When the 3-year-old filly Bialy breaks from the starting gate in the seventh race Feb. 14 at Gulfstream Park, she will be the first runner to carry the silver and teal colors of the Fasig-Tipton Racing Club. The goal of the club, according to its manager, Katy Moore, is “to introduce people who have not been involved in racing to the sport in a low risk, fun, safe environment.”
After Dubai-based Synergy Investments purchased Fasig-Tipton in 2008, company officials announced that one of their missions would be to bring new participants into the Thoroughbred industry. The racing club is the first initiative in that effort.
The club has 26 members, about 80% of whom are from the Lexington and Louisville areas, according to Dan Pride, Fasig-Tipton’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Fasig-Tipton executives declined to reveal how much each person paid to join, but sources indicated it was less than $10,000 apiece. Moore said the money is used to pay for the training costs for the club’s four horses, which have been leased for a year from Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, and Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm.
At the end of 2010, the horses will be returned to their original owners, and Fasig-Tipton officials hope that the racing club members will have enjoyed their experience enough to want to continue or expand their involvement in the Thoroughbred industry.
“We want to keep them engaged in racing however they decide they want to do that, whether they go into partnership or buy their own horses,” Moore said.
Bialy, a 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor , has finished second in one career race. When she or other racing club horses run, Fasig-Tipton representatives will take care of any club members who show up to watch.
“From the moment they get to the track, we’ll be there to hold their hands, take them to the paddock to see the horse and the trainer, and then, hopefully, to take them to the winner’s circle,” Moore said. ‘We’ll organize the tickets and we’ll try to put all of them (the club members) in an area together.”
In addition to watching their horses run, club members will be invited by Fasig-Tipton to attend a number of special educational and social events throughout the year, many of them which will be held in conjunction with the company’s auctions, including the March 2 select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course in Florida.
“We have about 20 of our members coming to the Calder sale,” Moore said. “We’ll take them to the breeze show (Feb. 26), and we’ll have one of our Fasig-Tipton experts talk about what goes into a breeze and explain everything that goes on at a 2-year-old sale. That afternoon, we’ll have a cocktail party for them where they can meet and get acquainted with consignors, trainers, and other people in the industry. On Saturday morning (Feb. 27), we’ll go to Palm Meadows to see the club’s horses train, and we’ll go to the barns and meet their trainers and the horses. Then they (club members) will be invited to a day at the races at Gulfstream Park for the Fasig-Tipton Filly Festival.”
The racing club is a limited liability company, according to Moore. Fasig-Tipton's staff recruited its members through friends and colleagues, and the group includes a few doctors, a stockbroker, and an interior decorator.
“All of them, in one way or another, had a passion or an interest in racing, whether it was going to Keeneland once a year or having friends that owned racehorses,” Moore said.
The club is the first of many that Fasig-Tipton plans to offer.