Owners offer cheap shares of race horse to fellow students

With millions of dollars spent at thoroughbred horse sales, it can be difficult for the average college student to afford such a risky investment.

However, share ownership of thoroughbred racehorses provides the opportunity to experience what it is like to own a racehorse for those with a stricter income.

“It’s an expensive business and hobby,” said agricultural economics senior Billy Ajello. “The best way financially is if it is in partnerships amongst a whole bunch of people or just a couple people.”

This spring, Ajello and his friend Sean Feld, an agricultural economics junior, are providing UK students and the public with this opportunity. They are selling shares in their racehorse, Kentuckysoldierboy, helping students experience — at least a little — ownership in horse racing.

“It’s enough to see the excitement of the ownership side instead of just going to Keeneland to drink beer, go out with friends and have a good time,” Ajello said. “It’s a way to spend money and have some fun with it.”

Ajello said he hopes to race the horse at Keeneland next month and Feld has even higher hopes.

“I hope we go to the (Kentucky) Derby,” Feld said. “That’s everyone’s dream.”

Gibson Wilhite, an equine management sophomore, said he would be interested in purchasing a share because it means investing less money.

“Buying shares in horses are a good thing because they give people the opportunity who do not have a lot of money to still have the dream, to own a horse that is in the winner’s circle,” said Wilhite, who owns horses with his father.

Shares of the horse can be purchased before Kentuckysoldierboy’s first race at $250 for .5 percent share, according to the horse’s group on Facebook.com.

Ajello and Feld bought the horse in October at the Fasig-Tipton yearlings sale in Lexington. They purchased the horse for $5,500, Ajello said, as members of Bongo Racing Stables, which Feld’s family is a part of.

Ajello and Feld had high hopes for the colt from first sight.

“I looked to him and he was really racey-looking,” Ajello said. “He was already galloping with the right mindset of a racehorse.”

Kentuckysoldierboy is out of Offensive Threat and sired by Tumblebrutus, who is a full brother of Giant’s Causeway, the 2000 Europe Horse of the Year.

The dark bay colt was unnamed before the sale. The song “Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)” by Soulja Boy Tellem was on the radio at the time, and from there, Ajello and Feld knew that they had a perfect name. Unable to get copyright permission to use the same spelling from the song, the guys settled on Kentuckysoldierboy.

The two-year-old Kentuckysoldierboy has yet to race. The horse is training in Ocala, Fla. He will be trained by Paul McGee, a family friend of Feld’s and the trainer of Mitigation, the recent three-year-old winner at the Hansel Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Feld will be hosting, “Betting for Beginners,” a handicapping seminar to help students learn about betting. It will be April 3 at 7 p.m. in the W.T. Young Library auditorium.

For more information on Kentuckysoldierboy or to buy shares, visit the stable’s Web site (www.bongoracing.com) or e-mail Feld at [email protected]