Interesting concept springing up in North America … horse racing as a team sport?
US Bloodhorse had this to say about the Horse Racing League on Friday.
The Stronach Group has taken a page out of the NASCAR marketing book by promoting its own six-team horse racing league for fans to follow and hopefully become more engaged with the sport.
Launched earlier this year, the Horse Racing League’s six teams are separate corporations that each own and will race 20 horses purchased as yearlings. Each corporation has been named after prominent homebreds raced by Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm – Awesome Again, Ghostzapper, Ginger Punch, Macho Uno, Perfect Sting and Red Bullet.
“It is tough to brand our horses because most of them retire young,” said Jack Brothers, president and chief executive officer for the Horse Racing League. “We wanted to create a way to attract new fans, get them following the league standings and then have more of a rooting interest when they go to the races.
“I’m a Rangers fan,” he continued, referring to New York’s more popular NHL team. “In two years, they may have only two players who are on the team now, but I’m still a Rangers fan.”
Stronach, who is also chairman of the Stronach Group, introduced the league concept earlier in the year as an affordable way for racing fans to become racehorse owners. The initial concept was for each of the six companies to offer 405,000 shares of common stock that would be sold at $10 per share. In July, the publicly traded aspect was scrapped due to poor “market conditions” and because a number of Securities and Exchange Commission regulations made the public offering difficult to complete, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Today the corporate teams are structured as limited partnerships.
“Regardless of how the ownership shook out, it was always part of the plan to make the league accessible for people to follow,” Brothers said.
The league is doing that through its website horseracingleague.com, which will include a leaderboard as the members of each team start competing. As of Sept. 6, none of the league horses had made their first starts but several are close, according to Brothers. The website also offers team-branded merchandise.
“We hope down the road that other owners will create their own teams and put them in the league to compete,” Brothers said. “It is a successful model that worked with NASCAR.”
The limited partnerships will continue to follow the management plan outlined in the SEC filings submitted for each corporation. The horses will be raced until next November at which time they all will be sold as 3-year-olds at public auction. Each team will then restock with a new crop of racing prospects.
“This was not created to do one time,” Brothers said. “The goal was the creation of the league. The fans of those teams will then have new horses to track.”
Frank Stonarch (above right) is a billionaire businessman who has won multiple Eclipse awards as North America’s leading breeder and owner. His runners have included Horse of the Year, Ghostzapper (below).