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Welcome to the Fantasy Thoroughbred Racing Association

The Fantasy Thoroughbred Racing Association is a realistically-based fantasy sport where members breed, own, train and race their own horses. If your interest in horse racing goes beyond the occasional two dollar bet and once a year viewing of the Kentucky Derby, the FTRA could be just what you’re looking for. Our hobby emulates real racing, like fantasy baseball or fantasy football, but with one crucial difference: In the FTRA, we create our own athletes.

This is not a gambling hobby, nor is it a computer simulation. The closest the FTRA comes to a computer game is probably THE SIMS, where players create their own characters and then guide them as they develop their own personalities. The FTRA is different from other fantasy sports because we don’t use already existing racehorses. You are not dependent upon what an All-Star third baseman does in a Sunday day game. Your horse, your creation, exists on its own. Back in the Dark Ages, when members had to communicate through the US Mail, each horse was represented by an actual paper index card. All of his information, from pedigree to race record, was included.

But how, you’re probably asking, do we race paper horses? While each FTRA track is different (just like tracks are in real life), the manner in which the races are run is similar. Points are assigned based on pedigree and race record and then the steward introduces randomness in the form of dice rolls. If you’ve ever played dice-based games, you know how awesome and frustrating this can be. It’s that randomness that gives the FTRA a huge dose of realism. When you strive that hard for realism the cards begin developing their own personalities. Horses you thought were sprinters are suddenly running long on the grass. Cards develop heart. They’re quirky. Just as you fall in love with the real racehorses you follow, you can fall in love with your cards. It’s you, the member, who brings that horse to life. With regards to pedigrees, our hobby aims to be as realistic as racing is in the real world. We follow all real-world rules: a mare can only have one foal a year; you can’t breed Man O War to Zenyatta; and just as breeders in the real world take great care with who they breed to whom, so do we. If you adore this level of realism, detail and the idea of immersing yourself in a world that you help create, then the FTRA could be just what you’re looking for.

If you decide to get involved, the membership will start you out with a few horses. As we’ve all discovered, starting small as you learn the hobby makes things much more fun. Although you can spend money in the hobby it is not expensive, and you can have a blast for very little money. Every member has a story of a champion they bred themselves or bought at our annual yearling auction for a nickel. And members are very generous about giving horses away, too, which is another reason for starting small. You will be too tempted by the horses others will offer you.

As far as FTRA fees, it’s $25 for the first year and then $20 every year after that. This includes the bi-monthly newsletter and complete access to the website, including our new forum. All of the information of our hobby – from race results to members’ sire and dam listings – will be available. Dues are used to fund the website’s maintenance and development, and we may also donate to Thoroughbred charities. Nobody gets a paycheck in the hobby! This is strictly not-for-profit. We’re very transparent about where our money goes and each newsletter has an accounting summary.

With the rise of the Internet as a premium tool of innovation and interactivity, we’ve decided to open our doors to new members for the first time in years. Our goal with this welcome is to give you a taste of the FTRA. We’ve included additional links and a Contact page for more information. We hope you’ll explore our hobby!