Inside the Owner’s Box with Auerbach, Restrepo and Seitz

The Life

Thoroughbred owners Harris Auerbach, Ramiro Restrepo and Anna Seitz take readers inside the owner's box in 2015. Auerbach, Restrepo and Seitz will give readers insight into race day habits, their favorite race track and their biggest accomplishment, plus things like what kind of music, fashion and vacations they prefer. 

In this edition we find out their most exciting win, what kind of music they favor and who reads Conde Nast

At what age did you become a Thoroughbred owner?

AUERBACH: Technically, I got licensed in 2004 (I was 34 or 35), but my family has owned horses since 1977.

RESTREPO: At the age of 29 I purchased my first horse, a 3-year-old filly in December of 2007. She went on to give me my first win, a $50,000 maiden claiming turf race at Tampa Bay Downs in her third start at 18-to-1. I ran the last sixteenth of a mile with her along the track apron — a moment of temporary insanity.


Who taught you how or did you have a mentor in becoming a successful Thoroughbred owner?

AUERBACH: I was mentored by my parents, Madeline and Jim. I’ve learned a lot from them over the years, and it’s really molded the way I go about my business.


Photo courtesy of Harris Auerbach

RESTREPO: I learned the ins and outs of the business from my parents, two uncles, and grandfather, who owned/trained several horses in the 1980s and ’90s in New York

SEITZ: I worked for Todd Pletcher for almost four years and dealt with a lot of owners during that time. I learned that the most successful ones had a very good team of people helping them. So, I use good trainers (mainly Wayne Catalano), vets, a very good bloodstock agent (Bob Feld), a good guy to break our babies (Jonathan Thomas at Bridlewood) and we got very lucky and landed a good horse right off the bat. I owe it all to our team. I firmly believe the key is to let the people you hire do their job and also always put the horse first.

What’s been the most exciting win in your time as an owner?

AUERBACH: When Burns won the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar. It was a breakthrough win for a horse whom I adored and we knew had huge potential.

RESTREPO: The most exciting win was having Istrue, a 2-year-old Benny the Bull filly, win first time out in 2013. She had been breezing lights out prior to her debut and there were high hopes. On race day we had close to 50 people at the track, it was quite the scene, prerace in the paddock, for a maiden special weight race, and then to have her miss the break and circle the field to win was emotional. It was a joyous winner’s circle that’s for sure.


Courtesy of Ramiro Restrepo

SEITZ: Honestly, when I’m Already Sexy broke her maiden at two I think I almost had a heart attack. I couldn’t go to the race because I had to be in Florida, so we found a bar to watch and the people in the bar said I was jumping so high I almost jumped in the ceiling fan. Obviously, every time she wins I overheat and go crazy, but I will never forget that feeling of our first win. It was like an out-of-body experience. Anyone who knows me knows that I go crazy every time we win a race. I become possessed.  I can’t help it! When Rags to Riches won the Belmont Stakes and I was working for Todd, I almost hyperventilated. I remember Todd’s assistant grabbing me and shaking me, saying if I didn’t start breathing I was going to pass out. It was all such a blur.


Video courtesy of Andrew Chesser

What are you reading now (book, magazine, etc)?  Would you recommend it?

AUERBACH: I’m reading the December 2014 Issue of the California Thoroughbred, which to me is always must-read material. Highly recommended. ;-)

RESTREPO: Book: Donald Trump: “The Art of the Deal.” Magazine: Conde Nast.

SEITZ: “Genghis Khan [and the Making of the Modern World].” My brother recommended it and I’m trying to get through it but it’s very gory. I think it’s a guy type of book. I love reading but this one is tough to get through.

My top 3 DVR shows are …

AUERBACH: … 1. “The Good Wife”; 2. ESPN “30 for 30”; 3. “Grandstand”.

RESTREPO: … “Game of Thrones,” “Boardwalk Empire,” and old “Curb Your Enthusiasm” shows.

SEITZ: I’m on a Netflix kick right now because it’s cold. Horrible habit!

My ideal playlist on my iPod would have these 5 songs:

AUERBACH: 1. “New Kid in Town,” by The Eagles; 2. “Let Me Love You One More Time,” by George Benson; 3. “We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again,” by England Dan and John Ford Coley; 4. “Time Passages,” by Al Stewart; 5. “Sweet Caroline,” by Neil Diamond.

RESTREPO: 1. Led Zepellin – “Over the Hills and Far Away”; 2. Rolling Stones – “Street Fighting Man”; 3. Notorious BIG – “Things Done Changed”; 4. Jeezy – “SupaFreak”; 5. Rage Against the Machine – “Testify.”

SEITZ: Fun, upbeat music mixed with classical music. 


If I could own any painting in the world it would be …

AUERBACH: I have no answer to this question as those sorts of things don’t pique my interest. I’m not interested in things that I don’t have and like to focus on things I do have and things that I do.

RESTREPO: Monet’s “San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk.” I might have to pull my own “Thomas Crown Affair.”

What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in horse racing?

AUERBACH: I have no idea and spend no time or energy thinking about that. So, no answer. NEXT!!!

SEITZ: Be a sportscaster on TV.

If you had to choose, would you rather attend Fashion Week in New York City or Art Basel in Miami?

AUERBACH: Art Basel in Miami, knowing I could at least escape and weasel my way over to Gulfstream Park to enjoy the races in good weather!

RESTREPO: I do Art Basel every year as I’m based here, but I’ve never done Fashion Week in New York or Paris … so would be cool to check that out and pull a Kanye.

SEITZ: Art Basel, because then I would try and recruit art owners to come to Fasig-Tipton and get into the horse business.

People tell me I remind them of …

AUERBACH: I used to get Greg Maddox, the pitcher for the [Chicago] Cubs and the [Atlanta] Braves, when I was in my 20s.

SEITZ: … the girl in Million Dollar Baby

I think this will be the year I finally …

AUERBACH: … have a horse that wins a Grade 1 race. It’s been the elusive jewel we’ve been chasing and oh so close to. We’ve finished second in Grade 1s, owned horses that we bred and sold that went on to win them and we’ve been a part of many Grade 1 celebrations among friends, but have never been fortunate enough ourselves to own a Grade 1 winner when they have done so. This is the year!

RESTREPO: This will be the year my horse racing dreams come true!

SEITZ: … stop chewing my nails (yeah right, who am I kidding?).

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