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Making WAVES

IMPACT

Adam Cognialese

Saddling Up for SUCCESS

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horoughbred horse racing is mostly a boys’ club. Men have a monopoly on jockeying, only three fillies have won in the Kentucky Derby’s 140-year history and few women have crossed over into ownership. But Sheila Rosenblum is on track to break that ceiling. “I went full speed ahead into the racing world. Plunged in head first with not a clue what I was doing, and almost drowned a million times,” she says. “I had no business getting into this business.”

After three years and 33 starts, Erik the Red, a horse named after Rosenblum’s son, delivered a purse of $200,000 in 2013. That same year, with trainer Linda Rice by her side, Rosenblum purchased a filly named La Verdad despite cautionary advice from her lawyer and several vets. La Verdad went on to be named the American Champion Female Sprint Horse at the 2015 Eclipse Awards, and won more than $1 million before retiring in early 2016. Rosenblum’s foray into the sporting world of racing is an anomaly. She has a background in dance, studying at The Royal Ballet School in London and the School of American Ballet in New York City. While waiting for her dance career to take off, she drifted into modeling. Her passion for horses was always strong, but her parents limited rigorous activities outside of ballet for fear of injury. An exit from ballet allowed her to finally take up riding. After her children were older, Rosenblum decided to take her love for riding to the next level. “I had this thought to start doing what I liked and try to get my own life apart from being a full-time mom,” says Rosenblum. The idea became a reality in 2010 when her then-husband offered to buy her a racehorse. Today Rosenblum owns Belmont Park-based Lady Sheila Stable (home to La Verdad, Erik the Red and four more horses), as well as Triumphant Trio, Lady Sheila Stable Two, both female ownership syndicates. For example, Lady Sheila Stable Two is comprised of eight female investors, including Jill Zarin, Diane Davis, Iris Smith and Linda Rice. “I wanted to give women the opportunity to do what the men do; enjoy the excitement of going to a track and being in a winner’s circle,” she says. When Rosenblum isn’t competing, she can be found working alongside New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, a nonprofit program that trains retired racehorses to become pleasure mounts. — Jonathan Urbina

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La Verdad and jockey Jose Ortiz

Muses & Visionaries magazine No15  

The Home Issue, 2016, featuring Katie Lee

Muses & Visionaries magazine No15  

The Home Issue, 2016, featuring Katie Lee