You Want To Own A Racehorse? Churchill
Racing Club With $500 Buy-In
Just in time for the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is offering the chance to become involved in Thoroughbred ownership, ordinarily a pricey endeavor, for the low, low price of $500.
Churchill announced last week the creation of the , a partnership in which 200 people would become members—not owners—for a one-time fee of $500. The club itself, registered as a 501(c)7 Not for Profit Social Club, will own the horse.
According to Mike Ziegler, the executive director of racing for Churchill Downs Incorporated, the idea was so popular that the 200 spaces allotted for the membership had sold out in less than two days.
Conceived as a way to increase the number of people owning Thoroughbreds, particularly in the Louisville area, the Churchill Downs concept takes as its model successful programs at smaller racetracks like Emerald Downs in Washington; Canterbury Park in Minnesota; and Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
The $100,000 in membership fees for each individual club will be used to purchase a horse, selected and trained by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who was, said Ziegler, “all in” when approached to be a part of the program.
Members of the club will not strictly be considered owners of the horse, but nor will they be responsible for training and the other fees that accompany Thoroughbred ownership. They will be charged nothing beyond the $500 membership fee.
For that, they will receive regular updates on the horse, free admission for two people to Churchill throughout 2016, an owners’ parking pass, and invitations to Churchill Downs Racing Club events. They will also be able to visit the track in the morning to see the horse train.
To cultivate club members as potential long-term owners, Churchill will offer seminars at which trainers and already-established ownership partnerships will talk to members about owning Thoroughbreds, on their own or with invested partners.