“Own a little. Love it a lot.”, that is the way to go according to Anthony and Amy MacDonald, cofounders of Stable.ca in Guelph, Ontario. They candidly admit they are not the first “fractional stable” around, but they are certainly one of the most successful. Since 2015 they have attracted some 800 lovers of harness racing who bought into the idea of co-owning a horse through micro-shares.
A 1% share of any horse of the MacDonald’s stable can be worth anything between little over 100 Canadian dollars to nearly 900, depening on the horse. Does ownership offer more thrill than the best online horse betting websites , when it comes to racing? As Anthony says, “You might make money, but if that’s your primary motivation, we’re not for you“. It is all about loving horses, specifically harness racing horses, and wanting to be part of the whole story, “feel the journey deep in your bones, fast in your heart, and boldly in your imagination“. With more than 130 horses, Thestable.ca is the largess harness racing stable in Canada. Anthony has driven more than 24,000 racehorses in 20 years. A fractioned ownership account with them offers the possibility to be involved in the life and career of the chosen horse in many ways.
A much more business-like approach is promoted by MyRaceHorse, the California venture that made the headlines in the summer of 2019 when it launched its specialized app that lets you buy thoroughbred shares from your mobile. The app is now available in 43 states, including New York and Kentucky. Microshares can be as micro as 0.01 percent, as was the case with the most valuable horse on offer, that sold out in six days only to 500 investors. The thoroughbred had been purchased as a baby for a tall $750,000, so the company decided to go for increments of 0.01 instead of the usual 0.1 percent.
Spending 95 dollars to co-own a racehorse worth three quarters of a million sounds really impressive, but are there real advantages? Founder and CEO Mike Behrens, a former top-level exec at Casper, is convinced there are: “Our goal was to let anybody who ever wanted to compete at the highest level to have a chance”. Microshares are real equity, they give their owners the right to share in race winnings, awards or other proceeds. MyRaceHorse deducts maintenance and training costs from its own percentage of the purse, the remainder is shared among microequity owners on the basis of their ownership stake. They also have a right to profit from the eventual sale of a horse, that is even more valuable when it is used for breeding.
Sounds too good to be true? The company is honest: “There’s no guarantee that the horse will turn out to be profitable and in many cases horses are not profitable“, they warn potential investors. “Horses are living, breathing, fragile animals and no guarantees can ever be made about the outcome of an investment in a racehorse. Most investments lose money, some break even, a few are profitable, and a select few are extremely profitable. We are here to provide a marketplace to make investing safe, secure and fun, but we are not removing the risk from racehorse ownership”.