02/01/2010 12:00AM

Breeders hoping for online boost


A group of breeders and owners headed by Siena Farm owner Anthony Manganaro is raising funds to create and market new products that would promote Thoroughbred racing through new media and social networking formats.

Sasha Sanan, whose parents, Satish and Anne Sanan, founded Padua Stables, is working with Manganaro, Ro Parra, owner of Millennium Farms , and a Keeneland executive, Nick Nicholson, to recruit support for the project and engage a consulting firm.

"We're exploring what we as a business can do to monetize our product through traditional business, instead of through gambling channels," said Sanan. "We're looking at a multitude of new technology platforms ranging from Facebook and different social media games like FarmVille, to current mobile applications, to traditional video gaming, and even fantasy sports and general interest in sports and entertainment consumption."

FarmVille is a real-time simulation game developed by Zynga in California, which specializes in web browser-based online games. In FarmVille, players manage a virtual farm by growing and harvesting crops or livestock. The game is open to members of Facebook and has become that social network's most popular game, with more than 75 million active users, according to its Facebook application page.

Sanan said the group doesn't yet have a specific product in mind, and that planning is early in what he called the "fund-raising and commitment" stage.

Sanan said that the plan is to explore technology ranging from video gaming to iPhone applications and reverse-engineer products to fit the consumers' habits on devices or websites they use.

"Were looking to get incredibly wide industry participation," he said, adding that he group is working on plans for presentations to various industry groups.

"Everyone needs to be behind this and willing to support the product" if it's going to take off as a viable business, Sanan said.