Horse racing is often associated with the ultra rich when it comes to the horse owners and the costs related to the horses themselves. Yet, there are many great stories involving innovation and entrepreneurship in horse racing, as not everyone associated with the sport is wealthy or comes onto to the track with a fat wallet.
As millions of sports fans watch and wager on the Belmont Stakes this weekend, horse racing will be the focus of the sporting world on Saturday. Here are several inspiring stories of entrepreneurship in horse racing as well as one way that students can study the industry in depth.
The Pursuit of a Triple Crown Champion
If you’ve found that you have the entrepreneurial drive in one area of your life, you can often successfully shift your focus to other endeavors. This has proven true for Mike Repole, a successful food and beverage entrepreneur who is now making waves in the horse racing industry. Reople co-founded vitaminwater in 1999, is a co-founder of BODYARMOR, and is chairman of the board of Pirate’s Booty.
Repole has loved horse racing since he was a teen and became involved in the business while at vitaminwater. By 2016, Repole’s stables were ranking in the top ten each year and his horse, “Outwork,” was a contender in the Kentucky Derby.
Horse Racing Hobby Into a Million Dollar Business
We’ve all heard of people who have turned hobbies or pastimes into million dollar enterprises. Terry Finley was able to this through his love of horse racing. This life insurance salesman was a longtime horse racing fan and purchased his first horse named “Sunbelt” for $5,000 in 1991. Sunbelt not only won his first race but also attracted an investor that allowed Finley to purchase yet another horse.
Finley soon founded his company called “West Point Thoroughbreds,” which specializes in horse syndication management. Today, he owns 55 horses and has 550 investors who share in profits when one of the syndicate’s horses wins a race, is sold, or gets a fee for breeding. The company’s revenue grew from $2 million in 2005 to $6.5 million just four years later.
Youth Entrepreneurs in Horse Racing
History tells us that you don’t have to be an adult to come up with a winning idea. Two teens Dublin have proven this to be the case once again with a successful horse feed startup targeted for racehorses. Sisters, 13-year old Annie, and 14-year-old Kate Madden invented a feed made from fenugreek herbs and spices that is more appetizing for a race horse.
The sisters were able to prove that adding fenugreek to feed makes a horse’s meal taste better, which is helpful if a race horse decides to stop eating for any reason. They named their company FenuHealth and have sold more than 7,000 units of the product to trainers across Europe, China, and the Middle East.
Horse Racing MBA Program
If you want to study horse racing to launch a career in the industry, the University of Liverpool now offers a Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA. This first of its kind program began in the fall of 2015 as an effort to shape future leaders in the horse racing industry. Courses are offered to new students as well as those already working in the horse racing industry.
Students in the Horseracing MBA program learn the fundamentals of leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, management, and finances in the racing industry. They also get exposure sponsorship, marketing, bloodstock management, and health issues. The program is 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time. There is also on-site education at training facilities and racetracks.
For many, horse racing is a hobby, and turning that hobby into a career is just a pipe dream. With the right entrepreneurial spirit, however, horse racing can quickly become a career with lucrative returns.