Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tom Bozarth may be best known as mayor, but he makes his living as a Thoroughbred bloodstock agent

By Erin Grigson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Most citizens of Midway know Tom Bozarth as the mayor who can often be seen strolling down Main Street, keeping in touch with citizens and businesses, and presiding over city council meetings, sometimes uncomfortably when controversies arise.

But some may not know that the mayor’s salary is only $100 a month, and that Bozarth has another job, one in which he can approach heads of state on the spur of the moment, and one in which personal relations and trust are essential.

Bozarth is as a bloodstock agent, helping clients make purchasing, breeding and management decisions about Thoroughbreds.

In a place like the Bluegrass where horses and racing are a way of life, many people find ways to make a living that have horses at the center of it all. Bozarth said he has been a horse lover for 44 years and has always found ways to work with them.

He compared being a bloodstock agent to being a real-estate broker: “You’re going to buy a house, you get a Realtor; you’re going to get a horse, you get a bloodstock agent,” who makes sure the horse you’re buying is sound.

Bozarth’s agency, Arch Bloodstock, focuses mostly on matings and breedings, but does some work in racing stock. One horse he managed, Capo Bastogne, won the King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga, N.Y., a Grade I race, the highest level of Thoroughbred stakes.

The Thoroughbred business is often based on personal relationships and confidentiality. Bozarth provided names of clients who could be interviewed about his agency, but they could not be reached for comment.

Charles Nuckols of Nuckols Farm, who has known Bozarth for many years and is familiar with his work in the horse industry, said, “I know people that have done business with him, and they say he does a good job.”

Nuckols suggested that Bozarth’s unassuming personality is an asset for him. “He’s been pretty successful even though he likes to keep it low key,” Nuckols said. “He steps up to the plate when he needs to, and now that he won’t be the mayor soon, he will be able to spend more time working with his business.”

As in most other jobs, Bozarth had to get experience and work his way up to being an agent.

Bozarth said he worked at Dearborn Farm, now known as the Vinery, for 13 years and “worked my way up the ladder.” He managed Parrish Hill Farm on the edge of Midway, which had the 1999 Derby winner, Charismatic. Later, he went back to the Vinery and managed the stallions there.

Now, after 12 years of working for himself, Bozarth says he still enjoys what he does.

“You get to meet a lot of nice people,” he said. “It’s a very good business. This is the only business in the world, I think, where you can go up to a head of state or Fortune 500 CEO and talk to them without an appointment. It’s been good to me … It’s just a pleasure and honor to be able to be around some of the people.”

Bozarth said he travels “a fair amount,” in his work as an agent, going to Indiana twice a month. He said he also goes to Oklahoma and Florida to look at horses, visit clients and help them get good horses.

“You want to try to get the best you can,” he said. To do that, you might have to give up something.

“Sometimes you have to discount something to get it in the price range you want,” he said. “You can’t have all of the ingredients. You want to have something that’s perfect for the price range and you have to give something up. You have to give up confirmation or the pedigree. It’s the same thing with a house. You have to give up location or size.”

Echoing the Rolling Stones, Bozarth said, “You can’t always get what you want… but you get what you need.”

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