Almost forty years ago the first legal racing partnership was formed-by yours truly, operating as Dogwood Stable. It was considered to be pushing the envelope. Various states threw up their hands and warned that there could be no more than four persons in a partnership. The Jockey Club got nervous… and the old guard traditionalists in the sport began looking down their noses at this audacious venture.
But mine was an idea whose time had come. Thanks to a good idea… a scheme with great news value, nurtured by a guy who knew how to exploit it… and thanks to some good racehorses, the concept of racing partnerships caught on big time and Dogwood has enjoyed great success for four decades.
Competition surfaced gradually then accelerated, so that today I'll bet you close to half the horses racing, and many of the horses that are offered at sales, are owned by partnerships. Everybody and his dog offer partnerships. In many cases, necessity is the mother of invention.
For instance, a big breeding farm doesn't get all the horses in its sales consignment sold at public auction. What to do? Ahhh, a racing partnership! Today we have people offering partnership shares for as little as $250 a unit. Then, we have two large ones which just announced plans to raise $100 million and $75 million.
I once said, to be successful in offering partnerships you'd better have what was known in the advertising business as an "unique selling proposition." In other words, an angle-a famous trainer, access to certain blue-chip breeding, some magic formula that would indicate there's going to be success on the racetrack.
Not many of the proliferating partnerships seem to offer that. In fact, I know of one that is advertising itself as "a trusted name in partnerships," and they are brand new on the scene! That is not a legitimate unique selling proposition.
At any rate, two strong trends flourish in the thoroughbred industry today. One, partnerships are growing by leaps and bounds. The other is that, oddly enough, many new deep-pocket players coming into the racing game want to breed horses for the sales, and don't seem that interested in racing them-the real name of the game. That seems odd to me.
This is Cot Campbell, and this is my view.