Anna Seitz Ciannello grew up in the Thoroughbred industry and remains involved in both her career path and her hobbies. She works for Fasig-Tipton and runs a racing syndicate which has seen success on multiple continents. Here she shares about her experiences as an owner, thoughts on the industry, and more.
If you'd like to learn more about becoming a Thoroughbred owner, visit OwnerView.com for resources on everything from licensing to trainers to vet clinics. You can also register for their ownership conference, held Breeders' Cup week in San Diego this year.
Name: Marianna “Anna” Seitz Ciannello
Birthplace: Brookdale Farm in Versailles, Ky.
Years as an owner: 6
Horses owned (currently): Our Majesty, Yes to the Dress, Spark Joy, Sipmychardonnaynae, Global Glamour, Invincible Glamour, Glamour Cruise, Missbigtimes (***All in partnership***)
Horses owned (lifetime): I’m Already Sexy, Four Inch Heels, My Cousin Zinny, Walk Tiz Way
Best horse owned: I’m Already Sexy in the U.S./Global Glamour in Australia
Best win(s): Global Glamour won the Group 1 Flight S. and Group 1 Thousand Guineas just seven days later! I’m Already Sexy won the Grade 3 Pucker Up S. at 3, Grade 3 Modesty H. at 4 and Grade 3 Eatontown S. at 5.
Profession/what I do: Client development and public relations manager for Fasig-Tipton and founder and managing partner of It’s All About the Girls Racing Syndicate
Best experience as an owner: Running I’m Already Sexy in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard on multiple occasions and in the Beverly D. on Million day at Arlington Park were incredible, memorable experiences, but the most fun was when I’m Already Sexy won the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes. We had about 20 partners and a lot of friends/family were there and we rushed the field after her win! We may have even drunk champagne out of the trophy back at the tailgate area afterwards. :)
How I became a Thoroughbred owner: I convinced 19 people to put up $20,000 total and partner with me on a filly back in October 2011 at the Fasig-Tipton October Yearlings Sale. That filly (I’m Already Sexy) went on to earn $762,300 before we sold her for $420,000 as a broodmare prospect. Let’s just say I’ve been hooked ever since!
What I like about Thoroughbred racing: The interesting people I constantly get to meet and become friends with. And of course the thrill of winning a race … there’s nothing like it!
Best advice to someone considering ownership: Buy a small interest in five or so horses at first. Hopefully, you’ll have enough excitement from one of those to make up for the disappointments with the others. It’s absolutely a numbers game. Also - get involved! Part of the fun is going to visit your horse at the barn in the morning and meeting the many wonderful people in the game from jockeys to trainers to other owners.
Favorite place at the racetrack to watch a race: As close to the starting gate as I can be. I love watching them spring from the gate and rooting my horse home down the stretch.
How do you pick the names of your racehorses: We do it as a group and have a lot of fun! It’s a very democratic process. With Four Inch Heels, Yes to the Dress and Sipmychardonnaynae, you can see sort of a theme.
Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home: I like how it rotates as it makes it easier for the fans which is obviously very important, but I can certainly see the benefits of having it in Southern California that time of the year.
Favorite horse auction of the year: I love to shop for prospects at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Sale and Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, but from an excitement level, the Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale and the Fasig-Tipton November Sale are tough to beat.
Best racetrack food can be found at: Saratoga: Shake Shack!
Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Exhilarating, social, fun
My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred racing: I have so many I don’t even know where to start.
Favorite international racing event and why: Arlington Million day. It is so well executed by the entire staff and management. It receives tremendous support from the local community. You have world-class racing with a lot of international participation. The facility is top-notch with one of the best turf courses in the country.
My favorite childhood memory: Hanging out on the farm with my four older siblings and riding around in the back of Dad’s truck.
Most influential person in my career: My dad because he’s seen it all and done it all in this game and did it all on his own. He worked very hard to build Brookdale Farm and I like to think his work ethic rubbed off on me as well as my brothers (Joe runs Brookdale Sales and Freddy is the general manager for Brookdale Farm).
When I was 6, I wanted to be: A jockey. That dream was shattered when I was too big by the time I was 8.
