In August of last year, Fasig-Tipton officials announced the sale company would form a racing club designed to be the initial recruiting effort in a plan to bring new participants into to the Thoroughbred industry. Recruiting new owners was mentioned as a priority when Dubai-based Synergy Investments purchased Fasig-Tipton in 2008.
The Fasig-Tipton Racing Club has moved quickly from concept to reality, and you can find out more about it on Facebook (there were 1,135 fans as of Feb. 3), Twitter, and the club's Web site (http://www.fasigtiptonracingclub.com/).
The club is leasing and managing proven horses from established owners in an effort to educate new Thoroughbred industry participants and introduce them to the ownership experience. Based on Web site information, there are four horses, and they come from the stables of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, and Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm.
Bialy, a 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor, has finished second in one career race. Ea, a 6-year-old Dynaformer gelding, has won three times, and he finished second last year in the William Donald Schaefer Stakes (gr. III) and Charles Town Classic Stakes. Majestic Blue, a 4-year-old Forestry colt, has captured one of three career races. And Mesa Fresca, a 3-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa, failed to place in her only career race last November.
According to the racing club's Web site, each horse is being leased for one year and will be returned to its original owner afterward. As of Feb. 3, none had raced yet in Fasig-Tipton colors.
The racing club concept is an interesting one, and initiatives like this are especially needed now, when the Thoroughbred industry is struggling. I like the idea because it allows interested people to learn something about the Thoroughbred business before they tackle it on their own. To a newcomer, the processes of buying and racing horses are intimidating and complicated, and over the years, many owner prospects have been lost because of discouraging early experiences.
If you want to be cynical, you can say that Fasig-Tipton is just trying to attract new customers. But after the racing club members learn about the sport, there is nothing to keep them from buying horses elsewhere, so a variety of people could benefit in the long run.
Do you have any other ideas about what can be done to attract new Thoroughbred owners? Post them here.