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Kelly Spencer's Blog


New fractional owners = new fans

Published: January 18, 2009 1:49 pm ET

Last Comment: January 27, 2009 6:02 pm ET | 12 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Congrats to the winners celebrated at last night’s SBOA Awards in Guelph, ON.

WEG broadcaster and fellow blogger Mike Hamilton received the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award — named after one of the founding fathers of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, and awarded to individuals who go above and beyond to serve the industry.

In his acceptance speech, Hamilton expressed more optimism for racing than most will currently muster. His enthusiasm was piqued, and hopes for the future of the sport renewed by his experience with the SBOA Mentoring Program. Hamilton says (and I agree) that fractional ownership has the potential to make a marked impact on the sport.

Hamilton’s concept is a different take on the SBOA’s fabulous program, which aligns serious first-time owners with a trainer, a mentor, and two ON-sired yearlings for a $5,000 investment. As one of the mentors in the program, he’s clearly been impacted by the excitement exuded by these keeners. He recognizes it as a powerful commodity in the sport’s dire need to attract new blood.

Nightmarish logistics (licensing, registration, banking, etc.) aside for just one moment, imagine the impact of having a few hundred people own one horse. Imagine the shift in attendance on race night, and the change in atmosphere, says Hamilton. Imagine the word-of-mouth cheerleading and promotion.

Now imagine the profound impact such a project would have on a larger scale, with even a handful of these stables set up throughout the province. Fractional ownership to this extreme would allow people to buy in for as little as $100 — an admission price that would make the sport accessible to an entirely different range of people.

What the industry needs is not just more fans or more owners, but truly engaged fans and owners. This concept kills two birds with one smart stone.

January 27, 2009 - 6:02 pmI appreciate the time Mike

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I appreciate the time Mike Hamilton takes to promote this industry. His involvement & enthusiasm doesn't go unnoticed.
I am a standardbred owner who has never owned a horse 100% outright. I have been involved in stables where there are 10+ people & also partnerships of two people. They can work well. If you decide to become involved in a partnership I would suggest that you know your partners very well (or the lawyer who draws up the initial legal contract). Regardless of percentage owned, any partner can force the sale of a horse. If 95% of the owners are happy with the manner in which the horse is being trained, driven, managed etc - the other %5 owner who isn't can make your lives miserable. It is also my preference that the trainer has a vested interest in the horse (% of ownership).
I am curious how trainers are chosen for these new owners???

January 21, 2009 - 8:28 pmAs long as trainers do not

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

As long as trainers do not respect the amount of money that owners spent little will change.
Most trainers bearly let you know when your horses race. PR debacle on a grand scale just fueled by artificially high purses. It is like the big three, no profits and artificially kept alive for many years.
Unless that changes fractional owners will stay in it for the short term.
Its not the big dollar most owners are after but fun and hopefully to break even.
At least the new syndicates take over the communications etc. which is why owners are in the sport.
The know it all are the trainers telling vets to inject this and that and not listening to owners and professional advice.

Fix that problem and I keep the horses
Great idea Mr. Hamilton but root of the problem needs to be fixed first.

January 19, 2009 - 9:28 pmIf you want to buy penny

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

If you want to buy penny stock, buy Nortel shares not race horses. No commitment, no success. No guts, no glory. Fish or cut bait but don't fill the paddock with a bunch of $100.00 know it alls. An idea like this dose nothing but stop good owners from getting involved in the sport.

Clean up the political crap between track management and the horse people and new owners will come back to get involved in the sport once again.

Get rid of the chemists and the cheaters, maybe then a new owner might stick their neck out and buy into a colt or race horse.

You can put lip stick on a pig but guess what? It's still a pig.

January 19, 2009 - 9:20 pmI AGREE WITH GETTING MORE

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I AGREE WITH GETTING MORE FANS and I think this is a great way to get some more new people to the tracks. BUT if I may be so bold.........what if we tried this AND had "special nights" like Loonie nights for hot dogs or programs. OR lets attract the younger crowd with AFFORDABLE drink prices say $ 4.00 beers or something like that. I would LOVE to see WEG have cheap drink nights on Thurs or Fri nights at Mohawk (May/June) just to see if we can attract more people.