Other sports/teams I follow: Notre Dame (my alma mater) football and basketball; New York Giants football (I’ve gotten to know Chris Mara very well and he’s a guy who’s easy to root for).
Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Outside of basketball games, I really enjoyed the Indy 500.
My heroes: My parents, my son Frankie for getting through his cleft lip and palate surgeries like a champ and Frankie’s surgeon, Dr. Liau for changing the lives of children every day. Dr. Liau also volunteers on mission trips to repair cleft lips/palates for children in third world countries.
A fact about myself that would surprise those who know me: I can be shy (I swear it’s true).
My favorite athletes of all time: I always loved Clyde “the Glide” Drexler growing up. Random, I know!
Most treasured possession/memento: I have a piece of Rags to Riches’ tail from right after she won the Belmont. I had the privilege of ponying her to the track in the mornings while working for Todd Pletcher.
A pet peeve: I can’t stand when people in this industry do nothing but trash the game, especially on social media. What good does this do?
What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearlings Sale Catalogue (does that count?;))
Favorite magazines: BloodHorse
Gadget I cannot live without: My iPhone although my husband Evan wishes I could!
Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: Playing with my son, watching Netflix with the fam, working out, gardening, going to the races.
Favorite movies: Elf, Rudy (I think as a Notre Dame alum, by law, I have to say this!)
Favorite TV shows I watch: "Blue Bloods," "Homeland," "Blacklist," and "Baby Daddy"
Favorite foods: Fried rice, my mom’s pizza, dark chocolate, and Evan’s stromboli
Favorite vacation spot: What’s a vacation?
What I drive: Toyota Highlander
If I could be a guest on any TV talk show it would be: "58 Flat" with Matt Carothers
If I could appear on any TV show it would be: I’m pretty sure I would be a really good CSI detective.
If I could be a guest on any talk radio show it would be: Steve Byk.
If I could be on stage with any musical group I would play what instrument: Piano
Favorite musician/band: Always loved the Cranberries
Accomplishment I am most proud of: My son Francis “Frankie” (aka Fasig-Tipton’s mascot)
My philosophy on life: I try not to take myself too seriously.
Things I collect: Win photos
Favorite charities: Global Smile Foundation, TCA, Anna House, New Vocations
Celebrity/prominent personality friends include: Avery Johnson, Bobby Flay, Johnny Velazquez, Todd Pletcher, Chris Mara
Favorite authors: I love reading historical fiction. So lots of authors in that genre.
Favorite animal other than a horse: Dog
What actor would play me in a movie: Hillary Swank. I’m told we look alike, both have big mouths!
What historical figure do you most identify with: Calamity Jane
Kimmel, Conan, or Fallon, who do you watch: I’m long asleep by the time they come on.
No. 1 Bucket List Item: Win the Kentucky Oaks. I guess that’s more of a dream.
No. 2: Melbourne Cup (it’s always the same time as our November Sale)
Top three fashion brands you prefer to wear: Whatever wrinkles the least and washes the easiest. I travel a lot. Oh and pants that are extra, extra long. I’m pretty tall.
Country you’ve never been to but desire to visit: South Africa!
Favorite month of the year: October
Which is better, Thanksgiving or Christmas: Thanksgiving. We raise our own turkeys and our whole family gets together without the stress of gift-giving (my husband and I have 16 nieces and nephews between us).
Biggest gambling score at the racetrack ever: This year’s Dubai World Cup. I rarely bet, but I nailed the super - cold!
What is your go-to or signature bet to make at the racetrack: The show parlay
Do you play fantasy sports: No. I loved the Breeders’ Cup Fantasy Bets they used to do. We always got a big group to go in together and it got everyone following the Breeders’ Cup prep races.
If you could pick walk-up music that would play whenever your horse(s) entered a winner’s circle after a win, what song would you pick: Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” was our theme song for I’m Already Sexy, so probably that.
Favorite fall/holiday cocktail: Bonefish Grill’s winter white cosmopolitan
Favorite summertime cocktail: Tito’s and anything.
Facebook page: Anna Seitz Ciannello