Ontario Racing Feature on Park Stud Broodmare Investment Fund
Meticulously designed to create interest and deliver new opportunities in the Ontario thoroughbred industry, the innovative Park Stud Broodmare Investment Fund is looking to be a horse racing game-changer.
Canada’s premier commercial thoroughbred stallion farm, Park Stud, based in Orangeville, ON, recently announced that for the first time in its distinguished 35-year history it will offer investment partnerships through the fund launched in early December.
“We analyzed our businesses and found that our short-term broodmare investments were yielding consistently high returns and regular home runs,” said Michael Byrne, Park Stud’s founder.
The fund will raise capital for the purchase of broodmares in 2017 at elite Kentucky auctions. The resulting offspring will be sold through public auctions between 2017-2019, and the fund will be wound down in December 2019.
Park Stud boasts 10-time leading Canadian stallion Bold Ruckus, Canadian Triple Crown winner Peteski, and 2006 Queen’s Plate champ Mike Fox as a few examples of its enduring success.
Millionaire, multiple stakes victor and Sovereign Award honoree Financingavailable, co-bred by Park Stud, is one of numerous winners produced by the farm, which has collective purse earnings of over $25 million.
“Park Stud’s management guided Morgan (Firestone) and our family to the pinnacle of Canadian horse racing and sporting achievement when Mike Fox won the Queen’s Plate for us,” said Julie Firestone of Firestone Farms.
For Warren Byrne, president of The Horse Agency, seeing the fund come to fruition is highly gratifying.
“When I was in California – I spent eight years there – the man I was working for, William de Burgh, we had tossed around the idea of a public racing partnership because it had always been a passion of mine,” he recalled. “When I came back to Canada in 2010, I was trying to start something called Rush Racing at the
end of 2011. It was a similar structure to this and we were almost there. We were planning to focus on fillies in training. Then, with the question marks surrounding the slots at racetracks program, I went from 45-50
people to five or six. No one wanted to stay around. I’ve always wanted to come back to it, but I needed to do it the right way.”
Byrne’s patience, perseverance and plotting the best path for Park Stud ultimately paid off.
“We started looking at what the farm is good at,” he explained. “What seemed to stand out as one of the most successful aspects of what we’ve done well was hospitality. What we wanted to do was combine our strengths, which is how we do business and our hospitality. And out of that came this.”
Initial reaction to the fund has been positive, including from a group Park Stud believed would be a perfect fit.
“Interestingly, we have a few former breeders that have shown interest as well,” noted Byrne. “That’s something we were hoping for. We thought there might be people that were saying, ‘I just can’t make it work in this environment anymore and enjoy it.’ And, here’s a way you don’t have to worry about your bills every
month and you don’t have to worry about the cost of care. All of that we thought might be attractive to people. It’s proven to be attractive to some who have been in this business.”
It’s also drawn the attention of those seeking to become first-time owners.
“The idea of being able to expose new people to the sport is key,” noted Byrne. “It’s a great sport. With the farm, it’s a great way for people to involve families. That’s something that I always knew when I was at Santa Anita and would visit Clockers’ Corner. For the public to come out there, have breakfast, and they might not even realize they are standing in line for coffee next to Bob Baffert. That’s definitely a big draw for attracting horse ownership, for people to see it up close and how it works. We’ll use the farm as that vehicle.”
And while the venture is in its infancy, Byrne is buoyed by the initial response and optimistic of the impact it could have on the Ontario racing scene.
“We thought that if we can start with this, utilizing the hospitality aspect of it, we can make people some money through this fund and then next year, we plan to add some form of a racing partnership,” he said.
“The goal is for it to start here and evolve into different partnerships. We thought this is the best way for that to begin. I have a lot of faith in the business in the long-term sense. The product we will be producing will be attractive on an international level, meaning any uptick in the local marketplace will be a bonus.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Michael Byrne.
“We see this innovative effort as a way to expand interest in the Ontario thoroughbred industry in what we anticipate will be a great experience and, hopefully, a very profitable one. We undoubtedly need fresh blood in the sport and this fund offers a fun, low-risk learning experience for anyone who’s ever wanted access to our sport.”