just wasn’t there. We also felt uncomfortable going to visit the horses we had shares in because we weren’t sure whether we were allowed to or not.” They then posed the question to each other, “What if we do this on our own?”
They pitched the idea to co-workers, friends and family to see if any of them would potentially be interested in acquiring shares in horses. Five or six people were intrigued, and that was enough for them to run with it. They proceeded to contact several breeders to inquire about horses for sale. Soon enough, they had multiple two–year–old fillies and colts in training. Their stable really started to take off, and so did their visions. Dan and Vincethen took a step back and reflected on how they could really make a name for themselves. “We decided we would target NY-breds; specifically, fillies. Fillies retain more value than colts, and maybe you miss out on the big dream of running in the Kentucky Derby, but for a young syndication that was just starting out, we had to make sure there was value in what we were doing.”
And they could not have been more right.
Final Furlong Racing Stable is celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, and a little something else; a beautiful, rich brown filly by the name of Espresso Shot. She is a filly by Mission Impazible out of the Medaglia D’Oro mare, Glory Gold. Vince gave me the scoop on her name: “All of the partners went out to celebrate purchasing her and were throwing around names, as we always want everyone to share their input. We all thought, ‘she is a bay, but more chocolate brown, a dark bay, with black socks.. her damsire is Medaglia D’Oro, a type of coffee, there is Mocha Express in her bloodlines.. we must relate this to coffee somehow… ESPRESSO SHOT!’” Jorge Abreu was selected as her trainer, and Vince explained that Final Furlong’s goal is to make sure any trainer they choose is a quality one and open to their partners’ participation. Jorge Abreu fit the bill.
Espresso Shot sure has brewed up excitement, as her first significant victory was the $100,000 East View Stakes for New York-bred fillies at Aqueduct this past December. She was then invited to the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct on March 9th. Not only does the Busher Stakes offer a hefty $250,000 purse, but also 50 qualifying points to the winner for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs. Final Furlong acknowledged that she would be up against quality fillies, but held out hope that itwould be her ticket to the bluegrass on the first Friday in May. It was an exhilarating race, as Espresso Shot broke from the gate well, but at the back of the pack. Jockey Eric Cancel eventually closed that gap, swung her to the outside, and took the lead in the stretch, winning by three quarters of a length. The celebration ensued, and what was only a dream turned into reality for her owners, as she had just punched her ticket to arguably the most prestigious of races in existence for 3YO fillies.
Espresso Shot will encounter one more stop on her way to the Kentucky Oaks, and that is the G2 Gazelle at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 6th. Dan and Vince are ecstatic, as are the partners, and Dan reflected on the path they have been on thus far: “Jorge Abreu and his team have done a tremendous job with this filly, and she has not missed a step in her preparations. He had her ready to fire coming off her 2YO stake win against restricted company to win the Busher, and she looks to be rounding into a big effort in the Gazelle as we point to the Kentucky Oaks.” Part owners of Espresso Shot share similarsentiments:
“Since teaming up with Final Furlong and Espresso Shot, the experience has been exciting, fun, and transparent. Both Dan and Vince keep us in the loop with information on a regular basis. The ride we are all on with Espresso Shot is a path that I personally have never been down, and it’s been awesome.” – Ron S. from New Jersey
“Growing up attending horse races at Suffolk Downs, I was always fascinated by the horses, jockeys, trainers, owners and environment of horse racing. To finally have an opportunity to be a part owner with Final Furlong Racing has been a dream come true and an unbelievable experience.” – Manny F., New York.
Espresso Shot will leave the gate from a familiar post position, 2, as this was the same post position she drew for the Busher, and she is the current morning line favorite at 9/5. Whatever the outcome this Saturday, it is safe to say that Espresso Shot has made many hearts skip a “bean,” and the excitement will continue to percolate all the way to the first Friday in May.
The process of acquiring a horse like Espresso Shot and forming a syndication is noteworthy. Final Furlong purchases most of their NY-bred yearlings at the Saratoga Sale in August, and the syndication forms within two weeks to a month after the purchase. The yearlings are sent to Rice Horse Stables in Ocala, FL to train for the year. Most of the horses will then typically ship to Belmont Park or Saratoga Racecourse the following year. Final Furlong tries to target a debut at The Spa, but if a horse is not ready, they will wait. Vince expressed that they really like totake their time with the process of acquiring the yearlings and are awake from early morning to late at night during the week of the sale to make certain that everyone is on the same page and in agreement. “We try to be as open with information as possible. We want partners to know everything and not be left in the dark.” Dan and Vince pride themselves on transparency and making sure all partners, no matter how much they have invested in a horse, are treated equally.
When asked what their vision is for the future and what they believe Final Furlong will look like in ten years from now, Vince had this to say:
“If we can continue along with the success we have recently had, it would be really great. I think it is important to extend our reach to younger partners, as we want to be able to leave our mark on something. We want to make this a fun experience for everyone and make owning a horse more accessible and feasible. I bring my children to as many races as possible, and some partners have followed suit. Maybe it’s them who will follow in our footsteps one day. There is a definite stereotype that comes with horse ownership, and we want to break that stereotype. EVERYONE likes to have some fun, and we try to incorporate different activities to pique people’s interest and make it an enjoyable and attainable experience for all.”
Final Furlong Racing Stable encourages anyone who is interested in their story or becoming part of the team to contact them.
Visit them at https://www.finalfurlongracingstable.com and follow them on Twitter: @GoFinalFurlong
and GO ESPRESSO SHOT!