The Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA) was part of an all-breed meeting last week at Horseshoe Indianapolis regarding a presentation on seeking out new owners. Horseshoe Marketing (not affiliated with Horseshoe Indianapolis) represented by Joe Scurto provided information on different levels of ownership through fractional, club and paired opportunities for potential new investors in the state of Indiana. The presentation was to all three breeds plus the Indiana Breed Development program and the two racetracks.
Representing the ISA was President John DeLong, Vice President Robert Taylor and Executive Director Tony Renz. They listened to the presentation titled “Engagement Project” by Scurto, a former Standardbred owner from the Chicagoland area. Scurto explained several different levels of participation based on financial investments. He noted the program has been a big success in Minnesota where the age range in the programs spans 21 – 81 years of age.
Scurto feels the program could be very successful with all three breeds in the Hoosier State. He pointed out the strong racing calendar, competitive purse levels, growing breeding program and effective marketing channels as indicators pointing to the positive for the program. He also noted with the Breeders Crown coming into the state, the level of awareness and interest would be high this season in getting involved in horse ownership.
Scurto provided a three-phase system which begins with reaching out to high-interest individuals, giving them a “taste” of what it would be like to invest, and educating them on the long-term investments and financial expectations associated with racing. Scurto said those interested in just a one-time fee would be considered part of a “racing club” which is similar to the current First Turn Stable offered at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Other opportunities include higher levels of investment with bringing similar individuals and their expectations and financial commitments to trainers meeting the criteria for the groups. Finally, the highest level of investment would be in smaller groups, also paired with trainers who expressed interest in getting involved with the program that would meet the needs of the assembled groups by Scurto’s organization. Scurto’s organization handles all of the preliminary processes for interested individuals as well as the constant monitoring of each group that comes together for horse ownership.
Scurto also explained accounting and financial advice would be provided to those who get involved, whether they come in on the ground level as a club owner seeking to just watch a horse race and be part of the action at a minimal cost to those who share the monthly cost of owning a racehorse with others and seeking a more hands on approach with more access to trainers, the horse, etc. He said once the program begins, trainers would be asked to step forward to get their interest in the partnerships and what types of groups would be most appropriate for their operations. Scurto noted trainers interested in being involved would be required to spend additional time with the new ownership groups to help educate them on the horse racing industry.
Scurto has had success with both Thoroughbred and Standardbred groups in the past. He did note a program for Quarter Horses in Indiana would be a first for his organization. The Indiana Breed Development and both racetracks will review further information with potential investments into the startup and foundation of the programs for all three breeds.
More information on the programs will be available at a later date. Also, more information will be available to interested owners wishing to get involved in Indiana horse racing.