Lady and The Track | September 22, 2023

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Home » Derby Culture » StarLadies Racing Attracts Women to the Winner’s Circle

StarLadies Racing Attracts Women to the Winner’s Circle

StarLadies Racing Attracts Women to the Winner’s Circle: As you look around your favorite track you may notice flocks of female fans enjoying the day around the paddock or better yet in the Winner’s Circle accepting the trophy for their champion horse. StarLadies Racing is a new partnership opportunity for female racing enthusiasts that we’re hopeful to see celebrating as the group’s two-year-olds are scheduled to hit the track later this year. Not only does StarLadies Racing make it easy for a gal to be part of owning fillies within an intimate group, the organization is modeled after one of the most successful thoroughbred partnerships in the business, Starlight Racing, which is sure to produce winners.

StarLadies Racing

StarLadies Meet & Greet last August, hosted by Laurie Wolf, pictured on the far right wearing a corral necklace, at the Wolf’s home in Saratoga prior to a Day at the Races. Founding partner Barbara Lucarelli is pictured in the center with the brown handbag.

Going back to 2012, Barbara Lucarelli and Laurie Wolf, two of the founding partners in Starlight Racing, had tossed around the idea of having a female-only partnership–buying only fillies and having only females in the group. They thought this would be a fun (and, hopefully, rewarding!) way for a group of like-minded women to share and enjoy their mutual passion for racing. The inaugural StarLadies partnership was launched in 2013, with the purchase of 5 yearling fillies that are on track to make their 2-year-old debuts later this year.

Starlight Chief Operating Officer, Donna Barton Brothers, and Starlight principal & StarLadies managing partner, Laurie Wolf, explained the benefits of joining the StarLadies Racing partnership saying, “With a small group where all of the partners invest in a crop of horses, this offers an intimate partnership and allows each partner the chance to be involved with the sport at, hopefully, a fairly high level, while minimizing individual risk. By being involved with a few horses, rather than one horse (as many partnerships offer), we feel like it increases everyone’s odds to have a good horse. And by limiting the number of partners we accept, everyone is able to share in the hands-on experience and thrill of Thoroughbred ownership and racing. As StarLadies follows the same model as Starlight, the ladies experience these same benefits as well.”

The 2013 StarLadies partnership consists of nine partners. These women come from all across the country and all share a passion for horses and racing! StarLadies will form new partnerships each year for purchases at the three premier yearling sales (Fasig-Tipton July, Saratoga Select and Keeneland September), just as the Starlight core partnership does. Since StarLadies Racing wants to maintain an intimate relationship with their partners, they plan to keep each group small (9-12 partners).

StarLadies Racing

StarLadies partners Allison Moses (left) and Leigh Butler enjoy the StarLadies meet & greet hosted by Laurie Wolf.

The current StarLadies partners are very diverse in their lifestyles and interests. They are entrepreneurs, businesswomen, moms, grandmothers…and everything in between! Most of them have had some prior experience with owning racehorses and even the ones who are new to horse ownership have participated in racing and/or partnerships with their husbands. Six of the nine current StarLadies partners participate in the Starlight core partnership with their husbands.

StarLadies Racing is bound to lead to lasting friendships as the ladies experience the ups and downs of horse racing together as a team. Laurie Wolf said, “The ladies are looking forward to spending time together and getting to know each other at the races this year!”

StarLadies partner Leigh Butler adds, “I got involved with StarLadies because it was a unique opportunity to be part of an offshoot of the well-respected and successful partnership, Starlight Racing. In addition, the concept of being in an ‘all women’s group’, buying top class fillies to race was very appealing to me. With the experience of Laurie Wolf, Barbara Lucarelli, and the rest of the StarLadies team, you don’t need to be a horse racing expert to join and have fun with StarLadies. I love being a part of StarLadies and can’t wait until the first crop of fillies hits the track later this year.”

The StarLadies Racing partnership is small and intimate enough that each member has the opportunity to name the current crop of fillies. Each partner submits name suggestions, and Donna Barton Brothers and Laurie Wolf try to match them up with the fillies and have each partner represented in the names (depending on the number of fillies and partners).

Laurie Wolf added, “While the managing partners will make the decisions on races for the fillies (based on the feedback they are getting from the horse’s trainer), we engage the partners in what’s going on with them through weekly updates about their training, workouts, etc.”

Hopefaithjoy Horse

Hopefaithjoy (Lookin At Lucky – R Lady Joy, by Vicar) is currently at Payton Training Center and will make her two-year-old debut later this year for StarLadies Racing.

The five StarLadies fillies are currently receiving their early training at J.J. Pletcher’s Payton Training Center in Ocala, Florida. Several of the StarLadies partners traveled down to Ocala last December to meet the fillies and watch them train, so they have an opportunity to get very hands-on with them. These fillies turned two in January. The five fillies that the StarLadies partners named include; Ching Shih (Street Sense – Daffaash, by Mr. Greeley), Eskenformoney (Eskendereya – But For Money, by Not For Love), Fine Instincts (Tale Of The Cat – Acadia, by Silver Deputy), Hopefaithjoy (Lookin At Lucky – R Lady Joy, by Vicar), and Pointe Class (Arch – Golden Marlin, by Marlin)

Photos and complete pedigrees of he five StarLadies Racing fillies are available on the website. Laurie Wolf added, “They will begin shipping to our trainers this spring, and most will make their debuts later this summer and fall. This summer we will start the process all over again with a new crop of yearling fillies from the sales. It’s an exciting time and we look forward to the new adventures ahead!”

StarLadies is modeled after the successful Starlight Racing partnerships. Jack and Laurie Wolf founded Starlight in 2000, with Donnie and Barbara Lucarelli joining as principals in 2004. Over the years, Starlight has been fortunate to achieve a high level of success, ranging from multiple Grade 1 winner Harlan’s Holiday (who was in the Wolf’s first crop of yearling purchases), to two-time Eclipse Award winner (and Kentucky Oaks winner) Ashado, 2007 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Octave, and 2012 undefeated 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby.

StarLadies Racing

The StarLadies Racing silks will hit the track later this year as the first crop of fillies make their debuts.

Laurie Wolf shared, “Our ‘biggest success so far’ has been staying relevant in the horse ownership realm. It’s not easy and we work hard at it but, so far, we’ve been fortunate and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.”

New Vocations will receive 1% of purse money earned by StarLadies fillies. Donna and Laurie stated, “There are so many worthy charities from which to choose, but it was important to us to support a program that provides for the horses or people in horse racing. All of the partners conferred, and we all agreed that New Vocations is a worthy organization doing some really wonderful work re-homing our retired racehorses. As care of our horses both during and after racing is a top priority for Starlight and StarLadies, we’re thrilled to be able to offer some support to their efforts. However, our charity of choice will change every year, based on the majority preference of our partners.”

Any women who would like more information on StarLadies are welcome to contact Donna Barton Brothers, Starlight’s Chief Operating Officer whose focus is on client relations and partnership development for Starlight and StarLadies Racing. She may be reached via [email protected] or 502-645-2232 and would be happy to answer any questions. StarLadies does ask new partners to join at a 10% level of commitment to the overall partnership for that year.

Lady and The Track wishes StarLadies Racing the best of luck during the debut season of their fillies! Be sure to visit StarLadies Racing for more information. You can also follow StarLight Racing on twitter and facebook.


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