The perks of being a horse owner at Saratoga Race Course are rewarding. Owners don’t just get paddock privileges and get to take home some winnings, they get to see their hard work pay off.
Michael Behrens wants more racing fans to feel this way.
Behrens, a California resident, is the co-founder of MyRacehorse, a new platform that offers micro-shares to racing fans so they can become horse owners for as little as $100. Racing fans can scope the site for horses they want to invest in, to own a percentage of the horse.
In return, they get many of the perks that a full owner does: race day privileges, visits with the horse, walks in the paddock, winner’s circle access and updates on how their horse is training.
“I just wanted to figure out how to engage the fans like they do in Australia and Japan,” Behrens said.
Behrens spent 15 years involved in ad agencies before getting what he called the “entrepreneurial bug” a couple years back. He realized after watching Jockey Club roundtables and seeing how exciting crowdfunding in sports could be, that offering micro-shares to racing fans had potential.
He teamed up with co-founder David Kandasamy and spent two years going back and forth with attorneys, and focused his efforts on building something that was fan-friendly. With a state permit, he started the business in California with a prototype of MyRacehorse.
Now, that product has matured and expanded and will be available Saturday nationwide.
The concept has been tested before by different people in the horse racing industry, but Behrens said their products never took off because of the undertaking that comes with starting the business. Still, the industry was huge in Japan and Australia, so he figured it would be a hit in the U.S. with the right amount of effort.
“I do believe [MyRacehorse.com] takes that energy that people have to another level,” Behrens said.
That energy, Behrens said, is fan attraction to attending the races. Betting apps and watching the races on TV can make visiting the track seem like a hassle, he said, but he’s ready for his product to “re-energize” the experience with all the perks that owners get to enjoy.
He’s expecting the product to bring new life to the Saratoga Race Course.
“We think that sports are so much more magnified if you have a little stake in the game,” said Behrens, who wants to see his product translate into use for other sports, too.
He looks forward to seeing his platform come to life and hopes it can give racing fans more of an incentive to stay at the track.
“I think this gives individuals the chance to finally reap the benefits of horse ownership,” Behrens said.