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The Notebook July 01, 2013


Two-Minute Lick - Bill Crager

Bill Crager is a lifelong horse racing fan who owned and raced horses in the 1990s. Crager stepped away from the game to dedicate himself to building the financial services company Envestnet, but two years ago he decided he wanted to get back into ownership. Crager rounded up a group of friends and started Buttonwood Farm along with his wife, Kathy. Crager’s love of racing stems from trips during his childhood to the racetrack with his grandfather, and he now is dedicating himself to passing along that passion to his friends and family, including his four children Will, Jane, Lily and Katie.

Name: Bill Crager

Born: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Residence: Berwyn, Pa., at Buttonwood Farm

Family: Wife, Kathy; daughters Jane and Lily, 15, and Katie, 13; son, Will, 17.

What I do for a living: President of Envestnet, a financial services company that provides infrastructure for the independent advisor.

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Aqueduct, with my grandfather

My favorite racetrack: Saratoga. There are about a dozen that I love, but Saratoga is always a good time. It’s hard not to have fun at Saratoga.

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: I spent my bachelor party at the Belmont Stakes and went there for 10 years consecutively, so I would have to say the Belmont. I’m a New York guy.

Other sports/teams I follow: Big New York Jets fan and there is a lot of lacrosse in my family, so those would be the two passions besides horse racing.

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: Optimism. It’s a great sport with a lot of great people in the sport. Rather than the industry be so hard on itself, I think we should be thinking about ways to inject more of that optimism throughout the game. 

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: Races – racing, think about the supply and demand issue and quality of the product they are putting out there. It doesn’t mean that tracks should go away, but they should think about how we manage the product that it puts out there.

Favorite All-time Thoroughbred: Captain Bodgit

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred racing: Watching our filly Red Hot Tweet break her maiden earlier this year.

Best racetrack food can be found at: Saratoga, Hattie’s Chicken Shack

My heroes: I have a variety of different interests. My heroes range from Ernest Hemingway to Teddy Roosevelt to Amelia Earhart … people who press the envelope are always of interest to me. People who break new ground, swim out a little deeper than they are accustomed to swimming. Those are the people I admire a lot.

My philosophy on life: Cherish every minute and enjoy all of the great things that life offers you, even the small things that you take for granted you have to stop and take time to appreciate them more often than you do.

Favorite animal other than a horse: Dogs - Border Collie, Australian Shepherd

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event: Opening day of baseball season

Favorite food: Italian, so it’s gotta be pasta

Favorite vacation spot: We travel a lot. We love traveling and exploring new places, so it’s not one place.

Favorite city: New York City, born and raised there. It’s an amazing place that you could live there for 40-plus years and still find new things and discover new parts of that city all the time.

Favorite musician/band: Wilco, I think is the greatest American Rock and Roll band today.

Favorite TV show: Sporting events or news for me.

Favorite movie about horse racing: How could you not love Seabiscuit and Secretariat, great movies

Alma Mater: Fairfield University in Connecticut. I’m fortunate to be on the board of trustees today, so it’s a place I care a lot about.

Last Book you read: A book by Roberto Bolano and it’s called "The Savage Detectives." He’s a Chilean writer and an extraordinary, under-recognized global writer

Twitter Handle: @bwoodfarm

People I follow on Twitter: I follow 400 different people and probably over 200 of them are horse-racing related. As far as the best Tweeters out there, I think Graham [Motion] is really good. Graham is someone who gets how to use social media.

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Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to photographer Mary M. Meek, winner of this week's Fan Photo Contest!

From Mary: "Horses on the track at dawn, Churchill Downs 5/31/2013." Want in? E-mail a .jpg and brief caption to

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