From NFL to Farming: Jacob Tamme Chats Cows and Horse Racing

The Life
Con Te Partiro is co-owned by former NFL player Jacob Tamme.
Con Te Partiro is co-owned by former NFL player Jacob Tamme. (NYRA-Susie Raisher/Wikimedia Commons-Jeffrey Beall)

Former University of Kentucky and NFL player Jacob Tamme now focuses on tending to his Angus cattle herd and raising his family. The Kentucky native is also a racehorse owner and breeder, with Royal Ascot winner Con Te Partiro (who he raced in partnership) among his biggest successes.

Get to know him in the fun Q&A below before hearing his thoughts firsthand on Saturday, when he I our guest on “The Winner’s Circle” radio show on SB Nation Radio at 10 a.m. ET.

My introduction to horse racing occurred when ...

When I was born in the great state of Kentucky!

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me:

Beauty. Pageantry. Excitement.

What’s more exciting: a game winning touchdown or your horse winning a race?

Winning a horse race is awesome but catching a touchdown in the NFL is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, so I’ll go with the catch. I guess it depends on the circumstances. For instance, if we are talking winning the Kentucky Derby vs. a game-winning catch in week 16 of a 4-12 season, I think I’ll take the Derby!

Racing at Keeneland.
Racing at Keeneland. (Eclipse Sportswire)

My top three favorite racetracks in order, and what I like about each one:

1. Keeneland 2. Keeneland 3. Kee-… nah just kidding… Del Mar.

I love everything about Keeneland. Literally everything. And we took a great trip out to Del Mar last summer to watch Con Te Partiro run in the Del Mar Oaks. Del Mar gets big points for the weather!

What I do when I’m not at the races:

I farm cattle. (And when you farm cattle you don’t have time for much anything else!) I am the owner-operator of Tamme Valley Farm, a registered Angus cattle operation in Danville, Ky. We also own a couple broodmares with a partner or two. I love the breeding aspect of the horse business as well as the cattle business. I find the quest to breed a superior animal a fantastic challenge.

One thing that most people don’t know about me is:

Probably everything above! My family has been farming cattle in central Kentucky since 1910 and I am now carrying on that tradition.

Advice I would give to anyone considering getting into racing as an owner:

Start small. Heck, stay small. There’s nothing wrong with being a 5% partner on a great filly or colt. I’ll take 5% of a really good one over 50% or even 100% of an average one any day. Find the right person or people to partner with and set realistic expectations. If you are starting your own operation from scratch and have the resources to go it alone, even more important to find the right advisors and horsemen to help you get started.

Favorite racehorse currently competing:

The easy answer is Justify. And I have an excuse for opting for the easy one because I actually got to meet Bob Baffert and spend a few minutes with Justify on the backside two days before the Kentucky Derby.

Favorite all-time racehorse:

American Pharoah and Count Fleet (I grew up on Count Fleet Circle)

Accomplishment I am most proud of:                                                                                                                                    

The impact that our charity event Swings for Soldiers has made in the lives of wounded veterans: www.swingsforsoldiers.org.

Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home:

Rotate!

Favorite international racing event:

Royal Ascot. I was unable to go but our partnership had a winner there last year, Con Te Partiro. We have a glass break alarm in our house and my wife and I were screaming so hard at the TV we set it off!

Three ways to attract more fans to the sport:

Smarter people than I are tackling that question … less quantity, higher quality racing? Historical racing machines? Easier-to-understand (for beginners) wagering options?

What is your go-to or signature bet to make at the racetrack:

I am a believer in the idea that I can pick winners better than I can pick place and show runners. So I like multi-race exotics like the Pick 3 and 4, and occasionally a Pick 6. The Pick 4 is my go-to. I don’t like to wager unless I have time to prepare, and that has been few and far between lately.

My biggest gambling score ever at the racetrack was:

A couple of nice Pick 4s over the years.

Best advice I could give to anyone who wants to learn about betting on the races:

Go read Steve Crist’s “Exotic Betting.”

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended:

NCAA basketball tournament, Super Bowls

My favorite athletes of all time:

Emmitt Smith, Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr.

Favorite magazines:

BloodHorse, Angus Journal

Twitter, Facebook or Instagram:

Used to be Twitter. Now more Facebook.

Favorite thing to eat after a winning day at the races:

A big ol’ Certified Angus Beef ribeye!

Least favorite food:

Asparagus. I just can’t get into it.

Best racetrack food can be found at:

Duh – Keeneland.

Favorite cocktail:

I’ll have a cocktail now and again but honestly just give me an Ale8 One. Or a good cab with that CAB steak!

Twitter handle:

@JacobTamme

What apps are on your phone: 

Too many. Just got GasBuddy and been using it more than I expected. Starbucks. Tractor House. Bible App and Bible App for Kids. SignNow. Zillow. TurboScan.

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing:

Bob Baffert, Graham Motion, Mike Smith

I’d like to have dinner with the following three people outside of racing:

John Roberts, Jimmy Fallon, Steve Kerr

My philosophy on life:

I believe we were created for a purpose: to glorify God. I believe we are called to love and respect other people, even those that aren’t like us. My philosophy on life is to love my wife, treasure and raise my children, work my butt off, and do my best to treat people right all along the way.

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