Horse racing is serious business. The industry is worth an estimated $40 billion in the United States alone, and the global popularity of the sport is even larger. This results in large payoffs for the few who are lucky enough to produce a champion. Since even losing horses can be carried as a tax write-off, many investors view the sport as a no-risk activity, making it an ideal business venture for big investors with deep pockets. If you have access to this type of financial backing and would be interested in starting a horse-racing business, keep reading to find out how.
Educate yourself about the raising and training of racehorses. The University of Arizona and the University of Kentucky both offer excellent equine degree programs that will allow you to literally earn a degree in horse racing. These courses will teach you everything you need to know about breeding, raising, training and racing horses.
Write a business plan. Your plan should identify not only where you will get the money to start your horse-racing business, but also your business goals and how you plan to achieve them. You should also state what kind of staff will be required to operate your business, what their salary will be and what other costs will be associated with operating your business. A link to a sample equine business[plan has been provided in the Resources section to help get you started.
Purchase or lease a ranch to serve as the headquarters for your horse-racing business. A ranch ranging from 50 to 100 acres in size is adequate for most startup horse-racing businesses, although a larger ranch is certainly better. The location should have stables to house your horses, open areas for exercise and enough space for a practice racetrack.
Buy the horses that will be used to start your stables. There are two philosophies when it comes to stocking a new stable. One is to buy horses that come from champions, with the hope of those horses being good racers. The other philosophy is to simply buy strong horses for breeding, in the hopes of breeding a champion horse. You can follow either or both of these strategies, but be prepared to pay big money for a horse that has a champion for a parent. Most stock horses for racing will cost several thousand dollars, but those with a championship bloodline can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Hire the staff you need to operate your horse-racing business. The required staff members will be identified in your business model, along with their respective salaries. You can expect to have stable hands to clean the stalls and feed your horses. You will also need trainers to exercise your horses and mold them into racers, as well as a veterinarian to keep your animals in good physical condition.
Join any associations that are relevant to your horse-racing business. The main association you must join is the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). Each state also has its own racing association or quarter-horse racing association. Being a member of each trade group in the states where you will be racing will make it easier for you to get your horses entered into races.
If you do not wish to take on the expense of owning the entire operation yourself, you can invest in a specific racehorse at another company's ranch.