Joe Tartaglia holds a record at Canterbury Park. Not as a trainer, not as an owner, not as a jockey, and no, not as a horse. He is a handicapper and bettor. He holds the record for hitting the largest pick 4 payout in Canterbury Park history. It happened on July 12, 2019. The 50 cent pick 4 returned $31,622.90. “And yes,” Tartaglia said, “I check just about every day during the meet to see if it holds up.” Read more about that score in this Star Tribune story from Howard Sinker.
Tartaglia has handicapped and bet horses for several years. Last October he tried something new however. Racehorse ownership. “That was my first foray into it,” he said. He and a friend decided to purchase a yearling at the Timonium sale. They reached out to others and had “great participation” and bought the yearling they wanted. Afterwards they had several more inquiries, so many in fact that they bought a second yearling.
“It snowballed from there,” Tartaglia said. “We have 60 or 70 partners signed on now.”
Tartaglia named this new racing community Little Blue Bird Stables because most of the members met first on Twitter, which uses a blue bird as its logo. He had gained a racing following over the past years, posting betting tickets and talking horses. It was that following that jumped into ownership with him. Little Blue Bird, which is still accepting members, has purchased and claimed horses over the months. “We had three claimed from us and 95 percent of the members rolled their money back in,” he said. Those owners could have opted to simply cash in and leave LBB, but racehorse ownership can be infectious.
LBB is built on transparency and and enjoying the process of horse ownership as a group, with everyone involved in the process. The groups make decisions on claims for example, discussing the possibilities. Tartaglia strives to keep open lines of communication both with the owner members and the trainers they employ. He has been “sharing the firsts” over the months. “This is a shared experience,” he said. The first claim, the first silks, and so on, all shared. “The excitement builds.”
Thus far there have been five starts for LBB resulting in one third place finish. A ‘first’ he wants to experience in person is that first victory. Joe has reached an understanding with his better half that he will travel to each start until that win happens as he will not let it occur without him.
Tartaglia opened a ‘Summer in Shakopee’ opportunity with the intent of racing at Canterbury. The group attracted several people, including locals. LBB has claimed a horse at Oaklawn for Canterbury, Prince Leo, and will send him to trainer David Van Winkle. Tartaglia had watched and handicapped Canterbury enough to form a short list of potential trainers. “He’s well-respected,” Tartaglia said of Van Winkle. “Hall of Fame. A good hard-working horseman. All the stuff you want.”
There are still opportunities to join Little Blue Bird Stables, including being part of another Canterbury runner. “If there’s demand, we’ll figure it out,” Tartaglia said. And just maybe with good fortune, Tartaglia and his Little Blue Bird partners can enter the Canterbury Park record book in another fashion.
Find all the information about joining on the Little Blue Bird Stables website.
Canterbury Park’s live race meet begins May 18.