Intl Edition 63

M ost racehorse owners never earn the sport’s highest awards. SheilaRosenblum, less than ten years after entering the industry, reached its apex. Her keen eye and business savvy catapulted her to thrilling successes, highlighted by her filly, La Verdad, being crowned Eclipse champion female sprinter in 2015. Former professional ballerina Rosenblum is a beauty; her cornflower-blue eyes sparkle. Elegant posture and attire bespeak one who graced the world’s great dance and social stages. Her slender waist, accentuated by a belt made of golden links shaped like horse bits, attests to her time modeling for Ford and then Wilhelmina, as well as her unbridled passion for equines. Rosenblum’s love for horses came as a bit of a surprise. Born in Switzerland to a German Jewish father and a Roman Catholic mother, she immigrated to Miami at age four and fell for horses. “I knew I liked horses—there’s no real reason. There’s not a horse person in my family,” she said. Her other presiding love was ballet. At age ten, she began to study seriously, attending lessons “five, then six, then seven days a week by the time she was eleven. “That was my obsession,” Rosenblum noted. Rosenblumhas never done anything by halves. In her teenage years, she attended London’s Royal Ballet School and studied intensively in New York. But her dance teachers forbade her from skiing or riding horses, both of which she resolved to pursue as an adult. At age 19, Rosenblum “got sidetracked into modeling,” as she described it, becoming equally dedicated to this new profession and to traveling. Despite breaking her shoulder in an early riding lesson, she was determined to learn dressage. When a friend took her to the backstretch to visit his racehorses, something clicked. “That’s what I think I want to do. I would love to own a racehorse one day. I didn’t realize that fast forward, like, twenty years, I would be in that role to the degree I am today,” she marveled. While pursuing her equine interests, Rosenblum married commodities exec Daniel Rosenblum and had two children: Kara, now 21, and Erik, 19. She observed, “I’ve been pretty blessed to go

from ballet to modeling to then having my family, and my prized treasures are Kara and Erik, my two kids. The only thing better than performing in Swan Lake was having my children, and then owning La Verdad. I went full speed ahead with the children and wanted to be an absolutely full-time mom.” Her family settled in New York City, where Sheila nurtured her love of racing. When her now-ex- husband offered to buy her an expensive dressage show horse, she opted for a string of racehorses instead. Rosenblum wound up working with a female trainer, Linda Rice. She wanted a NewYork-based trainer; Rice continually ranks amongst the top in the Empire State. Impressed by Rice’s commitment to drive four hours toManhattan from Saratoga for an early morning meeting,


she added, “It was just meant to be. I brought her horses, which she proceeded to tell me were very mediocre, and I said, ‘Thank you. That’s like telling me I have an ugly child.’” All five of the horses Rosenblum sent to Rice eventually became winners…and then one horse changed everything. Rosenblum’s passionate enthusiasm is balanced by Rice’s calm and reserve. When Rice called Rosenblum in 2014, gushing about a horse Sheila needed to own, Rosenblum listened. At the time, that four-year-old filly,


named La Verdad, was an up-and-coming runner. Rosenblum and Rice jumped through financial and equine hoops to buy La Verdad and her half-sister, Hot City Girl. La Verdad earned her stripes by winning a top-level sprint stakes at Aqueduct in 2014. The following year, she dominated the female sprint division, finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and received the Eclipse Award as America’s top female sprinter of 2015. Rosenblum mused, “And then that put me more out there as an owner on the map. Amazing how many people approach you when you have one little Eclipse Award.” After racing La Verdad, Rosenblum became inspired to create a syndicate comprised of women, each of whom would own a piece of a racehorse. “My first syndication started because of the enjoyment I had campaigning La Verdad. I thought, in the racing world, women are often the people in the background,” she said. “It’s always the guys out front getting all the attention and the wife in the background. But why can’t it be reversed?”


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