Jody Horan, a Dr. Phillips resident, describes owning a racehorse as being “[admitted] into a fraternity unlike any other.” The owner of Thoroughbred Handlers, he provides an opportunity for anyone, no matter their budget, to take part in a unique type of investment with his modern horse ownership program.
Horan, who previously studied equine management at Cornell University, has been in the racehorse business since 1977 when he bought a Kentucky Thoroughbred named Master Reason. He then founded Thoroughbred Handlers in the early 1980s. Since then, his family owned business has brought in earnings exceeding $1 million.
He is quick to note that investing in a racehorse is not gambling. Rather than placing bets at a track, investors purchase a share of a horse that Horan handpicks himself. This allows them to take part in the horse’s training with the help of Horan’s expertise and reserves them a spot in the winner’s circle.
Even if the horse doesn’t win every race, new rules in horse racing allow every participating horse to win a percentage of the purse. So no matter where the horse finishes, the investors still get a fraction of the prize.
While the racing career of a horse may only be around three years, the breeding opportunities could also bring in profit for investors. When a horse is no longer able to race, their offspring are sold and, depending on their bloodlines, can bring in decent revenue for the investors.
Not having access to resources like land, facilities and maintenance costs shouldn’t discourage someone from partaking in the process of owning a champion racehorse, according to Horan. Thoroughbred Handlers bridges the gap to make ownership a reality.
“Owning a racehorse is not like a car or a boat,” he says. “It’s a live, majestic, 1,200-pound athlete genetically designed to run a hole in the wind.”
The appeal of these investments is that almost anyone can be part of a winning team, from everyday people to celebrities. Horan has even had Martin Sheen as one of his shareholders.
“We may have celebrities, but most of our people are average folks,” Horan says. “It’s called ‘the sport of kings’ for a reason, but because the shares are affordable enough, almost anyone can own a share of a racehorse.”
One of the appeals of racehorse ownership is that shareholders can visit the stables and are given licensed owner status. This means they are allowed free entry into the racetrack and a place in the winner’s circle at the end of a race.
“I don’t mind sharing the winner’s circle,” Horan says. “It turned out to be more fun having partners.”
For Horan, Thoroughbred Handlers is more than just a way to make money. He is dedicated to studying ways to improve his care and handling of Thoroughbred horses and has made it his lifestyle.