The Empire Racing Club, an initiative launched in 2019 by the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association (NYTHA) to introduce fans to horse ownership, celebrated their first victory on Sunday with 3-year-old New York-bred Now and Again at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Linda Rice, Now and Again broke his maiden with a two-length victory under winter meet leading rider Jose Lezcano. Sent to post as the 2-1 favorite in the one-mile maiden claiming event, the Awesome Again gelding stalked from second position in the field of eight, swinging four-wide into the upper stretch and extending away to victory.

Making his first start for Rice and fifth overall after beginning his career with Gary Contessa, Now and Again returned $6.30 for a $2 win wager.

“We are happy to support the Empire Racing Club and I’m pleased to get them in the winner’s circle in our first start together,” said Rice. “We look forward to working with the Empire Racing Club and Now and Again.”

Limited to 200 members who each pay an all-in cost of $500 for the term, the Empire Racing Club’s purpose is to introduce fans to racehorse ownership and provide an enjoyable race day experience without any additional expenses. Proceeds from the club will be used to pay for the horse’s expenses, with any excess funds designated to the non-profit aftercare organization Take The Lead Thoroughbred Retirement Program.

Former legendary NYRA announcer Tom Durkin serves as the managing partner.

“As a founding member of the Empire Racing Club, I found it fitting that we ended season one, and started a new season, with a win on Sunday by Now and Again,” said Empire Racing Club member Shane Lockwood who was on hand Sunday.

“As he crossed the finish line first, I was thinking about how winning a horse race as an ‘owner’ was something I never imagined I’d experience and I’m thankful to NYTHA, NYRA, Len and Jon Green, Aron Yagoda and Linda Rice for making it happen,” added Lockwood. “I strongly encourage those who are interested in learning about all aspects of horse racing ownership to look into the racing club as the knowledge I have gained is invaluable and the experiences I’ve had will last a lifetime.”

Currently, the Empire Racing Club has horses in training among leading conditioners including Rice, seven-time Eclipse Award-winner Todd Pletcher, and Canadian Hall of Famer Mark Casse.

NYRA Bets is also partnering with the Empire Racing Club, offering a $200 wagering credit to members who signup as new NYRA Bets account holders. Only individuals who have not previously held a NYRA Bets account will be eligible for the bonus. Club members will receive regular updates about the stable’s horses via conference call, email, social media and dedicated club events and race days.

For more information on the Empire Racing Club, please visit https://nytha.com/welcometotheclub.





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