Promoting the American Thoroughbred Industry: Letter to the Editor, Justin Casse

Justin Casse | Fasig-Tipton

During the recent holiday season, I had the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with my 13-year-old son, Max, about his future aspirations. As he approaches an age where decisions about higher education and career paths come into focus, we've delved into conversations about his collegiate preferences and professional ambitions.

It is not uncommon for adolescents at this stage to express a desire to emulate the occupational choices of family members. Max, in particular, has conveyed an interest in following in the footsteps of his father, cousin Norm, uncle Mark, and his late grandfather Norman.

Now over the past few days I have had time to reflect on the thoughts and proposals brought forward by Boyd Browning and Nick de Meric. I believe the appropriate route going forward is for American Racing to have a parallel initiative to that of AUSHORSE in Australia. AUSHORSE is the gold standard of Thoroughbred marketing globally. They are frequently advertising the amazing statistics regarding the most buoyant racehorse industry in the world. This is exactly what we need. An enterprise like this would aim to promote the American Thoroughbred industry, encourage investment from both domestic and international sources, and introduce new owners to the excitement of racehorse ownership. Funding the initiative would occur through a small percentage taken from purse structures, sales purchases, or commissions.

This type of initiative could bring several benefits to the American Thoroughbred industry:

  • Promotion and Branding: A centralized marketing arm can effectively promote the industry, showcasing destinations for racing and sales. As well as the heartfelt stories that occur within our industry (i.e. Cody's Wish) and the amount of jobs it creates and economic impact it has.
  • International Investment: By actively encouraging investment from overseas, the industry can attract a broader range of participants, boosting competition and raising the profile of American horse racing on a global scale. Again, American involvement in Europe both at their sales and at Ascot is at an all-time high. As well as Europeans shipping to Australia for the Melbourne Cup and other races. It's time we flip the script here.
  • Introduction to Ownership: Helping newcomers navigate the world of racehorse ownership can foster increased participation and interest in the sport. This could include educational programs, networking events, and other initiatives to make ownership more accessible and enjoyable. I understand we've tried this in some capacity in the past but to include this under one uniform umbrella could create a stronger reputation via a name and likeness to refer to when speaking to the layman about our industry.
  • Sustainable Funding: By allocating a small percentage from relevant revenue streams, the initiative can secure a consistent and sustainable source of funding for its activities. This ensures the longevity and effectiveness of the marketing efforts.

However, it's important to consider a few key factors in implementing such an initiative:

  • Industry Collaboration: Success would likely depend on widespread industry collaboration. Ensuring that major stakeholders and participants are on board is crucial for the initiative's effectiveness. But making sure that the funding comes from a broader scale and not from a few wealthier individuals will insure a non-bias representation.
  • Transparent Governance: As an independent, not-for-profit entity, transparency in governance is essential to maintain trust and credibility. Clear guidelines on fund allocation and decision-making processes should be established.
  • Adaptability: The racing industry is dynamic, and the initiative should be adaptable to changing circumstances and market trends. Regular evaluations and adjustments may be necessary to ensure ongoing success.

If implemented thoughtfully, a marketing initiative like this one could contribute significantly to the growth and sustainability of the American Thoroughbred industry.

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