12/20/2016 10:56AM

Barnsdale: Enthusiasm surrounds The Stable after successful Open House

Garnet Barnsdale
Potential investors braved gloomy weather to check out The Stable's yearlings.

Not even a blast of cold, wintery weather could stop an enthusiastic crowd estimated at 200 from attending fractional ownership group The Stable’s Open House and Live Sale on December 10 at the Tomiko Training Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Stable – launched in 2015 by horseman Anthony Macdonald and his wife Amy – has enjoyed promising growth in a short time. “We currently have 62 horses and 172 owners. In the 48 hours since we held the Open House we have added eight new owners and there are twice that many pondering investments,” said Macdonald, who  expects that by Christmas The Stable will boast more than 200 active owners.

Several current and prospective owners braved the cold to watch the yearlings train in seven sets of six, driven by prominent local teamsters.

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 “I recently purchased into the yearling pacing filly Vintage Blues and was looking forward to seeing her in person,” said owner Joe Santos, of Mississauga, Ontario. “I also wanted to take the opportunity to meet other owners.”

Santos has been an owner since last year and he said he first found out about The Stable at an information session held at Woodbine in January of this year. “A few weeks later I met with Anthony on an insurance matter and had the chance to tour his barn and chat about The Stable,” said Santos. “In the end, it was Anthony’s vision of what horse racing could be and his passion that made me decide I wanted to be a part of it, so I ended up going home that day owning my first Standardbred horses by buying into pacing colt East Bound Eddie and pacing filly Ohello Blue Chip.”

The Open House yearlings were handled by local drivers Jody Jamieson, Sylvain Filion, Billy Davis Jr., James Macdonald, Paul Mackenzie, J Bradley Harris and Dan ‘O Brian, all of whom donated their time to train the yearlings. Jamieson said he was happy to assist. “I’m always trying to help our industry and I believe this is helping our industry as well as helping my friend,” said Jamieson.

“It’s something I really appreciate,” Macdonald said about the support. “We all have things to do this close to Christmas, and to drive someone else's yearlings for four hours on a Saturday morning/afternoon and then race horses Saturday night, that says a lot about the character of my brother James, Sylvan, Jody, Paul, J Harris, Danny and Billy Davis. I truly appreciate what they did.”

Owner Marc Treffi, of Glens Falls, New York, couldn’t make it to the Open House due to poor weather conditions, but he was happy to be able to watch the HD video stream on the live Facebook feed. “We live over six hours away so we have to plan travel and get a hotel,” explained Treffi. “We do it because we love it. The Stable is an amazing community to be a part of and it is important to us to see the care that the horses receive and to be able to interact with everyone in the stable.”

Treffi said that his family has bought into three yearlings so far and are considering buying percentages of others. He mentioned the drone videos as a unique offering that The Stable provides which allows him to watch his horses train even if he isn’t there.

“Anthony, Amy and everyone in the stable did a great job putting together a live stream of the event so we were able to see the yearlings train,” Treffi remarked. “This is a feature that we love as we can't always be there to see them train week after week but we get to see videos from the drone to see the progress that the horses are making.”

Macdonald also mentioned a new owner that heard his interview on a local sports radio station two days before the Open House that came out and bought a share in a My MVP yearling trotter American League.

“It shows the types of people that came out,” said MacDonald. “This gentleman and his buddies heard The Fan 590 interview and came out to the training centre to look at horses and indeed buy one.”

Macdonald explained that with the yearlings that were bought at sales this fall, there were 3900 shares offered for sale. “We have sold three-quarters of them already, and with 91 e-mails unread from today alone, I expect that number to drop consistently,” he exclaimed.

At this point, it would be hard to argue that The Stable’s fractional ownership model is not only working, but thriving after only one year in operation.

“What we set out to do is consistently show our industry what fractional ownership can mean for them,” Macdonald explained. “I know what it will do for Amy and me, but that doesn't do much for everyone else. The people of the industry are finally starting to understand the power of fractional ownership when done the way we do it. We are changing the business model of this industry back to what it once was. By focusing on offering an affordable experience to the owner that is otherwise unmatched in society, we are opening avenues for investment that were otherwise untapped in the past.  The big picture for us is to pour the foundation for what will be a long-term game-changing project, literally.”

Based on the large turnout on a cold wintery morning to The Stable’s first Open House and Live Sale, it appears Macdonald and crew are well on their way to solidifying that foundation.