“My wife (Amy) and I have been wanting to do something like this for quite a while,” MacDonald said Thursday afternoon. “It’s not just meant for people in horse racing, it’s meant for people outside of horse racing also.”
The Stable puts a new twist on the concept of fractional ownership that makes the process easier for new owners to understand and emphasizes total transparency. MacDonald’s website lists yearlings that are available for sale and frequent video updates are provided for each horse so owners can keep track of their horse’s progress.
“I don’t think we could be any more transparent unless you were sitting in the barn every day watching the horses go.” MacDonald said. “You don’t have to worry about the trainer saying, ‘oh, he trained this fast today,’ or ‘he trained well.’ I don’t have to tell you how well horse trained; you can take a look for yourself.
“The vet that we use here is very approachable and easy to talk to,” he continued. “If you want to know what’s going on with your horse, feel free to go right to the source. He’s doing work on your horse, so he’s accountable to you just like I am.”
Building upon The Stable’s transparent and easy-to-participate concept, MacDonald makes the billing process as simple as possible as well, charging a $2,000 (Canadian) per month flat rate.
“It’s an easy way to get involved with no strings attached,” MacDonald explained. “You know exactly how much the horse costs, you know exactly how much the bills are going to be every single month, and the most important thing about the site is it makes you the most informed investor in the industry. You don’t have to write a check before you can watch the horse jog, be broke, or start training.”
To attract as many new owners to the sport as possible, MacDonald emphasizes that participation in The Stable is free to everyone, with no membership charges or hidden fees. Anyone can get involved in horse ownership for as little as a one percent share, making ownership financially viable for the masses. However, unlike traditional racing partnerships, an owner isn’t stuck with a horse after they buy it.
“Prices fluctuate,” MacDonald explained. “There will be dividends for people who end up making money on their horses, so we do have a couple of speculators, myself being one of them. I bought horses that I thought were underpriced at the sale and as the horses trained down, hopefully they’re training good and the prices go up. That in and of itself gives people the opportunity to make money.
“It’s almost like a yearling stock market,” he continued. “You can buy in or buy out whenever you want. You can buy a piece of a horse at noon and sell it at one o’clock if you want. It will be very fluid where you can move about within The Stable as you want. If horses are training well, you can hang onto them.”
Although MacDonald doesn’t plan on racing horses with The Stable – he simply offers the service of training down yearlings – he isn’t opposed to racing The Stable’s horses in the future or sending them off to different trainers when the time to race comes.
“If you want us to race your horses in Ontario, so be it; we can do that, but that’s another conversation to have down the road,” he explained. “If you want to send your horse to Tony Alagna or Ron Burke, we’re happy at any time. There’s no strings attached. Just send the truck and tell me when it’s coming.”
In addition to the goal of attracting new owners to the harness racing industry, MacDonald hopes breeders will see The Stable as a viable alternative to yearling sales and auctions where horses often sell for less than what they are worth.
“I simply say to people, ‘Why are you selling your product for less than what you know it’s worth?’ If your horse is worth $25,000 and you’re about to watch the hammer drop on him for $15,000, it would probably be in your best interest to retain that horse,” MacDonald explained.
“All these things go through your mind,” he continued. ” ‘Who am I going to give it to? Where am I going to train it down? How am I going to get my money out of this horse?’ That’s where we come in. We’ll be happy to break and train down your horse. There shouldn’t be any shortage of owners and investors that want to buy these horses.
“Heading into the fall, consigners should know that there’s an absolutely viable way to get your money out. You shouldn’t undersell your horses; there’s no reason to undersell your product and we’re a good reason why.”
Although The Stable currently has eight horses available for sale, MacDonald is heading to Harrisburg this week and plans to make his presence felt. He will be available to answer questions about The Stable and plans to pick up new offerings.
“I’m going to be there and have the videos and the site set up and some literature,” he said. “I’m also going to be there looking for horses for clients and I could come away with 15 horses. There’s no problem with getting as many horses as we want and that’s really my goal. I’m going to push really hard to accumulate as many horses as we can. We’re going to push real hard at Harrisburg.”
Although MacDonald says he is simply offering a service, he is hopeful that the concept will grow as more investors and breeders become aware of the opportunities The Stable offers.
“I’m not trying to sell anybody magic beans. All I’m offering is a service,” he said. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for anybody on any budget to get involved in horse racing. Really that’s what it’s about. It doesn’t matter if you only own one percent of a horse; on race night, that’s your horse. The whole point is to get people enthusiastic about owning horses again.”