Steve Zorn is the founder of Castle Village Farm and manages all its racing partnerships. He is now known throughout the industry as an expert at buying young horses that will out-perform their purchase prices, and also at claiming horses that can then be raced at higher levels. He buys frugally, with an eye towards horses that will have long and successful careers.
A number of Castle Village Farm horses, including Flippy Diane, Introspect, Angel Dancer, Raf and Ready, Seaside Salute, Fighting Speedy, Southern Missile and Diligent Gambler, have earned far more than they cost. Many of our horses are New York-breds, so they can compete in restricted races, which gives them a better chance of being in the money. Also, when New York-breds do compete against open-company horses, they qualify for lucrative New York bonuses.
Together with Castle Village Farm’s trainers, Steve is responsible for making the tough decisions about when and where to race our horses. He is often at the barns, and he consults with the trainers daily, sometimes, depending on what is going on, several times in a day.
Steve has been following racing since he was in high school. He is a tax and trusts-and-estates lawyer who has also been a technical adviser at the United Nations, and a law professor. More important, for our purposes, he has participated in a variety of racing partnerships, including the first-ever partnerships established via the internet. He’s also a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and of the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST), which provides health-care services for backstretch workers at NYRA tracks. You can follow Steve on Twitter at @cvfpartnerships.
Joe Wall is the sales director for Castle Village Farm. Joe is a longtime racing enthusiast and avid handicapper. He’s also a former jockey agent and an accomplished golfer who once considered going on the pro tour.
Joe is in his fourth year as part of the Castle Village Farm team. He lives on Long Island, just a short ride from Belmont and a slightly longer ride from Aqueduct. Joe and Steve host CVF partners on the Belmont backstretch every Sunday morning, so our partners can visit their horses in Bruce Brown’s barn, get a chance to chat with Bruce, and watch the morning workouts on the training track. Joe and Steve are also at the track whenever we race, making sure that all our partners have paddock passes and box seats whenever we race. Although Joe’s title is Director of Sales, he doesn’t believe that his job stops once you’ve bought a share in one of our horses. So, if you have questions about anything related to your ownership in Castle Village Farm, from licensing to the latest news from the barn, Joe’s the person to go to.
Jean Zorn runs all the business aspects of Castle Village Farm, making sure the trainers, vets and others who care for our horses are paid, keeping up the partners’ accounts, sending out checks when we win, and otherwise keeping chaos at bay. Jean also handles issues relating to getting our partners their thoroughbred owners’ licenses, parking stickers and track credentials.
Jean is a retired law professor, former Wall Street lawyer and a not-so-retired legal anthropologist who has worked in, among other places, Papua New Guinea (where, alas, they have only one day of racing per year).
Patti Miller is one of the country’s top advisers on the purchase of yearlings and two-year-olds at auction. Her partner, Jeff Seder, has spent many years developing highly sophisticated scientific methods for evaluating horses’ performance and potential. Together, they run EQB, Inc., which has acted as agent or adviser for some of the most prominent owners in the business, including Ahmed Zayat, Klaravich Stables and George Strawbridge, and which advised on the purchase of two 2008-2009 Breeders Cup repeat winners, Informed Decision and Forever Together, and nine 2009 Grade 1 stakes winners. We’ve been fortunate enough to get EQB’s advice on some of our purchases, including our turf sprint winner Bagavond.
Woodberry Payne, whose training center is located on the grounds of President James Madison’s Montpelier estate in Virginia, is a well-known figure in mid-Atlantic steeplechase and flat racing circles, with family ties in racing going back for generations. Woodberry has been involved with Castle Village Farm from the beginning, and he selected and provided the basic training for two of our best horses, Introspect and Just Zip It, as well as our newest winner, Underthemoonlight.