MORE PEOPLE MEANS MORE FUN !!!!! MEANS BIGGER HANDLES...........Rather simple don't you think?

January 19, 2009 - 1:44 pmI have been a fraction

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

I have been a fraction ownership owner for over 2 years now, and the experience has been phenominal.

January 19, 2009 - 1:08 pmGives a new meaning to

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Gives a new meaning to "stock market." I like the idea - but how do you get 5000 people to decide whether to race or retire their champion? It would still have to be in. the hands of the "board of directors" - who would still vote for the very lucrative breeding shed. That 'problem' may be solved at the stakes level by limiting some stakes to offspring of horses who raced past their 3 yo year - and/or making some of our big payoffs (like the NA Cup) a four year old stake...

I agree with everyone that owning a small share of a racehorse would be a wonderful introduction to the sport for LOTS of people.... and who cares if the owners aren't big bettors......their friends will probably drop at least $2 to 'support' them - and every one has a friend who is a lot less cautious than that..

January 19, 2009 - 12:35 pmMike Hamilton deserves this

susan (not verified) SAID...

Mike Hamilton deserves this award! As one of the owners in his original group (1 horse only per SBOA program) his personality and knowledge made ownership fun. That combined with a horse that made it to the races, convinced some of us to buy a second horse. The second group is composed of a handful of owners from the original group and some new it does work.
Horse number one is taking a break but horse number two raced at Woodbine Sun. afternoon and although only 4 owners and their respective spouses showed up...we had a loud cheering section of about 20 people! I met quite a few on the way to the betting windows but even if they only buy drinks or snacks its life and action in the grandstand.
If you are a big owner with multiple horses you problably only show up for the big races but when you have 1 or 2 horses every horse and race is important! We talk up ownership and this sport to anyone and everyone we meet.
Opening up fractional ownership to everyone from horse lovers to bettors can only be good for this sport.

Mike has some other great ideas on his blog (see his wish list for Santa)and hopefully someone is listening.

January 19, 2009 - 9:56 amCongratulations to Mike

M Jane Rees (not verified) SAID...

Congratulations to Mike Hamilton - one of the most knowledgeable, wise and decent participants in our sport.

January 19, 2009 - 1:18 amCongrats to Mike Hamilton

SCRAMMY (not verified) SAID...

Congrats to Mike Hamilton receiving the Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award, He is a great person, and great for harness racing...

I was a owner for years in the 70's ,80's ,early 90's..would love to get involved again, and owning a piece of a horse or two would be great....Keep up the good work guys...

January 19, 2009 - 12:29 amImagine if

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Imagine if Somebeachsomewhere was owned by such a syndicate. I think he would still be racing in 2009 and 2010 and the enthusiasm of the fractional owners would encourage others to catch the racing fever. Moreover, the media attention would propel the sport to a new level. With many fractional owners the temptation to sell out would be greatly diminished thus creating owners in it more for the love of sport and not the love of money. How will we ever get another Dan Patch if we send our stars to the breeding way too soon? Let the public buy into future superstars instead of cutting short their racing careers. How many thousands of people would have lined up to buy a small share of Somebeachsomewhere to keep him racing? Think about thousands of people telling their friends and family about their world champion horse's next race. We need a system in place to make this possible in the future. We need something similar to a stock market that facilitates the trading in small shares of great horses.

January 18, 2009 - 7:14 pmGreat idea 1]gets them

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Great idea
1]gets them talking horses
2]gets them to the track
3]gets them to bring their friends and family
4]as there handicapping skills advance they will bet more
5]they all fall in love with the horses
6]the sport grows
7]open the sport up to all classes in life to enjoy
My friend belongs to online harness owner and this is what it has done
for them their family and friends.

January 18, 2009 - 3:14 pmWonderful. Would it put more

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Wonderful. Would it put more money in the handle? If a person is not willing to buy more then a penny portion of a horse as an investment will they bet at all? This is aside from the fact that many owners aren't bettors anyhow - they are there for different reasons than betting the program or board.

I think what some syndicates are doing (for example Trezza partners south of the border or the SBOA program)are a great thing.

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