Businessman and former jockey excited about future of winning ‘Majestic City’
By Julie Sarno
ContributorJeff Bloom grew up in San Diego. When he was 13, he went to the races at Del Mar with his older brother, Michael. Bloom remembers the day well: “I said, ‘That’s it, ‘I’m going to be a jockey.’”
Making his career decision was easy. Convincing his mom and dad to support his career choice was a lot harder.
“I did not come from a racing family,” said Bloom, trim and athletic and younger looking than his 47 years. “It was hard to talk my parents into letting me become a jockey.
They eventually caved in and let me pursue my passion.”
Bloom learned to gallop horses and worked as an exercise rider under Muzzy Francis at San Luis Rey Downs. The teen learned alot from Francis, a former jockey turned trainer. Bloom stayed in school at his parents’ insistence, went to Helix High in La Mesa, graduated from Fallbrook High. Then, at 18, he obtained his license as a jockey.
“As a jockey I rode my very first race at Del Mar in 1982,” recalled Bloom. “I was aboard a horse named Dancing Lou. I beat one horse and it was the best race he had ever run. He was sold as a show horse after. He was a gorgeous big chestnut. He didn’t like to go fast. He was destined to be anything but a racehorse.”
Bloom rode races for nine years, retiring from the saddle in 1990 at age 26. After his riding career, he returned to San Diego State and graduated with a degree in finance.
His degree has served him well in his subsequent career. Bloom worked for six years for West Point Thoroughbreds, a racing partnership business. He was a vice president and ran the West Coast operation. West Point Thoroughbreds offers individuals the chance to own fractional shares of racehorses, which is more affordable than traditional individual ownership. In addition to the purchase price of a thoroughbred racehorse, the costs for maintaining one ranges from $36,000-$40,000 annually. The acquisition cost of a horse, coupled with the feed, training, shoeing and veterinary expenses, put the sport out of reach for most.
What about the purse money, the money won when a horse finishes first through fifth in a race? Purse money will help defray expenses, but what if the horse is laid up and there is no purse money? In the last two decades, partnerships have allowed more people to become involved in thoroughbred ownership. In fact, this year’s Kentucky Derby was won by Animal Kingdom, campaigned by Team Valor, which has put together racing partnerships since 1992. Other well-known racing partnerships include Dogwood Stable, Great Friends and, now, Bloom Racing Stable.
Bloom left West Point in March of this year to start his own business. Soon after, he established Bloom Racing Stable. In addition, Bloom is known to many as the emcee of Breakfast at Del Mar, held weekends in the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant at the track. For more than 10 years, he has explained racing’s finer points while identifying many of the horses on the track for their morning workouts.
Right now, Bloom Racing Stable has one horse, 2-year-old Majestic City. But what a horse! Undefeated Majestic City has won three races from three starts including the six-furlong Hollywood Juvenile Championship (G3) at Hollywood Park on July 17.
People are talking about Majestic City, the 2-year-old chestnut son of City Zip, expected to be one of the favorites for the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity (G1) on closing day, Sept. 7. Trainer Pete Miller conditions the colt.
“Pete’s having a great meet,” said Bloom, manager of Bloom Racing Stable and part owner of 2-year-old Majestic City. “He’s done a great job getting Majestic City ready and keeping him in the right frame of mind.”
Bloom bought Majestic City earlier this year at the Ocala Breeders March sale for $180,000. The colt is a son of City Zip, out of the Meadowlake mare It’schemistrybaby. Bloom put together the group of partners who own Majestic City. They all have owned horses before. The partners include Sylvia and David Batchelder, who have a home in Del Mar. The others are David’s brother Gene Batchelder and his son, Steven, from Texas; Rob Keen from Encinitas, Mehrzad and Cindy Azari from the Bay Area, Ed Barker
From Washington state, and Andrew Yaffe from Oklahoma. David Batchelder has served on the board of directors of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club since 2008.
“It’s a wonderful group of owners,” said the former jockey. “They are fully embracing the excitement and the thrill this horse has provided in such a short time.”
Majestic City is doing really well,” said Bloom. “He has not missed a beat. He gallops and has a regular work schedule, every six days. (Jockey) David Flores has been working him. David says he has matured. He has started relaxing early, easing into the work and then finishing strongly. He’s developed mentally as well as physically.”
Bloom notes he will be active at upcoming sales, developing and growing Bloom Racing Stable.
Running Majestic City in the Del Mar Futurity means so much to Bloom, who has felt a special affinity for the local track ever since he first watched races there at age 13.
Bloom now makes his home in Oceanside, with wife Susan and two daughters.
Bloom can’t stop talking about Majestic City, who is not as high strung and around the barn as many racehorses: “He’s a sweetheart at the barn even though he’s a stud colt. When my daughters Ashley and Hannah are there, he will put his head on their shoulder.”