Francine Villeneuve and Amanda Roxborough are well known names in Canadian racing circles and beyond. The former jockeys who have ridden, trained and been involved in the industry for a combined 60 years are hoping to bring horse racing ownership to the public in 2016. The pair has put together an initiative for a racing club that gives people a chance to experience ownership without the significant cost. Sport of Queens Racing (www.sportofqueensracing.com) has launched its first option to buy into the club with 200 shares offered on a horse to be purchased in March at the Ocala Breeders’ Two-Year-Old Sale on March 15th and 16th.
The cost per share is $200 plus a one-time administrative fee of 15% per share. There is a $200 annual fee for operations. Thus, for $430, you can have your first share in a racehorse that will be sent to Ontario to race at Woodbine.
Villeneuve is certainly a pioneer in the sport in this country, becoming the winningest female rider in Canada upon her retirement in 2012 with 1,001 victories and over 3,000 top three placings in 8,000 mounts. Villeneuve rode competitively with the best not only in Canada but throughout the United States, riding in the Breeders’ Cup and finishing second in the Queen’s Plate in 1991 aboard Wilderness Song.
Villeneuve was awarded the prestigious Avelino Gomez Award in 2004. Now a trainer, Villeneuve has already won four races from a limited number of starters and had two wins from 16 starts in 2015.
Roxborough also comes from a childhood surrounded by horses, riding from the age of nine and becoming a jockey in 1984. Roxborough rode for the great Canadian trainer Art Warner before setting out as an assistant trainer and then a stakes winning trainer. Roxborough continued to exercise rider horses for top stables throughout the U.S. before a serious injury in 2004 ended her years on horseback.
Roxborough has since gone on to launch her successful Kylar Production company, specializing in television documentaries, advertisements and promotional material for a variety of clients around the world.
“I have created the marketing and business platform for Sport of Queens and will be the communication liaison to the group,” said Roxborough. “I will be managing the web site and social media, day to day business relations and organizing our monthly meeting and social events. My expertise in media and production will benefit the members with educational and entertaining content, including videos, as well as industry news and our horses’ weekly updates on our web site. Communication is very important in our team as well as for our members and creating a special atmosphere to enjoy horse racing is paramount.”
Sport of Queens Racing is geared towards people who have never owned a horse, or love horse racing, or want to learn more about the business. Shareholders will get to become part of the racehorse ownership experience from every aspect.
“We want members to be able to see their horses train, visit the barn, watch their horse race and get the entire experience,” said Roxborough. “We plan on having monthly ‘get-togethers’ for members with special guests from throughout North America, trips to farms and a chance to learn everything about the industry.”
As for purchasing the first horse for the first option (more horses and options are expected to follow the first horse purchase), Villeneuve and Roxborough will make the purchasing decision for a two-year-old in training at the March sale in Ocala.
“We also have professional connections with sales and bloodstock agents in Canada and the U.S. that can assist in purchase opportunities and sales if additional information is needed or becomes available,” said Roxborough.
“Each “option/horse” that will be available for new or existing members will have an outline of intent. For example, Option One is a two year-old in training with a target purchase date of March. The next option/horse, scheduled to be active as soon as Option One is sold out will be targeted as a horse to be claimed or private purchase, one that is running and has some form.”
A status report on the horse you share in will be sent out weekly and more detailed reports will be discussed during the monthly get-togethers.
As for the name, Roxborough said it is not meant to suggest the Club is only open to women.
“Francine and I named the group Sport of Queens Racing based on a two-fold belief. One, the popular slogan for horse racing has long been Sport of Kings. Since we have made horse racing our life and been successful in the industry, SOQR is a turn of the coin on the old label. Secondly, our values and strength for our group comes from who we are. We believe that this sport is for all and we want to share it with members who, for whatever their perceived limitations, can gain access to horse racing. We chose to have a ‘no boundaries’ philosophy, unlike the old label, and the only requirement is that you love racing and more importantly, love horses. I would say our membership so far is equally split and very diverse.”
The March sale has a pre-sale gallop show on March 9th and 10th. There are over 570 two-year-olds in the sale and there are six Ontario-bred offerings including one that is Ontario-sired (by Court Vision).
To find out more, check out the Sport of Queens website main page or its Facebook page or contact Amanda at email@example.com.