Anthony MacDonald will be the first to tell you that he doesn’t have a horse in this race. He does, however, have a website.
MacDonald describes thestable.ca as “a perfect marketplace” for buyers and sellers to co-exist and thrive.
“I want owners to get their horses sold and I want buyers to make good purchases because I want return customers,” said MacDonald, a Canadian-based trainer-driver who has become well known in that country not only for his horsemanship skills, but also for his industry advocacy and innovative ideas.
The idea behind thestable.ca is to allow consignors to obtain fair market value for their horses, by offering the opportunity for fractional ownership and by providing a wealth of information on the horses during the breaking and training down process that can showcase their talent and potentially increase their value.
MacDonald is taking his message to the masses next week at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pa., in the hope that people will be intrigued enough by the concept to send him some yearlings to thestable.ca. He said he’s looking to create a “stock market for horses.”
The site works like this: Consignors list their horses on the site, then send the yearlings to the MacDonalds, who are based in Ontario, approximately 10 minutes from Mohawk Racetrack, to break and train down for a flat-rate monthly training fee of $2,000 (approximately $1,500 in U.S. dollars). The training bill is also divided fractionally among the part-owners of the horse.
During this process, each horse will be showcased through weekly videos, pedigrees and commentaries from the trainer, vets and blacksmiths. The videos offer a 360-degree view of the horses training, thanks to images captured by MacDonald’s brother, Curtis, using two drone cameras.
The available horses are listed on thestable.ca for an asking price set by the majority owner. From that jumping off point, fractional ownership is then available from one percent all the way up to buying the entire horse.
There is no cost for listing and MacDonald takes no cut of sales, with the only money he derives from the site coming from training the young horses. Moreover, thestable.ca is not in the business of racing horses. As such, once the horse is ready to race, they can be moved to the trainer of the ownership’s choosing at any time.
“Everyone can buy whatever pieces of the horse they want, everybody can sell whatever pieces of the horse they want,” said MacDonald. “The horses can be moved. There are no strings attached and nothing cementing you or the horse to thestable.ca.”
The website for thestable.ca features profiles, notes and videos on the horses while they are training down.
The site, which launched last month, currently lists 11 horses and recently sold its first horse, a Deweycheatumnhowe colt, for $30,000.
“When you go to a sale you really don’t know what that individual is like…well, on this site, you get to watch the horse be broke, to jog, you get to see him up close and hear from the vet and the blacksmith and trainer all before you have to write a check,” he said. “Where else can you get a more informed potential investment than that?”
As for the prospective sellers, MacDonald has been speaking to consignors about how fractional ownership can work for them.
“I was at the sale last week and spoke to a consignor. I said, ‘Look around at all these people, how many can write a check today for $30,000 or $50,000?’
“He said, ‘Not many.’
“But how many can write a check for $5,000? Probably most of them.
“Then I said, ‘How many of them do you think would come up to you at the sale and ask you if you’d be willing to sell 15 percent of your horse?’ He said, ‘No one.’ That’s exactly why this site is important. That’s exactly what it does.”