Rick Porter, whose Hard Spun won the Aug. 25 King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I), is launching a new partnership venture named Turf Club USA. Porter, who races as Fox Hill Farm, has also campaigned grade I winners Jostle and Round Pond.
"It gives people that love horses, and would love to be a small owner of a horse, a way to be part owner of a horse, follow it, and hopefully get a good one," Porter said.
Turf Club USA will offer memberships for racing prospects and broodmares for as low as $1,500 each. The membership will be on the basis of 200 shares for each yearling and each broodmare with the stable keeping 10 shares.
The goal of the stable is to bring ownership opportunities to racing fans at an affordable level.
"We are in the infancy stages of it," Porter said. "This is not a real big money maker; the purpose of it is not to be a Dogwood or a West Point or a Team Valor. If it gets off the ground and we get a couple horses that are fully funded, there would be a small profit in most cases for Turf Club USA. It is done really as a something we could have fun with, and the people who can't afford to own a racehorse could have fun with. "
The cost of membership will include all expenses during the career of the horse while with the stable. Members would earn a pro-rata share of purse winnings and sale proceeds. Memberships for yearlings and for in-foal broodmares will range from $1,500 to $5,000. Those who purchase an interest in in-foal mares would share sale proceeds in the mares and their resulting foals.
The concept was formulated while Porter was working with his Web site, rockportharbor.com. The Web site has charted Fox Hill horses since Rockport Harbor, a top 2-year-old of 2004, surfaced. Rockport Harbor won the Nashua and Remsen Stakes (both gr. II).
"We started the Web site for Rockport Harbor, and it was very popular," Porter said. "We had a lot of people that really had an interest in listening to the 'behind-the-scenes' things that are happening with the racehorse and the stable.The next step was to go and talk to some other owners, and we were going to try and get other owners to do what I was doing, especially ones of high profile stables. But, we had trouble with that.
"Next, Victoria Keith, my assistant who works for me in Lexington, told me about these racing clubs in England. It is basically the way we have Turf Club USA set up when it comes to the racehorses. She did all the legwork on it, and I thought it was a great idea."
The stable will begin to stock racing prospects at the Keeneland September yearling sale.